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SOCIETY OF LAND SPEED RACING HISTORIANS
NEWSLETTER 107 - April 16, 2009
Editor: Richard Parks [email protected]
President's Corner: By Jim Miller (1-818-846-5139)

Click On All Images For Larger View

Some Names To Look For In This Newsletter:
 President's Corner, Editorials, I will be returning to El Mirage to film some pick up shots for Deuce Of Spades, Drag Racing Hall of Fame Banquet was March 12th 2009, Celebration in Memory of Jim Poetker-Baker will be held April 18, SCTA 2009 racing schedule for El Mirage, Nw posts on the Jim Deist Memorial, I am the son of Mel Chastain and also Mike Cook's stepbrother, My name is Megan Boyd and would love to help gather and preserve history I have a degree in journalism and public relations, An article that was published in Mopar Magazine, Grand National Roadster Show dates in 2010, Here is a response to an email that I sent to Susan Sanborn Director of the Toyota Motorsports Museum in Torrance California, Henry Astor, formerly the director of the American Hot Rod Foundation (AHRF) now has a website called Astor Motor Productions, I will put together my dad's Mel Chastain racing history for you to enjoy, Motorcycles will be part of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance for the first time this year, Meeting Notes from last evening's Road Runners Meeting are now posted, I have had the honor to drive on the salt to abtain a class A license and help a friend tune up a streamliner, Random Photos.

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President's Corner:
Last week I was finishing up scanning a bunch of Indy cars shots for the AHRF that were taken in 1946. It was interesting in that a bunch of the dry lakes boys were wrenching on some of the cars. In one picture Connie Weidell had on his Gophers jumpsuit right there on pit lane. As fate would have it Dan Warner had just lent me a copy of Wilbur Shaw's book "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines," published in 1955. Since I was doing Indy stuff I sat down and started reading it. When I got to Chapter 10 I perked right up. A paragraph started "How would you like to try for the four-cylinder world's record over the measured mile at Daytona Beach?" Seems Floyd Smith, Shaw's car owner at the time was going to cut a deal with the Willys-Overland Company to re-badge their racer as the "Whippet Special" and go after Bob Burman's old record set in the "Blitzen Benz." It was funny in a way because the car was a Miller and the engine was a Frontenac. They were going to be joining Captain Malcolm Campbell, Ray Keech and Frank Lockhart in February, 1928, at Daytona Beach. On the 19th Campbell set a new World speed record at 206 mph, Keech was too slow and Lockhart had his first crash. Meanwhile Shaw ran his car and it caught fire so he drove it into the ocean to put it out. Keech, Lockhart and Shaw came back in April to try again. On the 22nd Keech took the record from Campbell at 207. Three day later Lockhart crashed and died. Five days later Wilbur went after the Burman record of 141. His two-way average time of 134.831 mph was only seven mph off the record. He tried again and toasted a piston then gave up and went home. This is one of those LSR attempts that were overshadowed by tragedy and one that failed to reach the record speed so finding any good coverage or pictures won't be easy.

Shaw-in-Water-at-Daytona
1934Airflow_1

Caption: Shaw-in-water-at-Daytona.jpg............Here's a picture of Wilbur Shaw after he drove his "Whipit Special" into the water at Daytona. The car was a Miller with a Fronty motor installed and caught fire on the run. Photo from his book Gentlemen, Start Your Engines . Jim Miller photograph

Caption: 1934 Airflow_1.jpg..............Here's a pix I bagged from another site showing an Airflow running at what looks like Muroc. Jim Miller photo

Three paragraphs into Chapter 22 I found more LSR information. It's now 1934 and Harry Hartz and Wilbur Shaw have accepted an invitation from Chrysler Corporation to make a series of record attempts in the new Chrysler Airflow at Bonneville in August. They were going after Class B records for cars with displacements between 305" and 488." They ran on a 10-mile circular course for 24 hours and ended up setting the record by running a steady 95 mph and covered 2,026.405 miles for a new record of 84.434 mph. One thing you didn't read in the press clippings was the problem they had with tires. The drivers wanted to use Firestones but Chryslers ran on another brand and they blew out constantly. One story has it that a Chrysler dealer from Salt Lake City took all the tires he could find off the new cars in his showroom to keep the racer in supply. Now for some added trivia. One report says the car ran 86.2 mph in a mile where another says it ran a flying mile at 95.7. It also said the car ran 90 mph for 500 miles and set 72 new National Records with the straight-8 powered CU coupe. One report also has the records standing for 23 years. It gets even more interesting now. Another report has Hartz setting an endurance record at Daytona Speedway in '34 and at Daytona in '35. Confusing? You bet. Supposedly the same design labeled as a De Soto with a 6-banger set 32 stock car records and did a flying mile at 86.2 and ran 100 miles at 80.9, 500 miles at 76.2 and 2000 miles at 74.7 again with Hartz as the driver. To add even more confusion one picture shows an Airflow with a Mobile sticker on it at what looks like Muroc. I think we need a Chrysler authority to sort all this stuff out for us. Needless to say many manufacturers did speed runs to sell their cars and most of this history has been lost. It looks like we have yet another task cut out for us historians to tackle.

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Editorial:
Recently our publishers, Jack and Mary Ann Lawford at www.hotrodhotline.com and www.landspeedracing.com sent you a short note telling our readers and members that we were going to an all website format and that the emailed version of the newsletter would no longer be sent out. A "blurb" or announcement would go out telling you to go to the website to check the latest issue. This may be an inconvenience for a few people who are not familiar with or enjoy navigating the internet and who like just a simple emailed newsletter. The Lawfords' tried to keep the old format going for as long as they could, but it got to the point where their staff was overburdened with the extra work that our newsletter created and they had to change to a quicker and more efficient way to get the newsletter published. Perhaps I should explain how we put out the newsletter, so you can see why we do what we do. Jim Miller is our president of the Society and is our main researcher. He spends hours, if not complete days doing textual and photographic research. He has no private life. He is driven to work at his computer, on the phone or in the field tracking down the history of straight-line racing. His work is first class and he has been long recognized as the pre-eminent scholar in this field of dry lakes, land speed, straight-line and early drag racing and hot rodding. He has also been honored by being inducted into the Dry Lakes Racing Hall of Fame, which is located at the Mendenhall Gas Pump Museum in Buellton, California. There are a lot of historians, both amateur and professional, in our group and many writers, authors and photographers who keep the history of this sort of racing alive. But Jim stands as the first among equals.
Next in the food chain is your editor, me, and my job is to take all the material that comes in from whatever source and edit it slightly to fit the format of the newsletter, which is a publication that aspires to be taken seriously as a work of historical research for serious fans and researchers. I try and leave in your style of writing, ways of speaking and personal mannerisms, but I do edit a bit. I capitalize your nouns and pronouns where needed, fix a bit of grammar, do a quick spell check and try and make the format look organized. I prefer an eclectic approach to material, that is, what we find will be scattered about, from the past to the present, as it comes in. The only exception to that formula was the special issue, #100 that we did on the Spurgin/Giovanine/Borgh roadster that was restored by Ernie Nagamatsu and his team. We also have biographies, but they don't normally go into www.landspeedracing.com, because the newsletter is already long and putting in 2000 word bios would cause serious problems. The bios are sent to www.hotrodhotline.com, Guest Columnist/Richard Parks/Roger Rohrdanz. Besides editing the material, I also do some research and assist our members with their bios and with their research. One of my main concerns is to keep the newsletters to between 7000 and 12,000 words in length. Roger Rohrdanz is our chief editorial photographer. He is my partner in the Gone Racin' By-line and also writes and photographs separately. Roger covers the car shows, drag races at Fontana and other types of outdoor events. He has done 500 articles and he must have 100,000 photographs by now in his archives. He is truly lost to his passions, as bad as Miller, and possibly will never have a real life.
Every week, around Wednesday, which is my deadline, since races and shows are on the weekends generally, I will send the current newsletter to Mary Ann Lawford. The Lawford's main business is to run several websites where hot rodders can sell their cars and motorcycles on line. They started about a decade ago in the San Fernando Valley and moved to Boise, Idaho, which they call Paradise. Their website is huge and the newspapers and magazines cannot compete with them for efficiency. For example, you can place an ad on their websites for less than $150 and it will run for 6 months. An ad in a newspaper or magazine will cost twice as much and run just once. The many demands on their time to cover car shows and expand their business keep their family on the road all year long. Mary Ann has her staff, especially Anita, work on the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter for free and run it on their website, www.landspeedracing.com, also for free. The Lawfords' do this because they are fans of hot rodding and racing. They are constantly supporting various car groups around the country. But their time and resources are limited. They run into their busy time of year around March and it doesn't let up until the end of the year. To give us the space on their websites and the free use of their staff is becoming a bigger burden as time goes by and so we have to jettison the emailed newsletter and replace it with a short notice to our members to go to the website to read the full newsletter. We know it is an inconvenience and some members will simply not go to the websites, but we have no choice but to streamline our operations. The website is free, there are no member dues, duties or costs. Even your "announcements" or soft ads are free. Let me know if you have any special needs and I will see if I can find a way to help you with the new format.

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I will be returning to El Mirage to film some pick up shots for DEUCE OF SPADES. This includes some shots for the 1955 El Mirage SCTA meet flashback, which I think is going to bring back a lot of memories for some of you! I have missed being on the lake terribly. I can't wait to return! Visit the blog for more info on my Hot Rod period film and behind the scenes stories at: http://deuceofspades.bravejournal.com/.
Faith Granger, Filmmaker. See www.deuceofspadesmovie.com, and www.theparkbenchmovie.com.

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The Drag Racing Hall of Fame Banquet was March 12th, 2009, at the Hilton in Gainesville, Florida. The 2009 Inductees were; Steve Carbone, Ed Garlits, Marvin Graham, Hayden Proffitt, Fritz Voigt and Sid Waterman.  Don Garlits
   Don: Please continue to send updates on air times for the Hall of Fame. Also, if you have biographies of the inductees, send those along for publication. We get periodic reports of the Petersen Automotive Museum and the Motorsports Museum and we would be very grateful to receive any and all news that tells us more about your museum in Florida. A museum is an archive of knowledge and our Society of Land Speed Racing Historians formed for the express purpose of promoting such museums and saving private collections and getting them into these museums. So if you are working on any projects or you are looking for information, don't forget to let us know, because although we only have 500 members, they are true straight-line fans of the sport and will be glad to learn more and to help where they can.

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The Celebration in Memory of Jim Poetker-Baker will be held at Mariner's Church in Irvine, California on Saturday, April 18, 2009 at 11-2 p.m. Debbie Baker asks that we come and celebrate the way Jim would have liked; a spirit of hot rodding, music, laughter and good memories. The Answer, the band that plays every year at Cruisin' For A Cure, will be on hand to play Jim's favorite music. Address: 5100 Newport Coast, in Irvine. Corner of Newport Coast and Bonita Canyon. Edited from an email sent in by Debbie Baker

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The SCTA 2009 racing schedule for El Mirage Dry Lake; May 16-17, June 14, July 12, September 13, October 25, and November 14-15. Bonneville racing schedule for the SCTA/BNI is; Speed Week August 8-14, and World Finals October 7-10.

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There are new posts on the Jim Deist Memorial at www.goldenhawk.ca, or http://goldenhawkproject.blogspot.com/. Randy Pierce

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Thanks for what you're doing...Your newsletter is Fantastic.  Racer Bud Delauer
   Racer: Glad that you enjoy the newsletter. Tell us a bit about your time in racing.

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I am the son of Mel Chastain who worked for Mickey Thompson for about 10 years and is also a lifetime member of the 200 mph club. I enjoy your info. I am also Mike Cook's stepbrother if you need any history or info, just ask. I have many photos of lakes, Bonneville and drags from years gone by. Yours truly, Larry Chastain
Larry: Yes, of course I want you to tell us more about your father and extended racing family. If I haven't emailed or contacted you yet, it's because of time constraints and not because of any other reason. The Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter is a full time, unpaid job, but one that is very interesting. My father often spoke to my brother and I about Mel, Mickey, the Cooks' and their impact on straight-line racing. We will never completely tell the story of drag and land speed racing without knowing more about your family's involvement and we will help you get that story told. Here's how we do it. One, caption all your photos. Get those peel off adhesive backed stickers and print on the back of the stickers the details in the photographs; who, what, when, where, owner of the photo and any other details that you think are valuable. Be brief, but be complete. Secondly, write your biography and that of your father and other members of your family. Encourage Mike Cook to do that for his family, especially his father and himself. Do the same for Danny Thompson, his mother Judy and have them tell us everything they remember about Mickey. Thirdly, as you look at the photos and they bring back stories of the past, write them down in as much detail as you can remember. Then send me your bios and stories and I'll help you edit them. Scan those photos of the lakes, Bonneville and the drags that you want to share and send them to us for publication. I'll send you a guideline to get you started. Answer the questions as quickly as you can and send it back to me to edit and work on. We're glad to have you on board and we look forward to knowing more about your family's past in racing.

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My name is Megan Boyd, and I'm from near Canton, Ohio. As an avid land speed and traditional hot rod enthusiast I would like to become a member of the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians and help preserve this important history in any way I can. I enjoy reading the newsletters and would love to be involved in helping to gather and preserve history for future generations to appreciate and learn from. I enjoy doing research and interviews, I have a degree in journalism and public relations and aren't afraid to talk to people! I see Zach Suhr is a member, he is a good friend of mine. We both are on the same parallel when it comes to preserving the past through our hot rods and activities. I've also enjoyed talking with Jim Miller at Bonneville amongst other places my hot rod passion has lead me. I've grown up around hot rods and are fortunate to have a few of my own. I recently found a 1931 Ford Model A roadster in a barn where it had been parked for nearly 30 years! For the most part it is stock but has been upgraded with '35 wire wheels and juice brakes. I plan to build a hopped up B motor for it in the near future but enjoy cruising it around with the original A motor in the mean time. In addition to my Model A I also have a '53 Chevy Bel Air with a rare after market Rajo (Racing Joe of Model T fame) 6 cylinder racing head and additional intake allowing me to run 3 carbs (one on the Rajo, two on the Fenton). I've attached a few pictures of each. I look forward to hearing from you and helping out in any way I can. I truly believe that the SLSRH is doing an important task, one that I would be honored to be a part of. Thank you, Megan Boyd, Waynesburg, Ohio
Megan: Welcome. We can really use your help in the Midwest as most of our members are out on the west coast. The Society of Land Speed Racing Historians has no dues, duties or responsibilities other than what people want to do voluntarily. Membership is simply a commitment to compiling and sharing our collective memories and research. Some of our members are professionals and make a living and we respect that and support their work by buying their books, magazines, photographs and collectibles. Other members, like myself, are amateur historians who donate our time and work for the betterment of our hot rodding history. There is no difference in quality between professional and amateur historians; the only line separating us is that for one group it is their livelihood and for the other group it is their hobby. Zach is a valuable contributor to the Society and the Newsletter. We don't have a museum of our own, so the only way to share is through the newsletter itself at the present. We formed in order to save artifacts from destruction. Jim Miller, Roger Rohrdanz, Mary Ann Lawford and I are the original members and it has grown to quite a presentable size. Jim is our President, I'm the editor, Roger is the photographic editor, and Mary Ann and her husband Jack are the owners of the two websites that we use; www.landspeedracing.com where the text and photographs are located and www.hotrodhotline.com, where the biographical stories are located. At the present time we have no commercial interests. That is we don't take ads or generate any revenue. All of our time, website space and labor is free. That allows us to make membership free and to do away with forms, paperwork, rules and other forms of belonging. Some of our members simply read and enjoy the content, while others avidly do research and send in their work to be published. We have several goals; to caption our photographs, write our biographies, write our stories and save our memorabilia. We also want to find museums and other collections where we can send our artifacts and prevent their loss and destruction. There are many ways to do this and we are but one of many groups and individuals who are trying to preserve the history of hot rodding, land speed and early drag racing. The era that we are trying to research is the automotive age, and our focus is on straight-line racing, but we do stray across boundary lines and cover other forms of motorsports and the automotive world. We believe that we are all historians in a way, and that some of us preserve our heritage in different ways. The person who finds and restores an old hot rod is just as much a historian as I am and all my work is in textual material. Others are collectors, researchers, artists, photographers, model makers, writers and a host of other professions and we all bring our talents together to preserve this wonderful and rich history. We have finished 106 issues of the newsletter, totaling nearly a million words and yet we haven't even touched the margins of our history yet. What I would like you to consider doing is this; work on your biography, caption your photographs and write your stories. When you have done that, look around your area to see what other men and women need to have their history told, especially the Arfon family. We can really use members in the Midwest area. Don't forget early drag racing, because we cover that sport up to 1959 and sometimes a little after that. I've posted the format guideline for the bios in the newsletter, but below is a copy. Answer the questions quickly and send it back to me to edit. We are glad to have you as a new member of the Society.

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How does one join this august group? I have written stories in three magazines about Bonneville. Most of the articles are about history. Here's one (opening photograph is by me). Roger Meiners, Milford, Michigan

Here's an article that was published in Mopar Magazine called, The dawn of a new era on the Salt Flats, by Roger Meiners.

Roger: Simply go to www.landspeedracing.com and sign in. It's as simple as that. There are no dues, forms, paperwork, duties or responsibilities. We do ask our members to write their bios, caption their photographs and save all the stories they have about the past. We will also help our members write their bios and stories. Everything that we get we post to www.landspeedracing.com or to www.hotrodhotline.com. Welcome to our group and whatever you would like to share with us will be most appreciated

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Our show next year is the last weekend in January. January 29-31, 2010. We look forward to seeing you out and about and at our event as well. John Buck
John: Roger and I will be there to cover your next Grand National Roadster Show in 2010. We wouldn't miss it. Send periodic updates and news reports to me so that I can include those announcements in The Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter, which is posted on www.landspeedracing.com, owned by Jack and Mary Ann Lawford. The Grand National Roadster Show has a lot of history, customized cars and motorcycles, plus those wonderful AMBR cars. Our Society focuses on hot rodding, land speed and early drag racing, so our members will be there for sure.

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(Editor's notes: Here is a response to an email that I sent to Susan Sanborn, Director of the Toyota Motorsports Museum in Torrance, California.) "All we have on this is one article from a 1992 Toyota Today. We have no other documentation or photos though. Here is the article." Susan Sanborn
"MR2 Breaks Speed Record, in Toyota Today, Tuesday, December 1, 1992. A Toyota MR2 Turbo, driven by veteran racer Dennis Aase, set a new land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats (Wendover, Utah) Oct. 18. Aase drove the MR2 more than 200 mph, becoming the first person in the Two-Liter Production Turbo-charged GT class to break the 200-mph barrier. He drove the MR2 to a two-way average speed of 211.071 mph. His first pass across the salt flats was recorded at 203 mph, with his second pass reaching 218 mph. Aase Brothers Racing Inc. in Anaheim, California, made changes to the intake and exhaust systems and the cam timing, the only modifications allowed by the Land Speed Authority for production-category cars. "I got the idea about three years ago to make this attempt," said Aase. "Now, I can't wait to go back and break the record again." As a result of his record-breaking run, Aase now is a member of the prestigious Bonneville 200-MPH Club." Jason Bell, Archivist, Toyota Motor Sales, USA.

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Henry Astor, formerly the director of the American Hot Rod Foundation (AHRF), now has a website called Astor Motor Productions. You can get on his mailing list by emailing [email protected]motorproductions.com and requesting to be added.

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I will put together my dad's racing history for you and others to enjoy. His history will take up enough of your space as it is somewhat lengthy in itself. I will get it to you as soon as I can. Larry Chastain
   Larry: One of the reasons that we are doing the biography project is that too many of us don't know our history very well.  I have to go on what I remember from the 1940's and that's not very much. That's why we formed the Society and the Newsletter, so that people could go back and read the issues and learn the history of our sport. I want you to just barely skim the surface with your father. Take no more than 20 minutes and answer what you know. Don't spend a lot of time, because the first draft can be very sketchy. The important thing is that I get something back fast that I can then put into an edited sequence and then I'll know the questions to ask you for draft number two, three and four.

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Motorcycles will be part of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance for the first time this year and I thought you'd be interested in the release below. See http://www.pebblebeachconcours.net/pages/3017/Photos.htm. Jeff Green

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Road Runners and Friends. The Meeting Notes (enclosed below) from last evening's Road Runners Meeting are now posted on the News Page of our website. Road Runner Meeting Notes - Tuesday, April 13th, 7pm at Ed Martin Garage - The April Meeting of the Road Runners began with a display of many of Buddy Fitzgerel's Bonneville and El Mirage trophies. We also had his vintage 60's era, silver fire suit that he used in his B/STR and the "Thrifty Fifty" XF/PRO before he got his newer fabric suit. The family recently presented these items to the Club following the passing of our long time member and friend, last November. We had two guests for this meeting, Bill Carling (prospective member - third meeting) and Charles Shimko (prospective member - fourth meeting). Bill Carling submitted his application for membership and was voted into the Club. He will be racing his 2007 Harly Super Glide (Dyna), beginning at the May meet. Welcome to the Club Bill! Charles Shimko will be submitting his membership application following the May El Mirage meet. Reminder that you need your BLM/EL Mirage Pass to get on the Lake in May. You can mail your check and return address (ASAP!!) to Judy Sights - SCTA Treasurer, and she will mail your Passes back to you. Judy's address is listed on page 163 of the 2009 SCTA-BNI Rulebook. Our annual Banquet/BBQ date has been changed to June 6th. Turns out that May 23rd, or original date, is Memorial Day Weekend this year. Mark your calendars for June 6th. More details to follow. Richard Ross (Bonneville & El Mirage Record Holder and Bonneville 200MPH Club Member) of the Harris & Wester Camaro Team and also driver for the Masson Racing G/GALT, announced that he has joined the US Army and will be leaving for Basic Training this month. He may be back in October or November to get some seat time in the Harris & Wester Camaro and Masson Racing Altered before he deploys to Iraq or Afghanistan. Best wishes and God Speed from your fellow Road Runners Richard. If you would like a report on all the Club business conducted at the meeting, please contact Secretary Jerry Cornelison for an e-mail copy of the minutes. Next regular business meeting of the Road Runners is Tuesday, May 12th at 7pm, at Ed Martin Garage. Also, if in the area, don't forget "Burrito Thursdays" at Ed Martin Garage! Road Runners - SCTA (est. 1937) http://www.ussarcherfish.com/roadrunners. Jerry Cornelison

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I have had the honor to drive on the salt to abtain a class A license and help a friend tune up a streamliner so the main driver could chase a record. Now I have the bug. Can you blame me? I would like to build a lakester and have no idea what's under the skin. With my drag racing back ground I have an idea but I'm not sure. Here are some questions; Round tubing - what size? Square tubing - what size? Noticed no rear "kick up" is that a correct asumption? Who could fab a roll cage if I sent them the dimensions? Could I look at one somewhere? Not to copy, but give me a starting point and a general idea of the construction before I proceed and have to undo it all. Pics would help too, I'm sure. Thank you, Doug Sitton
Doug: Here are a few answers. One, contact Jim Miller. His phone number is listed in the newsletter. Two, get a rule book, because without one, it will be a certainty that the inspectors will make you rebuild something. Three, find a club to join, otherwise you will have to run as an independent. The advantage of running with a club is that the club members will help you along the way, suggest who can help you build your land speed lakester and might even know if anyone wants to partner up with you. Four, the SCTA/BNI guys are always flattered when you copy them and they have a wealth of data on aerodynamics and what will work and what won't. Then you bring your own unique ideas to the project. The goal is to break the records and after one of the land speeders have done that, they love to see new racers come along with better ideas and better results. Before you start to build, get to know as many guys as you can who have successfully ran their cars at the lakes. The information that they will give you will be the cheapest education that you can get. Doing it all on your own will be the most expensive education you will ever pay for.

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Captions: Drag racing scenes sent in by Evelyn Roth. Original photographers unknown.

Click on Images for Larger Pictures.

Back in the day, anything was possible. How about an Offy with a side-mounted blower on Ed Donovan's dragster?

Back in the day, anything was possible. How about an Offy with a side-mounted blower on Ed Donovan's dragster?

Nothing says drag racing like way too big of an engine stuffed into too little car; reminds me of the models I used to imagineer as a kid.

Nothing says drag racing like way too big of an engine stuffed into too little car; reminds me of the models I used to imagineer as a kid.

Rear slicks churning, front tires grabbing air, and, an acrobatic flagman.

Rear slicks churning, front tires grabbing air, and, an acrobatic flagman.

Uhhh, dude? I don't think you asked for a big enough head start.

Uhhh, dude? I don't think you asked for a big enough head start.

A wheelstander with everything but the kitchen sink.

A wheelstander with everything but the kitchen sink.

Who said snakes can't fly? Prudhomme gets air in the lights in Seattle.

Who said snakes can't fly? Prudhomme gets air in the lights in Seattle.

Hard to believe that today's Top Fuelers evolved from this; from its whitewall tires to its Rat Fink-like shifter placement, I really dig this car.

Hard to believe that today's Top Fuelers evolved from this; from its whitewall tires to its Rat Fink-like shifter placement, I really dig this car.

So you still think that Don Garlits invented the rear-engine dragster, do ya?

So you still think that Don Garlits invented the rear-engine dragster, do ya?

Donnie and Gene Bowman's flathead-powered Vineland Villain wasn't pretty, but it sure looked crude. Back then, functionality trumped almost everything.

Donnie and Gene Bowman's flathead-powered Vineland Villain wasn't pretty, but it sure looked crude. Back then, functionality trumped almost everything.

I love this shot, taken in the pits at Lions. No, not the neat old flip-top panel wagon -- the lady, dressed in skirt and heels. Priceless.

I love this shot, taken in the pits at Lions. No, not the neat old flip-top panel wagon -- the lady, dressed in skirt and heels. Priceless.

Again, it's the people who make this shot. The clown, second from left, doing his "Take the picture already" pose and the other guy still slipping on (or off?) his coat, who's clearly not ready for the shot. And that dragster? Not much traction in those r

Again, it's the people who make this shot. The clown, second from left, doing his "Take the picture already" pose and the other guy still slipping on (or off?) his coat, who's clearly not ready for the shot. And that dragster? Not much traction in those rear meats.

Kinda funny, too, but for a different reason is Surfers pilot Mike Sorokin almost having his helmet sucked off at speed (center).

Kinda funny, too, but for a different reason is Surfers pilot Mike Sorokin almost having his helmet sucked off at speed (center).

And speaking of in-car cameras, I just love this shot from Jess Sturgeon's car.

And speaking of in-car cameras, I just love this shot from Jess Sturgeon's car.

This is a great shot, too, taken from the cockpit of one of Scotty Fenn's legendary Chassis Research chassis that revolutionized the sport. I took some Photoshop liberties with the original to blur the background as the El Camino tow vehicle was a distrac

This is a great shot, too, taken from the cockpit of one of Scotty Fenn's legendary Chassis Research chassis that revolutionized the sport. I took some Photoshop liberties with the original to blur the background as the El Camino tow vehicle was a distraction. Love that steering wheel and big ol' brake handle.

This is Fenn's workshop. That's Fenn at far left overseeing work on some of his K-88 and TE-448 chassis.

This is Fenn's workshop. That's Fenn at far left overseeing work on some of his K-88 and TE-448 chassis.

Another vintage chassis on this cool twin. Always amazing to me to see how primitive the early driver-protection devices were.

Another vintage chassis on this cool twin. Always amazing to me to see how primitive the early driver-protection devices were.

Okay, if you don't like this photo, you can hardly consider yourself a drag fan. Classic Lions stuff.

Okay, if you don't like this photo, you can hardly consider yourself a drag fan. Classic Lions stuff.

Here's how those early dragsters got their nickname; the driver sat behind the rear tires like a rock in a slingshot.

Here's how those early dragsters got their nickname; the driver sat behind the rear tires like a rock in a slingshot.

A couple of engines, four tires, a little extra tubing, a welder, and there's little that early drag racers couldn't -- and didn't -- try.

A couple of engines, four tires, a little extra tubing, a welder, and there's little that early drag racers couldn't -- and didn't -- try.

I looooooooove this shot. The photographer did such a great job of exposing it and allowing you to see every detail, nut, and bolt on the blower. Arthur Trim tells me that this is Connie Kalitta's Logghe-chassised Ford-powered digger, photographed on a ch

I looooooooove this shot. The photographer did such a great job of exposing it and allowing you to see every detail, nut, and bolt on the blower. Arthur Trim tells me that this is Connie Kalitta's Logghe-chassised Ford-powered digger, photographed on a chassis dyno in one of Ford's labs/

Indy is a place where magical things happen. Look closely, and you can see that "Big John's" battle-scarred 'Cuda has all four tires off the ground.

Indy is a place where magical things happen. Look closely, and you can see that "Big John's" battle-scarred 'Cuda has all four tires off the ground.

Not all new ideas were good ones; Exhibit A is Noel Black's two-engine, four-wheel-drive Top Fueler from 1967.

Not all new ideas were good ones; Exhibit A is Noel Black's two-engine, four-wheel-drive Top Fueler from 1967.

Call me an astute observer, but I reckon that "Big Jim" Dunn was pretty much done for this run at Lions in the rainbow-hued Dunn & Reath digger.

Call me an astute observer, but I reckon that "Big Jim" Dunn was pretty much done for this run at Lions in the rainbow-hued Dunn & Reath digger.

Who says you need four wheels?

Who says you need four wheels?

"I'll take Scary Fast Tricycles for $500, Alex."

"I'll take Scary Fast Tricycles for $500, Alex."

In the same vein, who says you even need four wheels or three wheels? The famed Leffler-Coburn Iron Mistress coupe had six! In a true example of the sum of the parts not being equal to the whole, Neil Leffler and Bill Coburn each took the fuel-burning Hem

In the same vein, who says you even need four wheels or three wheels? The famed Leffler-Coburn Iron Mistress coupe had six! In a true example of the sum of the parts not being equal to the whole, Neil Leffler and Bill Coburn each took the fuel-burning Hemis from their competition coupes and paired them for this interesting experiment. It wasn't real fast, but it was spectacular.

We've seen lead weights and tubes filled with lead shot as front-end ballast, but a rock? I kid you not. Clearly, the Red Mountain Boys knew how to rock.

We've seen lead weights and tubes filled with lead shot as front-end ballast, but a rock? I kid you not. Clearly, the Red Mountain Boys knew how to rock.

I think we've all seen the classic photo above of Don Garlits' career-changing transmission explosion at Lions, I'm not sure who circled the fan in the stands or why, but that's how this image was posted.

I think we've all seen the classic photo above of Don Garlits' career-changing transmission explosion at Lions, I'm not sure who circled the fan in the stands or why, but that's how this image was posted.

Less-seldom-seen but equally-breathtaking downtrack angle of the classic photo above of Don Garlits' career-changing transmission explosion at Lions

Less-seldom-seen but equally-breathtaking downtrack angle of the classic photo above of Don Garlits' career-changing transmission explosion at Lions

I've never seen this car before, but it can't be any mistake that the names on its side are Capp and Fedderly, as in future Top Fuel partners (and Indy winners) Terry Capp and Bernie Fedderly. Both are still at it years later, Capp in nostalgia racing and

I've never seen this car before, but it can't be any mistake that the names on its side are Capp and Fedderly, as in future Top Fuel partners (and Indy winners) Terry Capp and Bernie Fedderly. Both are still at it years later, Capp in nostalgia racing and Fedderly as Auston Coil's alter ego on the John Force team.

The first rule of running against a jet dragster: Always leave first.

The first rule of running against a jet dragster: Always leave first.

Herman Munster, far lane,�and Grandpa dueled at Lions in a ghoulish go that was featured on the popular television show.

Herman Munster, far lane,�and Grandpa dueled at Lions in a ghoulish go that was featured on the popular television show.

The driver's reaction in this photo is classic after his blown Fiat puked all over the Lions starting line.

The driver's reaction in this photo is classic after his blown Fiat puked all over the Lions starting line.

Slingshot dragster, circa 1965.   Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Slingshot dragster, circa 1965.  Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Meyer and Cluff pick-up, circa 1970's drag race.   Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Meyer and Cluff pick-up, circa 1970's drag race.  Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Circa 1965 drag race.  Jon Van Daal photo.

Circa 1965 drag race. Jon Van Daal photo.

John Troxel at Kansas City International Raceway, late '60's.  Mike Galewski photo.

John Troxel at Kansas City International Raceway, late '60's. Mike Galewski photo.

Blown blower, circa 1960's.   Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Blown blower, circa 1960's.  Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Front engined dragster, post 1980's.   Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Front engined dragster, post 1980's.  Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Hot Rod Nationals, red coupe.  Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Hot Rod Nationals, red coupe. Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Hot Rod Nationals, red coupe.  Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Hot Rod Nationals, red coupe. Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Kohler Brothers, circa 1960 drag race.  Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Kohler Brothers, circa 1960 drag race. Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Pittman, circa 1960 drag race.  Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Pittman, circa 1960 drag race. Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Keith Black Racing Engines, circa 1960 drag race.  Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Keith Black Racing Engines, circa 1960 drag race. Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

The Pig Pen, circa 1960 drag race.  Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

The Pig Pen, circa 1960 drag race. Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Coupe, circa 1960 drag race.  Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Coupe, circa 1960 drag race. Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Slingshot dragster, circa 1965 drag race.  Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Slingshot dragster, circa 1965 drag race. Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Phipps & Sons Speed Shop. Slingshot dragster, circa 1965 drag race. Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Phipps & Sons Speed Shop. Slingshot dragster, circa 1965 drag race. Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Roadster pick-up, circa post 1970 drag race.  Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Roadster pick-up, circa post 1970 drag race. Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Richmond Dragway, circa 1965 drag race.  Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Richmond Dragway, circa 1965 drag race. Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Andy Clary's Brown Crown, circa 1965 drag race, Lions Dragstrip. Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

Andy Clary's Brown Crown, circa 1965 drag race, Lions Dragstrip. Photograph courtesy of Evelyn Roth, owner of photo unknown.

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SPEED DEMON'S NEW DUTTWEILER TURBOCHARGED "HELLFIRE" V-8 WILL USE TURBONETICS NEW HP 115 MONSTER BILLET TURBO THAT CAN BOOST 50+PSI AND IS CAPABLE OF 2500+ HP. STEVE WATT HAS THE JOB OF STUFFING THIS MONSTER TURBO AND OUR DART V-8 WHERE OUR 4 CYLINDER WAS! IF YOU THOUGHT OUR 390 MPH 4 CYLINDER WAS AWESOME, WAIT TILL YOU SEE OUR V-8.  Photographs courtesy of Ron Main

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