Calling this 1984 Chevy Corvette fast is like saying Mark McGuire is an OK hitter and Jeff Gordon is a fair driver. This C4 gives new meaning to the word fast. In fact, it lays claim to the title of "World's Fastest Corvette," having been officially clocked at 271.044 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats.
The Bonneville Salt Flats are located in western Utah, just outside the town of Wendover. It's the site of an ancient lakebed that dried up thousands of years ago, leaving behind a several-inch-thick layer of nearly pure and startlingly white salt. The 44,000-acre Flats are so flat that if a person with good eyesight looks across the surreal terrain toward the horizon, he will actually see the curvature of the earth!
Every August since 1949 a band of speed junkies has gathered on the Salt Flats to test their courage and the mettle of their machines. Under comprehensive rules devised by The Southern California Timing Association, the vehicles are classified according to engine displacement, type of fuel used, body style, and a host of other parameters. Each vehicle is given opportunities to travel down a marked course, where it is timed at mile intervals. If the average of two consecutive runs exceeds the existing record for the class, a new record is established.
Since the late '50s, Corvettes have figured prominently among the vast array of vehicles found at Bonneville. Their excellent aerodynamics, more than anything else, is what attracts would-be racers to the marque. That is precisely what led J. Mindenbergs to build this '84 in the first place. He bought the car brand-new and immediately converted it into a Bonneville record contender, quickly moving from contender to record holder, a position it has occupied ever since. Mindenburgs established a new AA/GT (This is a GT class racer with an over-501ci engine) record in the car in 1988 with a two-way average speed of 266.450 mph. He also took the car to its highest recorded speed thus far, the amazing 271.044 mph mentioned earlier.
In 1996, Bobby Moore bought the '84 from its second owner, who had run it as high as 219 mph on the Salt Flats. Bobby had never competed at Bonneville before bringing his Corvette there in 1997, but immediately earned the respect of his fellow racers by reaching 225 mph in his first Flats run. By the time the meet was over he held the new AA/MS record with a two-way average of 234.162 mph. In addition to setting a new class record, Bobby earned another honor by being inducted into the Bonneville 200 mph club. To qualify for entry into this exclusive club one must both run a two-way average speed in excess of 200 mph and establish a new class record.
Bobby returned to Bonneville in 1998 and ran the '84 in the A/MS class, where he set a new record of 236.142 mph. As with the AA/MS class, the Corvette was run as a "Modified Sports" car, which is basically a stock car with the addition of a front air dam and rear spoiler to the original bodywork. The "A" designation in the classification indicates that it ran with an engine displacing between 440 and 501 ci.
For 1999, team member Bob Creitz, a legendary engine builder and member of the NHRA Drag Racing Hall of Fame, built a larger powerplant for the car. The 580-inch Chevy engine put the Corvette back into the AA/MS class, where the current mark is 251.261 mph. Running on 110-octane racing gas, the naturally aspirated, Hilborn-injected big-block makes in excess of 1,100 hp, enough to give it a shot at the record. Unfortunately, it was also enough to blow up the car's Doug Nash five-speed transmission. Without a spare gearbox on hand the car was done for that meet.
"We'll be back," reported Bobby immediately after returning to his pit area. "The transmission broke, so we won't be running any more this week. I'm thinking of replacing the Nash with a Lenco, which is a little bit stronger."