We all remember seeing the records set at Bonneville with the jet powered cars blistering across the salt flats at unbelievable speeds. The type of engine that propels those cars is not the kind of powerplant you might find at a local car show, let alone your own garage.
But there’s a land speed car out there that is knocking on the door of some of those turbine powered cars with the hopes of sneaking up on 500 miles per hour. And they’re planning on doing it with piston power – not thrust power.
If you think that 500 mph is a stretch for this streamliner, don’t tell that to well known engine builder and turbo guru Kenny Duttweiler. We’ve already seen this car blister the salts at 462 miles per hour in September, 2011, and car owners George Poteet and Ron Main will have the Speed Demon at Bonneville again this year with some lofty goals.
This piston-powered engine pushing the Speed Demon to turbine speeds depends on Dart to get the job done. The engine behind this mighty aim is a small block Chevy 347 based on a Dart Little M block and Dart Little Chief heads. The block has an 8.5″ deck height, with a 4.125″ bore and 3.25″ stroke, and the heads have splayed valves with an 11 degree valve angle, with 325cc oval intake ports. Pushing the air through each of the 50cc combustion chambers is a pair of turbos that put this small block at over 2000 horsepower.
Though the goal is to drive past 470 miles per hour and break the current record, Duttweiler is making bigger plans to the engine and drivetrain. Poteet and Main are aiming to get the Speed Demon into the record books as the fastest wheel driven ground vehicle – a record currently held by a turbine engine powered car. Look for the run this year at Bonneville, and check out the video to see how quickly things go by at 462 mph.