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Land Speed


  Welcome to the Land Speed section.

 Bobby and Walt were only involved in two land speed cars. The first was a jet powered car called "Wingfoot Express". It was built by Walt, Bobby and Doug Rose in 1963. The nose section was designed by Tom Green, who also drove it only because of an agreement Walt made for designing the nose.

 Walt said to me recently "Tom did drive it to the record of 413 mph, I have to give him that, but he was afraid of the car and the speed and therefore never really opened it up. That car was capable of so much more."

 At that time Bobby was driving "Avenger" and Doug was driving "Green Monster", both were 1/4 mile jet dragsters and had bookings all across the country. Walt really wanted Doug or Bobby to drive the "Wingfoot" but had to honor the bookings. Doug wanted to stay with the 1/4 mile car because he didn't want to get caught up with the shows and appearances that come along with being a speed record holder. Bobby couldn't get free until Nov. 1964, but by that time the weather took control and closed the Salt Flats for the year.

 There is a story out that says Tom Green designed and built the Jet Wingfoot, to that Walt says "That is complete hogwash! We had that car built before I even met Tom Green, if your dad was here he'd set'em straight!" and Gertie (Walt's wife) says "He's full of bologna, he had nothing to do with building that car!"

 I'm not making any claims, just repeating stories as they were told to me by Walt.

 The second car was built in the spring of 1965 and also called "Wingfoot Express". It was the first land speed car to use rockets and the only car to ever use J.A.T.O. (Jet Assisted Take Off) bottles. They are a solid fuel rocket and could only be used once at a cost of $1,000.00 each. They started out with 15 mounted in the back, but that wasn't enough and added 10 more, 5 on each side.

 Because Walt and Bobby expected to break the sound barrier they built the car extra strong, which became their downfall because it was just to heavy at 6,500 lbs. Dad (Bobby) told me that he saw 605 mph on the speedometer once, but it was in the middle of the run and by the time the measured mile came up he was only doing 470 mph and that he had coasted almost half way thru. There was a picture taken when he was doing 580 mph, but that was only one way. I'm not sure what the best average run was. I asked him what the max speed was and he told me to find the picture of the dash board and see where the marker was in the speedometer.

 As a kid of 10 or 11 years old I saw a drawn up plan of a car they thought would "break the barrier", it was low and sleek but never came to be.

 That's about it for the story part except for the "Great Salt Bears" Dad told us about, you know, like the "Jackalope or Snipes".

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