Speed Week 2010’s 200mph 1964 Fairlane
Bonneville Salt Flats Race Car
Sometimes it’s easy to pick a feature car. The reasons why I dig the 1964 Ford Fairlane were spelled out in the feature I did about the Ring Brothers 64 Fairlane. Beyond the family tie and the legend of the Thunderbolt, this Fairlane just looks BAD!
I searched for this car at Speed Week last year, but never did find it. I wanted to get a t-shirt for pops too… For Speed Week 2010, I caught up with Brian and Celia Dean and their AA/CGC Fairlane known as “Thundersalt”. The CGC stands for Classic Unblown Gas Coupe. (I guess the U is silent?)
The AA in the class title for this thump’n Fairlane stands for greater than 500 cubic inches. Thundersalt runs a 557 inch big block Ford. (thank goodness it ain’t a Chevy! It would have broken my pop’s heart!) Based on a bored and stroked 429 Cobra Jet block, the CJ is then topped with Trick Flow A460 heads. Brian estimates about 925 horsepower on racing gas flowing through the Holley 1650 Dominator carb. Brian explained, “We build shit to go fast!”
The interior, as you can imagine is all business. Not much remains of the original (Fairlane restoration lovers, stop reading now) Sports Coupe model Fairlane that simply fell into Brian’s lap when he was looking to make a Bonneville race car. It already had part of the roll cage and some wheel tubs since it was a drag race car, but no motor or transmission. I guess you could say that Brian had pretty much a clean slate to start with. Did I say clean? Brian told me starting out, “The car was ugly!” Not anymore!
I asked Brian about the color and he and Celia both groaned about how long it took to pick this orange. Its Lamborghini Murcielago orange that when they finally saw it, they knew, that’s the right color to “Contrast with the salt” as the rule book says for racing at Bonneville.
And race they did! At Speed Week 2010, I watched Thundersalt pull off the line on the long course with Celia at the wheel. It didn’t go as planned when she spun somewhere on the course. Oops! It happens when you’re pushing towards setting a record at Bonneville.
Back in 2003, Brian held the record for about 5 days, but couldn’t leave Speed Week holding the record. Currently in the AA/CGC class, the record stands at 240.778 mph held by Griffith Racing in what I think is a much more air-slippery 1979 Camaro. I’d argue about the “classic-ness” of the ’79 Camaro, but that’s the rules. I’d also argue if “air-slippery” is really part of the English language…
Record or not, Brian and Celia are having a great time with their Fairlane (unless they sell it for something faster) and certainly contrasting well with the stark, blinding white of the Bonneville Salt Flats.
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