Recycled Teenager Sets New 287mph
Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah - Ron Main, 59, of Chatsworth, California, driving "Flatfire," rocketed into the land speed record books with an unprecedented 287 miles per hour - more than 50mph faster than the existing class record. The handcrafted, supercharged streamliner is powered by a 1946 Ford flathead V8.
Unquestionably the world's fastest flathead, Flatfire flew across the five-mile racecourse to establish the new land speed record on August 16, 2001, during the 53rd Annual running of Speedweek, conducted by the Bonneville Nationals, Inc., division of the Southern California Association. The record also earned "Rebar Ron" Main, a reinforced steel contractor, a lifetime membership in the celebrated "200MPH Club," a group comprised of the fastest men and women on earth.
Where each mile-per-hour achieved on the brutal salt flats is the result of dogged determination and exhausting work, Main eclipsed the existing record 235mph by an astonishing 52 mph.
In the early days of land speed racing, the Ford Flathead was looked upon as the "poor man's V8" and produced only 65 horsepower, and today is considered an "old tech" relic at best in modern racing circles. A 50's rock-and-roll fanatic with a passion for period films, Main's Flatfire engine produces a whopping 650 plus horsepower and runs in Blown Fuel Streamliner Class. Silencing critics, his exit, or terminal speed, taken at the end of the record-setting run, was an astonishing 295 miles per hour, which indicated the car, was still accelerating.
"The car pulled very strong during the run," remarked Main of the record run. "It felt rock solid because of the tremendous down force, It was hard to believe that I was moving nearly 300 mile-per-hour."
Ford introduced the flathead V-8 engine in 1932. Main is quick to cite that Flatfire's remarkable engine was "updated" with the expertise of several high-performance notables including Dick and Mike Landy, of Dick Landy Industries; Jim Middlebrook, of Vortech Engineering; Bruce Crower, of Crower Motorsports. The "overnight success" took only 13 years to realize.
"Setting any land speed record at the salt flats can be a tortuous task," Concluded Main. "We had a dedicated crew of amateur speed enthusiasts working side-by-side with talented veterans, and no one lost sight of the goal. We'll be back to nail 300mph next time."