Category: bonneville

Bonneville Salt Flats sign stolen – Jordan Miller @TheSaltLakeTribune


The Bureau of Land Management’s Salt Lake Field office reported that the Bonneville Salt Flats welcome sign has been stolen.

According to a Twitter post from the BLM, the sign was discovered stolen on June 11. The Bonneville Salt Flats, located in Tooele County, are listed as “one of Utah’s most iconic landscapes,” with 30,000 acres of hard salt crust on the western edge of the Great Salt Lake Basin.

On June 11, BLM Salt Lake Field Office discovered the Bonneville Salt Flats sign had been stolen. If you have info to help locate it, contact (801)977-4387| Theft of federal property: Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in prison/fines up to $1,000— Bureau of Land Management Utah (@BLMUtah) June 16, 2021

Individuals can report any information they may have on the theft to 801-977-4387. The crime is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in prison with fines up to $1,000.

Find of the Day: This Model A-based belly tanker looks the part; now it’s time to make it walk the walk as well – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


It’s hard not to see a race car built from a belly tank and get the itch to take it out for a high-speed pass or two at Bonneville or El Mirage; it’s what they’ve always been designed and built to do, after all.

This belly tanker based on a late 1920s Ford Model A for sale on, however, is a little different, featuring a replica fiberglass tank and fairly stock Model A components that probably wouldn’t make for blistering speeds on the salt flats or dry lakes. But that’s not to say it couldn’t be made into a serious racer or, with some lights and mirrors, a fun little cruiser. From the seller’s description:

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What Is a Belly Tank Racer? Drop Tank Cars and Lakesters Explained – David Fetherston @Motortrend


Variously known as belly tank, tanker, or drop tank race cars, they’re associated with vintage dry lakes racing.

Little lozenges with wheels and a view port zip along a dry lake bed. They show up in drawings and logos. They pop up at local car shows and land speed events. People call them belly tanks, tankers, or drop tanks, and they are associated with vintage dry lakes racing. But where did they come from, and why do they look the way they do? Belly tank racers are a mix of WWII aircraft leftovers and hot-rodding ingenuity. They’re part of the early days of hot-rodding but are still in use today. Let’s start with where they came from. Answer: the sky.

What Is A Drop Tank Car?

The drop tank was designed to extend flying time by acting as a portable fuel cell that could be dropped once empty. That way, the pilot could more nimbly engage the enemy. They’re also known as belly tanks or wing tanks depending on where they were attached to the plane. During WWII, they were available for the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, Lockheed P-38 Lightning, North American P51 Mustang, Northrop P-61 Black Widow, and other combat aircraft.

After the conflicts ended, thousands of the tanks languished in military surplus yards, and racers soon noticed. They snapped up the slickest shapes that would work the best as race machines. They were, and are, fast little suckers. Before WWII, streamliners ran just over 100 mph—today, more than 360 mph!

In early dry lakes racing, the Southern California Timing Association only recognized roadsters and coupes. They soon accepted streamliners because racers wanted to test new theories of aerodynamics. This morphed into many classes, and lakesters got their own game when they split from the streamliner class.

The attraction was that exposed-wheel lakesters were much easier to build than enclosed-wheel streamliners. The tank gave you the whole body, you could stuff bits of a Model T frame and a flathead motor inside and add Ford axles on both ends, and you were nearly done. That’s what the builder of the first recognized postwar tank, Bill Burke, did.

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“You’re racing against something that isn’t human:” a short virtual film festival focused on all things Bonneville – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


Bonneville’s one of those places where, once you see it, you can’t get it out of your head. You could travel the world and not feel that you’ve ever really left home until you set foot there. You come away from the place transformed, with your perspective on horizons and scale and time absolutely demolished. You begin to reconsider what your limitations truly are.
And, it’s been said, nobody can take a bad photo at Bonneville. So it’s little surprise that documentary makers have flocked to Bonneville over the years in search of good stories and have come away with not only the stories they’re looking for, the lingering perfect-light shots they’d hoped to get, but also contemplative pieces full of prose and humanity.
There’s probably an entire film festival worth of documentaries that we could highlight in the wake of this year’s Bonneville Speed Week. So let’s do it.

Save the Salt presses Utah legislature for key funding for Bonneville restoration program – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


In federal and even state budgets, $1 million isn’t really that much — maybe enough to pave a couple miles of road — but when a state needs to cut as much as $2 billion from its budget, every dollar becomes imperiled, which is why representatives from the Save the Salt Coalition have started to urge Utah lawmakers to keep in the state’s budget the $1 million they previously set aside for a program designed to restore the Bonneville Salt Flats with more than 1 million tons of reclaimed salt per year.
“We’re optimistic (the funds) will stay there,” said Stu Gosswein, the senior director of federal government affairs for the Specialty Equipment Market Association. “We just wanted to take the opportunity to reinforce that we have this Restore Bonneville program.”
The program, estimated to cost $50 million over 10 years, will essentially pick up where a previous five-year pilot salt replenishment program left off when it ended in 2002. According to a fact sheet about the Restore Bonneville program that Gosswein shared, the pilot program transferred an average of 1.2 million tons of salt to the racing surface of the Bonneville Salt Flats per year via a brine solution, leading to a thicker salt crust and “improved” brine aquifer beneath the crust.
Intrepid Potash, the nearby mining company with a Bureau of Land Management lease to mine the salt flats, continued that pilot program voluntarily from 2005 to 2012, returning about 380,000 tons of salt per year. The BLM then mandated Intrepid to continue replenishment in 2012, after which the company started to return almost 600,000 tons of salt per year

1968 Pontiac Bonneville ambulance was used for race track emergencies – Bob Golfen


The Pick of the Day transported motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel, the former owner claims

The Pick of the Day, a rare 1968 Pontiac Bonneville ambulance, is an oddball relic of motorsport history.   Now a half-century old, the emergency vehicle was used at Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona, where it transported many famous drivers after various stunts on the 1-mile oval, according to the Denver, Colorado, dealer advertising the ambulance on

Among them was the world’s most-famous motorcycle stunt rider, Evel Knievel, who was probably better known for his crashes than his successful jumps.   The Pontiac ambulance apparently transported Knievel after some mishap, as the story goes from the previous owner of the Pontiac.

There’s no documentation regarding the Knievel connection, the dealer notes, but it does make for a good story.

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Where Cars Try to Hit Mach 1, the Salt of the Earth Is Crumbling – Paul Stenquist @NewYorkTimes


Where Cars Try to Hit Mach 1, the Salt of the Earth Is Crumbling

The Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah have hosted speed chasers for decades, but the course is distressed. An advocacy group has a plan, but not the money.

Credit…Pete Farnsworth Collection

Not even 30 years after Karl Benz built what is said to be the first automobile, Teddy Tetzlaff climbed into a Blitzen Benz racecar and blasted across the snow-white surface of the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, clocking in at 142.8 miles per hour and setting an unofficial land-speed record.

This 1914 effort certainly generated publicity for Tetzlaff, a California-born racer, and the German automaker, Benz & Cie, that built his car, but the locale was most likely a mere footnote at the time.

The automotive legacy of the salt flats wasn’t cemented until 1935, when Malcolm Campbell rode his Blue Bird past 300 m.p.h. and into the record books: Bonneville was extremely well suited to high-speed driving

Where Cars Try to Hit Mach 1, the Salt of the Earth Is Crumbling

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Related –  Debate over future of Bonneville Salt Flats

Thirty years later, and little has changed at the Bonneville Salt Flats – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


Thirty years later, and little has changed at the Bonneville Salt Flats

Back in 1989, ESPN sent Peter Graves out to cover the racing at Bonneville, almost on a play-by-play basis with color commentator Rick Vesco. Speeds were high, records were set, and the salt stretched out as far as the eye could see. More interestingly, little seems to have changed out at Bonneville in the last 30 years.

Sure, fashion has moved on from bright pink team t-shirts and pushbroom moustaches and modern pickups have replaced the assorted support vehicles seen in the background, but take those away (and update the speeds and the vehicles’ power outputs) and much remains the same. Many of the same racers mentioned and interviewed still compete at Bonneville today, and the quotes about Bonneville being the last bastion of true DIY amateur racing could have come from any story written about racing at Bonneville this year.

Thirty years later, and little has changed at the Bonneville Salt Flats

Read the rest of the article here

Related – Bonneville racers push for $50 million to restore salt flats

S.C.T.A. Bonneville National Speed Trials – 1949-1968 Collector’s Set


As a hot rodder, Bonneville is the ultimate destination. For the past seven decades, it’s been known to push man and machine to their limit. Legends are born out on the salt, and now the golden years of Bonneville racing have been compiled into an unbelievable two-book set.

Order from The Rodder’s Journal library here