Bonneville Speed Week 2012 Baddest Race Cars #6 – Target 550mph

bonneville racing, bonneville streamliner, land speed racing
Photos by the great Peter Vincent

Amazing Bonneville Salt Flats Streamliner Set to Run 550 mph


Five-hundred-fifty miles per hour. Yes, you read that right! This air-slippin’ hot rod’s set to demolish the “fastest wheel driven, piston powered” car record by 100 mph.


Here’s a few details to wet the appetite:

  • Does it look long? It should. It’s 43 feet long. (13.1m) and only 3 feet high (0.91m)
  • Frontal area is an anemic 8.61 square feet (0.8 square meters) with an included angle of 1.5 degrees
  • Power comes from two Dodge V8 Hemi’s boosted by Whipple Superchargers
  • Fueled by alcohol, there’s 2500 horsepower on tap… EACH.
  • Power is applied by two B & J 4-speed transmissions – shifted simultaneously- by steering wheel controls


This is the Marlo Treit and Les Davenport “Target 550” streamliner.

A Few of the Crew


Marlo Triet the project coordinator and from what I can see, the “ring master”. On the salt at Bonneville Speed Week 2012, Marlo was tough to corner as he answered questions from curious racers, spectators and media. As I took pictures, Marlo was being filmed. From the “Crew” page at the Target 550 website, Marlo’s a guy to have a beer and a chat with. He likes fast things… how about a 1700 mph MIG 21 jet or the lakester he used to race that was the first to hit 312 mph in the 1/4 at Bonneville.

bonneville racing, bonneville streamliner, land speed racing


Les Davenport is the guy behind the wheel. Les has 40 years of racing experience to go with his crew chief duties in the alcohol drag scene. He’s also known to pilot his 200 mph RV6 airplane down to said races to make the from-Canada commute a smidge shorter. Les touched 300 mph in Marlo’s lakester while developing the engines for Target 550. While 300 mph and the coveted blue hat that goes with it is an incredible accomplishment… he’s shooting for nearly double that.


On board for Chassis and Body design is Jim Hume. Jim’s a race car builder for a few drag racers you might’a heard of: Force, Prudhomme and Berstein. He seems like a tough guy to get along with too. Here’s how he came on-board with this project (in a conversation with Marlo)


“I hear you want to build a new car.”  I said “Yes.”  His next question was, “Have you commissioned anyone to do it?”  I replied,”No.”  Jim then said, “What will it be?”  My response was, “The fastest wheel driven car in the world.”

Jim’s response: “I would be interested.  Is there a budget or a time limit?” I said “No, we will know when it is done.  How long it took and what is costs isn’t anyone’s business.”  From there on we made real progress.


My tour guide while shooting my pics of this Hemi powered engineering masterpiece was Allen “OZ” Osborne. OZ gets credit for the one-of-a-kind carrier the streamliner uses to travel just about anywhere but in a straight line. I agree with the, “modern miracle of innovation” tag for the carrier, check it out. OZ, a 200 mph “Red Hat” recipient knows this car well and gladly explained all the car’s trick details to probably over-curious folks like me out on the salt. Thanks OZ!!


The last crew member I’ll mention is Jason Hosking. I remember OZ telling me Jason could weld titanium upside-down, under water with a hang over. (Or something like that.) The fabrication work he’s done is starkly evident in the photos below. To hot rodders, this is ART.


The pictures in this gallery give a few more details on the streamliner:



There’s a pretty steady flow of info from the team as well as build info, pictures and video going back to 2009 on the website. We’ll be checking back in there regularly to see how they’re doing. Until then, to see the other race cars we call, “The Baddest Race Cars” click here.


Can they do it? Your comments are appreciated!

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