In the automakers’ standardized playbook for promoting something new, going after a record—particularly a speed record—is a time-honored tradition. Given that the world land-speed record has for decades now been pushed beyond the reach of anything remotely resembling a production car, that meant from the Sixties onward, car manufacturers and racers have turned to the closed-course speed record.
Which was just what the team behind Oldsmobile’s Quad4 decided to pursue, albeit with a much-modified 900-hp version of the dual overhead-camshaft four-cylinder and a sleek racing body designed by Ed Welburn and refined by aerodynamicist Max Schenkel. Dubbed Aerotech, it’d be piloted by A.J. Foyt. Foyt had previously set the record in 1974 at Talladega and had racing experience in the March 84C chassis on which the Aerotech was based, so he made perfect sense as the driver to reclaim the record from Mercedes-Benz. The Sam Posey-narrated video below goes into detail how GM’s engineers and staff prepared for the record and went about capturing it in August of 1987.