Speed—that seemed to be a pretty fitting heading for the web site when my friend Jen created it. After all, that is what it is all about. Not just “ooh look we’re going fast,” but flat out “as fast as the machine can go.” Most people are guilty of a little “speeding” in their life, others like to drive fast and pursue it a bit more, but few have ever run a vehicle wide open for an extended period of time. That is what land speed racing is all about; having the throttle pinned, Tach at redline and the engine screaming as you experience the rush of all that comes with letting all the horsepower out at once.
The Salt Flats at Bonneville is a unique place. Visually it is actually very stunning on its own. Imagine a dried lakebed of salt, a stark white horizon in contrast to the blue sky and the mountains around it. Then take a bunch of motorcycles, cars, streamliners, and good old-fashioned hot rods, and you have a literal nirvana for most gear heads. It is a truly unique collection of vehicles, people and personalities laid out against an equally unique landscape.
My father and his friends had run at Bonneville in the 1950’s and they ran a blown Caddy powered 1950 Oldsmobile. A few years ago they decided to run the car again and it underwent a restoration and was prepped for another trip to the salt. 51 years after their first run, the same car came back with two of the original people and a few new ones and carved the affirmation into the salt that racers never give up the love for speed at any age. The pilots of that 1950 Olds in it’s current incarnation were my father (Larry Maas Sr.) and Ron Kalwajtis and to see them as they exited the car after a run you could tell they had fully relapsed into their addiction for speed. And don’t let their grey hair fool you, they ran it flat out for all it had.
Needless to say the bug bit me and I was trying to decide what I had that was worthy of running the next year. Low and behold next year I was out at Bonneville on a bike. The experience was fantastic and the bug that bit me dug it’s fangs in deeper. I ran the Suzuki for all it was worth and had a blast. I came back with a whole bunch of ideas and a year to get them out of my head and into a bike, and that is what is here. You’ll find a little bit about the 1950 Olds, a little about the first year bike, and a whole ton on the current project. This story might make the most sense if you read from the beginning on the 1950 Olds then on to the first year bike and finally the current project. Each has its own story but the sum is greater than its parts in my opinion.