Land speed racers
On the morning of November 12, 1965, Bill and Bob Summers’ four-engined, “Goldenrod” went 409.277 mph over the measured mile at the Bonneville Salt Flats, becoming the first American car to hold the wheel-driven land speed record since 1928. The record stood for more than 40 years. The Summers had been coming to the salt since 1954. They’d seen the absolute LSR coopted by jet-powered cars, like 1993 inductee Craig Breedlove’s “Spirit of America.” But to the Summers, the record that mattered was the one for wheel-driven vehicles, which had been reset in 1964 by Donald Campbell’s Bluebird (403.1 mph). Their design was brilliant: four 600 HP, un-supercharged Chrysler Hemis in a row, ahead of a shrink-wrapped driver’s bay for Bob. This allowed an infinitesimal 8.53 sq. ft. frontal area and 0.1165 Cd. Their record was finally broken in 2010 by Charles Nearburg’s Spirit of Rett streamliner (414.4). Although both Summers have passed away, Summers Brothers Racing continues to manufacture drivetrain components for high-performance applications. Goldenrod is in the permanent collection of the Henry Ford Museum.