Our team, myself, Steve Davis and Verlyn Gregerson, set out to break a old records set by Dick Cartron and his team in 1963 & 1964…..and to establish a new Land Speed Record in a two stroke Saab….. Dick set a personal best time of 103.560mph in 1963, and a Land Speed Record 105.453mph in 1964.
We arrived Friday am and began the long task of getting our car, a part 1967/1968 Saab Sonett II, loaded with a 750cc two stroke motor, (our car must run as a 1968 to met the required 500 car production) through the safety inspections so we could run on the Salt Flats. We worked on the car till Sunday afternoon and finally had all in order and made a required “Rookie” run to be sure me and the car was safe for the Salt.
We made two runs Sunday late afternoon that were about 95+ MPH and from there we started to dial in our Saab two stroke.
The current, 2011 Land Speed Record we were chasing was 96.683mph and was bumped to 96.877 on Sunday by a 1959 Deutsch Bonnet named Bone Evil! with a 2 cylinder 750cc motor
We met the owner, Mark Brinker and his crew and we all decided….NOW WE HAVE A RACE! They were a good team from Houston Texas.
On our first run Monday morning we ran a blistering 100.458mph which surpassed the old record of 96.683mph, which landed us with a date with History the next morning for our second “backup” run. At Bonneville you must run “down and back”, on two separate days, then if your Average of the two runs exceeds the existing record, you now own a new record.
On Tuesday AM we ran a conservative run of 97.479 to give us the new land speed record of 98.968MPH.
But success never sleeps. We quickly swapped out the cylinder head to an experimental one we made with a much higer compression ratio and pealed off a run of 101.653mph later that morning! Back to impound and a new attempt to “bump” our record on Wednesday am.
Wednesday AM we made so more mods and smoked all the old records by going 109.574,mph for a new land speed record of 105.613mph!
More mods and back on the track…..next run that afternoon gave us a run of 108.671mph! Another recorded beater was in order for Thursday am for our “backup” run.
Thursday AM we ran 106.215mph and said good enough……we now had set the land speed record THREE times! And our last one was 107.443mph.
We spent the rest of Thursday swapping out playing with a larger “prototype motor” and got up to 112.538mph for a max speed. With that we packed and headed home with our green little Saab and with all the goals we had set out to accomplish.
On a final note, Lots of poeple came up to me to say they Loved the Saab we had and Saab as a company, and wished Saab well. People always ask me which is the “Best Saab Ever Made”? My answer is always the same…..”the last one of the Assembly line!” Today, as back in 1963 and 1967, Saab makes a great car…..go out and buy one and do what they are meant to do…..BE DRIVEN!”
thanks for reading…Safe Saab’in!