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The Fastest, Flattest Place On Earth

Brave The Heat And The Sun, for A Week of Fun

Mike Harrington Nov 14, 2005

Since the invention of the internal combustion engine, man has relentlessly sought new and innovative ways to improve, test, and reinvent this concoction. It wasn't long before some intrepid racer attempted to literally prove his salt in the racing world in one of the harshest environments known to man--the ancient remains of Lake Bonneville, or what is more commonly known as the Bonneville Salt Flats. Racing on the salt started just after the turn of the 20th Century. It was made even more popular by famous racer Ab Jenkins, and has yet to slow down. However, it wasn't until the late 1940s when the S.C.T.A. (Southern California Timing Association) began holding organized races there that land speed racing at Bonneville really came into its own. For more than 50 years, the S.C.T.A. has met annually at Bonneville. With efforts to preserve the salt, hopefully another 50 years are in the future.

But we're not here for a history lesson. For more background, you can visit We're here to check out some hot-running Chevrolets and also see what the GM/So-Cal Speed Shop team is doing out on the salt. The GM/So-Cal team was running a few different vehicles this year, each powered by GM's new little champion, the Ecco-Tech engine. Chevrolet powerplants are certainly no stranger to land speed racing and the Salt Flats, but this time it's something new and different. Let's take a look at what we saw out on the salt.


Todd Hass owns this fine-looking, gasser-styled '57 Chevy. The So-Cal team employed this Chevy as a push/pull vehicle in the pits and starting line.

Watch out! This Chevy HHR is moving. This 2.0 liter, turbocharged Ecco-Tech racer put out over 800 ponies, and runs well over 200 mph. We managed to snap a shot at the 4-mile marker as he screamed by us.

Here is another shot of the New HHR standing still. Slap me silly, but this thing just kicks me with its looks. They took a production steel body HHR, chopped it 7 inches, and turned it into a land speed racer. Can you dig it?

The starting line at Bonneville is one of the best places to be. It's here that you can witness the drivers suiting up and strapping themselves into their machines. The sights and sounds of standing next to a car as it starts its run can't be equaled. Here we see the So-Cal team doing just that.

Todd Hass not only owns the '57, he also owns this Chevy-powered roadster.

Don Sherman is ready to run in the new So-Cal lakester. This is a modern version of the original one built by Alex Xydias back in 1952. It runs a nearly stock Ecco-Tech engine and set a record running at 189.2 mph that week.

A nice profile shot gives you a look at the aerodynamics of this racer. Very cool, indeed.

Here's where all racers start, mile marker zero, and then they are off over the horizon, running like the devil is chasing them.

We promised you some bad-ass bowties...

...Here are some Second-,Third-, and Fourth-Gen Camaros to look at...

Look what we spotted in the starting lines. Could this be the world's fastest Chevy Luv?

The Third-Gen Camaro is a popular body style to use in land speed racing, on account of the already aerodynamic design.

Look what we spotted in the starting lines. Could this be the world's fastest Chevy Luv?

We spotted Hot Rod magazine and its editor getting ready to make a run down the course.

This Texas Corvette was also waiting for a chance to make a run.

Dig this brand new SSR sitting on the salt, looking tougher than a box of rocks.

If you want to run a vintage Chevy truck, why not? We managed to snap this photo just as the driver finished his speed run. Every year there is something new to see at Bonneville, so we'll see you in '06!


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