Back at the Galaxie Studio after The Fabulous Fords Forever Show at Knotts Berry Farm. We also get into last week’s Mojave Magnum/Mile, current state of our F-Series truck and 67 Mustang, William has a movie review, and more!
Land speed racing is a bit different than your typical drag racing that we’ve grown accustomed. This was the Mojave Magnum 1-1/2 mile race in Mojave, California.
The annual event was hosted at the Mojave Air and Space Port which is also an operating air field complete with control tower and hangars. Beyond the runways is the airplane grave yard which is comprised mostly of retired jet liners waiting to be scrapped. MKM Promotions sponsors this event in the desert which is just a few miles north of the Muroc dry lake bed which is now Edwards Air Force Base in Rosamond. Coincidentally maybe just like the fathers of racing back in the 40’s breaking 100 mph, these men and women were doing just that, breaking records.
We got to the location just as the sun was starting to warm up the desert valley and we drove through the short airport roads to the main airstrip. Quite abruptly we hit the pits and got our equipment out. We met up with David Parks, son of the late Wally Parks, founder of the NHRA and editor of Hot Rod Magazine as he was getting ready to unload his 1957 Plymouth Savoy “Suddenly” replica car. This particular car was on display in the Hedman Hedders booth at the 2014 SEMA show. We immediately had to learn more about it and were eager to hear and see it run. This weekend’s event was the last run for this car before Parks will make it “exact” and retire it for display purposes. We were fortunate enough to get an interview with David at SEMA regarding the Plymouth which is hosted on our YouTube channel. Hot Rod Magazine featured an article about the original “Suddenly” Savoy which can be easily found online, check it out.
We met up with Marc Lewis, Vice President of Marketing for Hedman Performance Group based in Whittier, California to shoot some photos and video of Parks and his Savoy on her last run. This Savoy features custom Hedman Hedders for the ’57 392 Hemi which are similar to the original units that were made by Bob Hedman back in the day. The Hemi also features Hillborn injection and is backed with an automatic transmission. The car also wears Moon discs from Mooneyes just like the one’s Dean Moon installed back in 1960. Suddenly II was built by Jim Travis with the guidance of Wally Parks back in 1996. Wally and co-editor, Ray Brock had actually made a few runs which netted 150-160 mph range. The original car made a best run of 166.869 at Daytona in 1957 in an “experimental” class on pump gas. David’s run in the mile was 151 and 160 at the mile and half mark. Not bad for a 3,000+ pound beast with fins.
A late start for tech inspection and down time for racing between race classes on the grid pushed David’s run some 5 hours after we had arrived. Running a mile and a half with another half mile to shutdown makes for a delay in run intervals. We’re so used to eighth and quarter mile side-by-side racing, it’s like watching an old 60’s TV commercial which were a full minute long. This kind of land speed racing features more late model cars like Corvettes, Mustangs and Ford GT’s. You will also see a few motorcycles striving for the 200 mph mark. That’s crazy fast. Another item to note is that not all drivers were trying to hit 200 mph. Some are trying for the fastest time for a limited engine size in stock configuration. It’s that attention to detail and fine tuning plus the hope of a good tail wind that gets the record and trophy.
Congrats to David for making it out to the track one last time and we’re lucky to have been there to witness it despite all our camera troubles and headaches with equipment. “Suddenly” we’re left with history.