We ran the car at El Mirage last September. It set top speed for the class against two other entries in C/Gas Altered. The best speed of the two runs was 178 mph, it handled extremely well with no surprises. To set a record in our class at El Mirage we need to be up to just over 200 mph, so we're getting close. We also learned a lot and discovered a few problems.
For the people that haven't been to El Mirage Dry Lake here in California, I'll give you a little information that may be relevant. We race on dry lake bed with a course that is 1 1/3 miles long plus a mile or more of shut down. The timing is done in the last 132 feet of the run. There are numerous classes, from stock to all out streamliners (with a fully enclosed body) and lakesters (with exposed wheels). It's dusty, it's hot and it's where hot rodding started. Before drag strips, it was the place to find out how fast you could go.
Fast is what it's all about! Carr and Kaplan found out how fast they could go in November of 1990 at 306.957 mph. They are the only ones to go over 300 mph at El Mirage and they did it almost 9 years ago. Not everybody wants to go that fast, but everyone that runs there wants to go faster next time than they did this time. From ancient flat heads to state-of-the-art all aluminum nitro-burning behemoths, you'll see it all at El Mirage.
Two cars have started to make it look easy to go 300 MPH at El Mirage! Les Leggitt's #500 Mirage streamliner and the DRM Racing #44 lakester have both made two passes at over 300 MPH. Pete Prentice was on board the Mirage and "Fast Freddie" Dannanfelzer was driving the #44. This was the first time in ten years for a 300 MPH pass, and both cars have done it twice. Congratulations to all that are involved!
At the September meet, Miles Cook was there to do an article for Car Craft on El Mirage and some of the cars that run there. He stopped by our pits, talked with us and took some photos. His article ended up in the February 1999 issue of Car Craft Magazine. (The article is the next page of this newly revised Web Site.) It was very well done and included three photos of The Hot Rod Lincoln (one at speed!). It's worth checking out if you haven't seen it. It has a lot of the dusty, alkali flavor of El Mirage.
Back to the car, we're still having a dust problem inside the car, Fogie had a hard time seeing through it at the end of the run. If you look closely at the photo, you can see just how dusty it got inside. So we have added a small NACA duct to the roof of the car to pressurize the cockpit and push the dust out. We think we were developing a low pressure area inside and actually drawing dust into the car. Not to good for the visibilty at 200 mph. Hopefully, the duct will cure that problem.
We also collected a small amount of debris in the oil. Not enough to hurt the motor, but enough to cause us some concern. Because of that, the motor was disassembled and inspected. We found a slight clearance problem caused by the large valve spring diameter, the retainers were just touching the valve covers in a couple of spots. Just enough rubbing to generate debris. We also changed the style of the retainer and installed a heavier spring. Last year we added titanium valves. We are hopeful that our debris problem has been fixed by doing a little grinding and clearancing, and we have added more durability to the valve train by going to titanium valves and heavier springs.
Over the winter, we upgraded the electronic controls of the injectors to a Motec system. The Hot Rod Lincoln now has an M-48 Motec controller with all the associated changes that were needed for the upgrade. At this time we are waiting to get back on Duttweiler Performance's dyno and retune the motor to the new system.
This is all along with a lot of little changes and upgrades to the car, a brand new Ford F-350 Power Stroke Diesel tow vehicle, changes to the trailer, etc, etc, etc. If you've worked on a race car, you understand. It's a never ending battle.
If all goes well on the dyno, the motor will go back in the car and we'll be off to the Bonneville Salt Flats for Speed Week starting August 14th. That's the next time we plan on running the car and if that goes well, we'll be at El Mirage again in September.
If you happen to be at Bonneville, stop by and say hi. Or if you you like the dust at El Mirage, we'll be there too.