Today we take for granted that the pits at Bonneville will be filled with cool and unique hot rods, homebuilt creations, and strange ideas on how to go fast. Such was not always the case though. The idea of land speed racing before the hot rods showed up was one of big bucks and big complexity. Land speed racing was something that the John Cobbs, Malcomm/Donald Campbells, and other wealthy guys did. It was not a pursuit for the neighborhood kids in a jalopy that they had built in a garage with loud exhaust pipes and a high school education. Some 60 years later, the opposite is the rule rather than the exception. While there are some huge dollar all out efforts, the majority of the vehicles competing on the salt flats are humble creations built as their creators ultimate idea of going fast within given class parameters. Pretty awesome.
In this vintage newsreel footage you will see some truly historical cars including the Vic Edelbrock roadster. This was a gathering of hot rodders that would continue to grow and advance at an incredible rate. 10 years or so from the making of this video there would be the 500mph land speed machines of Arfons and Breedlove. Those were a far cry from the worked flathead iron you see here.
The big speed car of the meet in 1952 was the Kent and Leslie 777 streamliner out of Colorado with Willie Young behind the wheel. The car was the first hot rod over 200 and ultimately the first over 250 with a pair of flatheads churning out a combined total of 400 or more horsepower. See it and listen to it here.
This is a spectacular video!