Bonneville Salt Flats
Nearly 500 entrants gathered here last month for Speed Week, one of the few times of the year when the salt is used to establish official records. The 2006 turnout was the biggest ever, drawing vehicles ranging from prewar Fords to diminutive “lakesters” with bodies shaped like the fuel tanks once seen under the wings of fighter planes. There were 50’s Studebakers stretched like taffy to cheat the wind, and everything from Toyota econoboxes to Corvette-powered Porsches to ground-scraping motorcycles testing their engines against electronic timers. Even a Ferrari F40 turned out.
More than 150 records were set in dozens of classes, encompassing every imaginable combination of vehicle and engine, from tiny 50-cc motorbikes to a mammoth Freightliner truck powered by a 4,000-horsepower V-16 diesel said to have begun life in a tugboat. This improbable rig, lowered and modified unlike anything one might see on the Interstate, is a perennial favorite, thundering down the salt at more than 220 m.p.h.