Speed Week 2010 Y Block Fridge Cab Race Truck

Bonneville Salt Flats Racer at Speed Week 2010

Bonneville Salt Flats is full of cool car guy stories.  Here’s another one for you.  This one is from Ford Y Block lover, Tim McMaster (Y Block Guy) who built a land speed racing motor for this Yellow Fridge Cab pickup owned by Charlie Burns.   This Y powered pickup runs in the E/PP class, which is E motor (184-260 cu in), Production Pickup, where the record is 126.073 MPH.  On Saturday when I took these pictures, Tim ran 113 MPH while making his “Rookie Run” since he’s a new driver at Speed Week.

Speed Week 2010, Ford Y Block, land speed racer

Tim McMaster tells us about his Y Block love story:

“Y-Blocks, you could say, have always been a part of my life from the time I can remember riding between my dad and uncle in the 292 powered F-600 hauling a load of oranges to the Blue Goose packing house in Strathmore, CA, I know that goes a ways back and I didn’t even know what an engine was back then but that truck is still working on the ranch today and I have some other stories that involve that truck that I wont bore you with right now. lol

258cu in, Y block Ford, Bonneville Salt Flats, Fridge Cab

The 258 had its best dyno pull at 310 hp @ 7000 and best torque was 265 @ 4800 with a pretty flat curve to 7000 (I think the torque @ max rpm was around 220)  and yes 7000 seems to be where any Y runs out of breath, doesn’t seem to matter what size or stroke.

You can read on my website’s home page (link below the story) how I bought my first F-100 on my way home from the DMV on my 16th birthday with my new drivers license in hand and $500 burning a hole in my pocket. It was a 1960 model. I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for ’57-’60 “Fridge cab” Fords ever since.

Speed Week 2010, Y Block Powered Ford Pickup

Just to shorten the story a little let’s flash forward to 2002 when I first met Charlie Burns. Charlie came to the machine shop where I’ve been working since 1985 and wanted some parts cleaned.  I noticed that the parts were for a ’50s F-100 and he also had some Y-Block parts.  We got to talking and he told me that he had a dream of setting a land speed record and was going to do it with this old pickup he had for 20 years. Turns out Charlie, like me, has had a love affair with “Fridge Cab” Fords since high school too… although he got into them while they were still in production. Charlie is 67 this year.  We became fast friends and I volunteered my engine building services to help him reach his goal.

Speed Week 2010, Y Block, Fridge Cab

Charlie made his first appearance on the salt in 2007 and did not have a very good showing. That same year, he made his “Rookie” run at El Mirage without much success but anything worthwhile isn’t easy.  Over the winter of 2007-2008 we did some tuning to the engine and some changes to the drivetrain like a new gear ratio in the rear and a borrowed Toploader four speed cause the T-10 tranny that he had had too wide a gap between 3rd and 4th for the little 258″ Y to pull in top gear and accelerate. Charlie was ready for a great season.  The first meet at El Mirage in May 2008 was not much more successful than the first year but it was an improvement. Then in June, Charlie had his first score with a 118+ mph run on a 115 mph record.  With that he was ready for the Bonneville Salt Flats again.

Speed Week 2010, Making a Rookie Pass, Bonneville, Y Block

At Speed Week 2008 Charlie made a qualifying run of 124.6 mph and with a back up run the next day he had another record, this time on salt, to the speed of 122mph and change.

After Speed Week, he went on a cross country tour stopping at car shows along the way and the Y-Block Shootout in Columbus, OH on Labor Day.  Next he went to New York and then down to Maxton to pick up another E/PP record with the ECTA.  On the way back just for good measure the truck picked up another award as one of the top ten for Classic Trucks Magazine.

Speed Week 2010, Ford Y Block

That’s pretty much the history of the truck.  Where do I come in?  Last year Charlie decided to step it up a notch and he started building a new car to try for the 200 mph Club.  It’s a ’61 Mercury Comet but I’m not sure what class he is shooting for although he has told me many times. I know it’ll be an E motor and blown (Y-Block of course), E/CBGC, I think that is how it reads.

Speed Week 2010, Y Block Ford, land speed racing

Since he’s set his first bunch of records, he said I could drive the truck to get my “Rookie” stuff out of the way.  Needless to say I’m hooked!  I made my first run at El Mirage November of last year and have made seven more at El Mirage and three at Bonneville this last week. One at El Mirage was just .8 mph shy of Charlie’s record and I want to get that before the season is out.  If I can’t have Bonneville this year I hope to have El Mirage.

Y Block, land speed racing

On a side note we have mostly used my ’58 F-100 as chase truck and it makes for a good looking package on the lake bed and the salt.

Thanks for sharing Tim!  The cool part about hot rodding, especially Bonneville and El Mirage land speed racing, is there are tons of stories just like this.  This is hot rodding, this is My Ride is Me.  People get hooked on Ford Y  Blocks, flatheads, Oldsmobile Rockets, Camaros, Falcons, roadsters, coupes, we all have our own passion. Whatever you’re into here, you’re welcome. Why not sign up?

For more Bonneville Speed Week Records, Pictures and Coverage click this link. And if Salt Flats racing pickups are your thing, check out this Land Speed Racing Jeep! Yea, Jeep!.

Here’s Tim’s Y Block Guy website


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