The land speed recorder has a beautiful cruelty. They are like switch knives or sharks: no explanation is needed. You can show any of them to an indigenous person wandering around Uluru, and they will know what they are talking about: death.
Here is a vehicle, generally speaking a car, something very close to what you and I drive around in. But someone, in this case, the Dauernheim / Biglow / Davis racing team, has taken the concept of automotive transportation and carved it down with a very sharp blade and honed it in one direction at one speed: Forward and Fast.
This is the automotive answer to a question that includes the variable, “but remember, the track is essentially endless and smooth”. It is not an automotive endeavor that is unique to Americans, lord knows the British have paid in blood for an obsession with all out speed, but it IS something we seem to have perfected. Sure, America has had the luck of the draw to come up with a place like the Bonneville Salt Flats (and sure, you could throw in the genocidal pulverizing of the Native Americans in with the term “luck”), but we also have a gift for creating high power machinery AND waterheads that’ll pipe up: “HELL YEAH I’LL DRIVE!!”
Look at what we can do with airplanes, given the budget. Hell, we invented the airplane. Now, if you were to unbolt the wings from a late WW II fighter, you might come up with what we see here. This is a particular kind of LSR ride, something that can loosely be termed a “Lakester”. Traditional Lakesters are not this sculpted. They were just aerodynamic enough because that was their initial job in life. Lakesters began life as drop tanks from (who’d a thunk) WW II fighters that were being tested at places like Muroc (now Edwards) Dry Lake in SoCal. It was as if God had given you both a car factory and a racetrack at the same time.
Your average sized drop tank had more than enough room for (in order of importance) an engine, a gas tank and a driver. Wheels, suspended on straight axles (we’re not going to corner much (hopefully)) could just be hung out the sides and with a big enough engine, you could cleave the whole thing through the air at frighteningly high speeds.
The Lakester seen here hits the tape at 25-feet long, and tips the scales at a not-all-that-bad 3,100 pounds. Especially when you couple that weight to a 582-inch plant capable of putting out 1,150 horsepower. Now, no, that’s not as big as the mills can get out here, nor is the HP figure all that high, relatively speaking, but it sure is enough to get your ass moving over the surface of the earth at more than 300 miles in an hour.
Fast, that’s what you’re thinking, right? Thinking, that’s about as fast as Corsair at combat speed, are you? Check out the engine: Built by drag racer and engine builder Tony Feil, it’s got a dry-sump at the bottom end and Brodix Bike Duke aluminum heads at the top. There’s a Calies crank connected to JE 15:1 pistons via Crower billet rods. There’s a Comp Cams roller, Jesel & Manley valvetrain and the whole assemblage is fed by two Holley 1,150-cfm Dominator carbs the size of flush toilets.
All you have to do is stand it on its 7,800 rpm redline and aim it at the far horizon and hope that it, you, and the ground just below, all hold together. Because if they don’t ...
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