There are certain motoring events that have transcended their narrow appeal to the hard core petrol head and entered the lexicon of the main stream. So if you say Monaco, Le Mans, Daytona or Indianapolis to a non-SpeedHunter, they could conjure up a mental picture that would show some grasp on reality. So too with Bonneville, they will know that it is fast, possibly dangerous and a throw-back to wilder times.
They may even know that it is held in the bleakness of Utah's Salt Lakes………….but generally that is it. That probably fitted a description of the extent of my knowledge and experience of the Bonneville Speed Week till once again I got the call from Editor, Rod. So this is how I find myself sitting once again in a small hotel room, perched on the edge of reality, this time known as Wendover, writing about the quite unique scene that is about to unfold in front of my very eyes.
As the saying goes, I am on the edge of the desert………..we are going to make another movie, a Rod Special, this time in partnership with Royal Purple Synthetic Motor Oil, of which more later. They have a Streamliner and intend to have a shot at the outright wheel driven land speed record, ie not a jet. What more appropriate project to follow in our "Speed Month"? But before the fuel gets ignited we have to have set,up days while tents are pitched, cars pass inspection and beer is cooled.
Speeding past Bonneville Speedway on the I-80, you are vaguely aware of some activity going in the shimmering distance but the effect is Hunter S. Thompson meets the French Impressionists, LSD served with absinthe; colours, confusion and reality being bent at the corners. Even driving down the tarmac approach road the imagination runs riot and there is a distinct feeling that you are about to join a Caravan from the Spice Lands passing through the Sahara…………..the bullet holes in the entry sign to the Salt Flats do little to dispel the feelings of deviation from the norm……………..
However up close and personal and the picture slips into focus and a degree of familiarity returns, not least with the discovery of SpeedHunters' logos on the Royal Purple car. Efforts to get to the vicinity of the track yesterday were frustrated by sandstorms, bush fires and some guy trying to ram police with his truck and getting shot in the process. At least these were some of the reasons given for the closure of the Highway but finally I arrived this afternoon to bring you a brief look at what is in prospect.
Several hundred competitors have already arrived, most of whom are camping near the track, just off I-80 at the point where Utah and Nevada meet.
After chasing down the Purple Gang, I next stumbled on this 1971 Capri……………I could be so good for you indeed, the story behind this car and its driver will appear in a later piece………………but home from home.
If a Ford Capri is unlikely in the extreme to be spotted at Bonneville, what are the odds in finding a 1959 Panhard……………hens' teeth?
Again more on this car later.
Horizons collide and disappear in the path of this Corvette…………..
Obviously some folks are true regulars………….
I was not sure what to make of this pickup truck, tomorrow will reveal all.
Slightly more conventional, this '65 Oldsmobile……………….
Back at Wendover there was a bit of a Show and Shine, without the shine but with the flames……………..
OK, action starts early tomorrow so till then.