August 24, 2006

Speaking of Land Speed Records...

Although the biggest news coming off the Salt this week has been the stunning 329 350 mph (still unofficial right now) Diesel-powered speed record, this item I originally saw in the Hemmings e-newsletter is what really caught my eye. In this press release, GM Performance Division rightly crows about its success this year, but notes one frightening whooptydoo:

[...] The team did have a couple setbacks during the week, proving just how hard it actually is to set a record at the Salt Flats, especially when considering a vehicle has to make two successful runs to set a new record.

Once a vehicle qualifies to beat the previous record, it is immediately impounded until the next morning when it can return to the same course for a record run. The combined average between the qualifying and record return runs are what establish a new record.

After only two passes, the Chevy So-Cal HHR was finished for the week on Aug. 14 due to an on-course incident.

GM engineer and driver Jim Minneker was beating the previous record of 226.835 in the G/BFCC class (G Class/Blown Fuel Competition Coupe) by more than 20 mph with a qualifying run of 246.686 mph when the HHR lost traction after parachute deployment at the end of its run. Minneker walked away with only minor bruises, and although the HHR was still structurally intact, it was unable to continue running. [...]

Emphasis mine--the Hemmings blurb said he rolled the HHR, but no matter--walking away from ANY 250 mph crash with only some bruises is just incredible.

As for the wreckage, there is a photo of the horrifyingly mangled vehicle in the extended entry. Hard to believe it was once actually a vehicle.


Shocking, no?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at August 24, 2006 11:15 AM

That is a shockingly rude and deplorably insulting thing to do to your readers, and you should be ashamed.

Not as ashamed as the creators of such a shockingly rude and deplorably insulting travesty of sheet metal and plastic, but ashamed nonetheless.

[A new tagline? "Pontiac Aztek: The Warthog of Automobiles"]

Posted by: skinnydan at August 24, 2006 11:40 AM


Posted by: Sarah G. at August 24, 2006 11:42 AM

I am ashamed--OF BEING SO DARNED CRAFTY AND SNEAKY!! As for the other, I was really aiming more toward deplorably rude and shockingly insulting, but I just haven't been able to get motivated enough for that today.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at August 24, 2006 11:57 AM

Dan, even better, the Wonder Warthog ( of automobiles.

Posted by: steevil (Dr Weevil's bro Steve) at August 24, 2006 12:21 PM

As should be expected, I bow before the wisdom of the resident Rocket Scientist.

Posted by: skinnydan at August 24, 2006 12:53 PM

Oh, the horror, the horror. I always thought an Aztek was an appropriate vehicle to be used by one of the protagonists in that apocalyptic TV show Dark Angel. (If you don't remember it, perhaps you will remember Dark Angel as the show where Jessica Alba became a star.)

Posted by: Stan at August 24, 2006 01:34 PM

Oh, yes, I remember it well--both for the lovely dark-eyed Alba and the hilarity of Pontiac's product-placement strategy. Talk about your postapocalyptic dystopia--the collapse of civilization AND everyone has to drive an Aztek.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at August 24, 2006 01:53 PM

I'm worried about my mother's sanity. She thinks HHRs and Magnums are really cute. Should I try to have her committed now or wait to see if she actually buys one.

I'm also worried that this insanity might run in the family. My brother drives an Aztek.

Posted by: Jordana at August 24, 2006 01:57 PM

I kinda like the Magnum, although not so much as I would if it were a bit more lithe. The HHR I've talked about before--it's okay, but it's still something of a silly thing to look at.

Your brother's Aztek on the other hand...

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at August 24, 2006 02:04 PM

For the record, I personally laid eyeballs on both the SoCal HHR and the JCB Dieselmax streamliner. Excellent displays of technology in both cases. The streamliner team had a really posh setup with tractor-trailor rigs with pull-out patios and food catered in. It also had some of the largest billet made parts I've ever seen, braces that covered the entire top of the frame structure were one-piece and completely milled.

Very cool.

Posted by: Nate at August 24, 2006 02:32 PM

SoCal Speed Shop's work is impeccable, and their work with GM is a credit to both companies. I hadn't heard about the Diesel boys until this week, but you gotta say anyone who can turn two heavy equipment engines into this monster must have something on the ball. Did you by chance get any photos?

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at August 24, 2006 02:40 PM

A few pics, still in the camera. I'll have to see what I have. The SoCal guys did have a nice layout too, separate teams for the HHR, the Cobalt and the streamliner. All in matching uniform shirts and looking very industrious.

And I just discovered you can't put in a link that says shop[dot]com because of the spam blocking. I tried to post a link:[dot]com/index2.html for a picture of all the team cars.

Posted by: Nate at August 24, 2006 03:36 PM