Photographer's Note

Some of us have had this moment that affected us forever: a first close encounter with a machine whose purity of purpose is obvious, and whose purpose is obviously speed. The machine captivates, the moment freezes, and the rest of the world fades to irrelevance. Must touch... Can't touch! How close do I dare get?

This is another shot from the curated show, "Hot Rod Revolution" at the Austin Seaholm Power Plant for the Lone Start Roundup weekend. I feel privileged to have shared his moment of magic with this boy. The machine captivated me, too. I have looked for more definitive information without success, so here is what I know, and what I think I remember from a discussion with the owner.

One niche of the post-WWII Hot Rod Culture, especially in Southern California, was "lake racers." Craftsmen used military surplus parts -- auxiliary fuel tanks that fit under the wings or fuselage of aircraft were especially popular due to their inherent aerodynamics -- to build machines whose only goal was top speed. They would then go to the dry lake beds in the California deserts (the most famous were Muroc, El Mirage, and in northwestern Utah, the Bonneville Salt Flats), where the ground was hard and dry and flat for miles, and compete for world-record speeds.

This "monoposto" -- a generic term for a single-seat vehicle -- was hand-built with a Chevrolet "stovebolt" 6-cylinder in a gorgeous fiberglass "streamliner" shell. As far as I know, it is one-of-a-kind.

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Additional Photos by Russ Ham (EstudioChispa) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 258 W: 90 N: 498] (2182)
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