Thursday, August 30, 2007

Diesel Power Challenge To Air September 5

Don’t miss the Diesel Power Challenge this coming week on The Outdoor Channel. The Diesel Power Challenge took place on June 26 & 27 in Salt Lake City, Utah. There were nine pickups on the scene from all points of the compass. The high heat and tough competition took its toll and only one truck could be declared Champion.

DPC is a creation of Diesel Power magazine and the Primedia Truck Group for the purpose of creating a new event for diesel truck enthusiasts. Later this year Diesel Power magazine will devote forty pages of content to coverage of this two day contest. But next week the show will air, and it should be a good one. Under blue skies and high heat, nine pickups participated, all maxed out turbodiesels, representing the best reader rides.

For local air time visit the Outdoor Channel at
The program will re-air on December 7. Check your local listings.

In the meantime, here are some images from Salt Lake City.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Engines Have Been Delivered

Act I of the Mopar Muscle Engine Challenge has been completed. The eight engines competing in the Challenge were put on display at the Mopar Nationals in Columbus two weeks ago. Last year's winners David Bruns and his wife Dianne were on hand along with a host of other builders from all points of the compass.

After the Nats, the engines were crated and shipped to Comp Cams in Memphis, arriving on August 13. Until the Dyno competition begins on Monday September 17th, there's not much to tell. For full coverage of this years competition, follow along in Mopar Muscle magazine beginning with the October issue.

It was a hot one in Ohio as the editors and staff of Mopar Muscle magazine loaded the crated engines back into the trailer in preparation for Act II. Up till now, everything has been but a prelude.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

World's Fastest Cadillac Uses AMSOIL

Early last week we mentioned that Johnson's Hot Rod Shop would have a contender on the Bonneville Salt Flats. We knew their Cadillac XLR would be fast, but you never know how fast till you really put it out there. With Gramie Bartles at the wheel, "The Worlds Fastest Cadillac" set a record of 222 mph. (Welcome to the Red Hat Club, Rabbit.)

This was actually a huge accomplishment for this new car that had just been completed within a couple days before Speed Week. The project was initiated in March with the build being completed right at the wire. According to the Johnsons, "Going to Bonneville without any testing and tuning before we got there, even without setting this kind of a record, is an achievement in itself."

Bartles built the chassis and worked closely with the Johnsons on the build to insure the vehicle was up to snuff with regard to the the rules and regulations for S.C.T.A. Alan Johnson from California was the builder of the Northstar engine for the XLR. Owner of the XLR, Bob Johnson, looks forward setting more records with the XLR in the coming months.

All such projects involve many team members. In addition to the many other sponsors who helped with support, Bob indicated his gratitude to AMSOIL for the great products that have given his cars the extra oomph and protection he counts on.

We'll keep an eye on the record books as the Johnsons continue to push the envelope.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Bonneville: It's a Wrap

Speed Week 2007 is now recorded in history. The 199 mph record for pre-1934 Roadster, 3 liter/blown gas/modified remains intact.
The AMSOIL/Coddington car made one run on Friday as a shake down after the off course spin on Thursday. The car remains strong, improvements will be made, and the team will be back in October to go for it again. The team has learned a lot here. This week's Bonneville efforts featuring the AMSOIL/Coddington car is currently scheduled to air on TLC in October. Stay tuned for air time.

As for the stuck motor home – it is finally out, but during the day three other tow trucks also got stuck trying to assist in the rescue effort. As of Saturday the biggest yellow tow rig still remained stranded and had started to falling on its side in the sand.

The miscellaneous photos here today will hopefully give you a feel for the flavor and flair of Bonneville.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Thursday’s Salt Not So Sweet

Like boats and race horses, cars on the Bonneville Salt Flats also have exotic names, many related to a common theme here in Utah. Salt Shaker, Salt Lick, Salt Sabre, Salty Dog, Salt Dancer II, and Saline Solution are are just a few of the salty hopefuls gathered here.

At day’s end Thursday the AMSOIL/Coddington car did not as yet set a record. But they did have some excitement. In the late afternoon Jo Coddington, while accelerating, spun out at 180 MPH, headed backwards through the 3rd mile marker and off the course probably about a half a mile. Both Jo and the car appeared fine afterward, the car suffering only minor tire damage.

When the team went out to see her and bring the car back, the motor home got stuck in the soft salt sand. A flat bed was called and in about 30 minutes it also got stuck. Then a monster semi tow-type rig arrived after another hour and that got stuck as well. At the end of the day all three remained stuck out in the middle of the salt flats. As the day ended the car was being readied back at the pits to run again Friday.

The latest report Friday morning: five tow rigs stuck. Bummer.

Despite Salt and Heat, Wednesday Went Well

Setting records at Bonneville is a little more complicated than a Sunday walk in the park. To capture records with real bragging rights involves meeting a number of qualifying criteria. This is one reason it takes a whole week to get in the record books. And this year, with a record number of vehicles showing up to participate, the lines are longer to get on the course. An estimated 520 drivers have shown up for this year’s 59th running of Bonneville Speed Week.

Wednesday Jo Coddington made progress toward the goal with at least two decent runs. But due to the complicated licensing and scoring methods, the AMSOIL/Coddington 1927 Roadster still needed another run to qualify Jo for the main course, then two runs within a 24 hour period over 199 MPH to become the record holder.

Late Wednesday afternoon the AMSOIL/Coddington camp celebrated the week on the flats with a hospitality party. Everyone ended the day in high spirits in hopes that starting early the next morning everything would come together.

The salt on this rental vehicle's engine caused it to overheat twice.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wednesday Morning Update from Utah

Tuesday there were delays on the course due to some accidents and some salt surface repair. A Colorado driver was seriously injured when his car begin sliding sideways at 170 mph and then went airborne, crashing hard on its side.

As a result of the delays, the AMSOIL/Coddington car only had one attempt on the track.

The record Jo is chasing is for the fastest pre-1934 roadster, 3 liter/blown gas/modified. The current record is 199 MPH.

According to our man on the scene, "Everyone is still in great spirits and hoping for a good day on Wednesday. Still very hot." You can see from this shot below what they mean by hot. Now imagine being wrapped up in a driver's suit....

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Latest from Bonneville

We received a call from from the Salt Flats late yesterday afternoon. Here's the latest from Bonneville.

Jo Coddington made her second run at 175 MPH. All went well.

Excitement is building for Jo and the AMSOIL/Boyd Coddington car to break a speed record. When Jo goes over 200 MPH she'll become a member of the famous Red Hat Club -- all those who break 200 MPH at Bonneville.
Then in September she'll take the car to the Week of Speed for the races sponsored by the Utah Timing Association. (This week is Speed Week sponsored by South California Timing Association.)

Trivia: 3X Indy winner Bobby Unser, while visiting AMSOIL a few weeks ago, mentioned that he was a Red Hat Club member. Checking it out in the record books: he did 223+MPH in 1993.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Faces on the Flats

The action is shifting into higher gears here in Bonneville. In addition to the AMSOIL/Coddington 1927 Ford Model T Roadster, there are quite a few other AMSOIL lubricated record seekers out on the Flats this week. A few nods of the cap are in order as things get underway.

World’s Fastest Diesel Motorcycle
Fred Hayes currently holds eight world and four national land speed records on motorcycles. This week he’ll try to better those records and add another -- all on diesel-powered bikes. Hayes is an experienced motorcycle rider, earning top honors in several American motorcycle riding competitions through the years.

As founder, president, CEO and chief engineer of Hayes Diversified Technologies (HDT USA), Hayes has led the company to become the largest supplier of military motorcycles to the U.S. Defense Department. No one puts motorcycles through more extreme paces than Hayes. For this reason, the company relies on AMSOIL for the most grueling tests of all. “With over a year of testing, we have found that AMSOIL products continually outperform all other lubricants. AMSOIL provides improved performance, increased fuel economy, lower oil consumption and significantly reduced engine wear in all operating conditions.”

“Just Glad To Be Here”
Another face on the Flats powered by AMSOIL is Lloyd “Hooley” Huffman’s team, “Just Glad To Be Here.” He’ll be striving to break his personal best of 241 mph in a 1953 Studebaker. The team will also be fielding a 1951 Henry J. Co-sponsored by AMSOIL Dealer Pat Grady, we’ll look for new record breaking runs this week.

Johnson's Hot Rod Shop
The builders of last year's head turning G-Force 'Cuda will be back at Bonneville with a new car. An editorial in Popular Hot Rodding called it, "The Greatest Street Machine Ever Built." Despite the hyperbole, we know these guys know how to make cars. And for maximum G's on the Flats this year they will look once again to AMSOIL.

As we hear more, we'll keep you posted.

Speed Week Begins: Jo On Track

Things are underway in Bonneville for the AMSOIL/Coddington Modified Model T Roadster. Here's the latest.

Jo Coddington made her first qualifying run today and all went well according to Boyd.

Jo is in queue to make her second qualifying run right now.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

On the Threshold of Bonneville

How fast is fast?
According to a cover story in the September 1952 Hod Magazine, a California Streamliner was preparing to set a new record out on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Its goal: surpass a then current speed record of 219 mph. In those days, that was a pretty fast clip, though today most of us are well aware that the slowest qualifiers at the Indy 500 are exceeding this speed on a large circle track.

Over the years, our fascination with speed keeps countless manufacturers, racers and speed freaks coming back to the Salt Flats in Bonneville. Dubbed "the fastest place on earth" one wonders whether the Bonneville Salt Flats are the origin of the phrase "flat out fast."

In 1961, an assortment of new records were established including a Streamliner that rushed to 262.231 miles per hour in the fuel class.

At the end of the sixties the top cars looked more like rockets with wheels than cars. Drivers like Craig Breedlove pushed past the 400 mph mark and eventually 600 mph. Before long, some of the vehicles actually were rockets.

Boyd Coddington's Blown Gas Modified Roadster is ready to rock. Driver Jo has salt fever, as they say, and is eager to see what the AMSOIL/Coddington Model T can do.

Speed Trivia: In the early days of the locomotive, editorials urged people not to ride the trains because at 25 miles per hour, the air would be sucked out of their lungs and they would die.

MOPAR Nation

An estimated 50,000 people from all fifty states are gathered here at the National Trail Raceway celebrating the 27th anniversary of the MOPAR Nationals. The event has been here at National Trail Raceway since 1998, where it also had been held from ’86-’92. Every parcel of turf in this 30 acre compound, is crammed with cars or people gathered to see the sixties and seventies cars they love.

A Manufacturers’ Midway, Swap Meet, parts suppliers, three days of drag racing, burnout contests, parading cars, and thousands of vehicles just being put out there to show, with plenty more for sale -- it’s all Mopar and it’s all here.

People line the streets with lawn chairs to watch these premiere muscle cars rumble into town. The locals use the opportunity to strut their own Mopar muscles as well, adding to the festive air that surrounds this serious venture. One magazine editor estimated that there were more than four million dollars worth of Mopars parked around the grounds. My guess is that the dollar value of the cars is much higher than that since an award winning ’70 Cuda sold for $750,000 at the Barrett-Jackson auction last year.

In the midst of all this maelstrom one can find a display with eight engines assembled by the nation’s top Mopar engine builders. It’s the AMSOIL sponsored MOPAR Muscle, Engine Challenge. The brainchild of MOPAR Muscle magazine, the competition features an engine challenge of an unexpected nature. Who can create an engine with the most horsepower and torque, but at an affordable price? In other words, the contest is designed to help MOPAR Muscle readers get more from the engines they build, on the budgets they live with.

After putting the engines on display here at the MOPAR Nationals, they will then be crated and shipped to Comp Cams in Tennessee. There, the engines, with builders present, will be put through the paces. In the end a champion is honored, though all the builders have a great privilege in being selected.

This year’s competition features the small block Mopar, limited to a 410 ci engine displacement. The block itself must be a production cast-iron block or replacement block. All engines will be running AMSOIL synthetic motor oils.

One of the participants, David Burns, was in the competition again this year with his wife Dianne. As a result of being in it last year, he received many new customers.

MOPAR Passion
As you walk about the pits (where the drag cars are gathered) you can see that Mopar enthusiasm extends beyond the muscle cars themselves. One quickly loses track of how many Dodge Ram pickup trucks there were towing trailers into the event. Brand loyalty is in high evidence here.

Since AMSOIL Dealers are likewise passionate about the AMSOIL brand, a MOPAR/AMSOIL wedding would make sense underneath any hood.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


It is a remarkable thing how the mind can conceive an idea, then bring it to pass so that the whole world can see it. This profound act of creation has been so frequently associated with artists, writers and musicians that we forget that the joy of creation is something likewise experienced by engineers, architects and car builders.

At some point in time Boyd Coddington had an idea emerge in his mind: to recreate a 1927 Model T Roadster that could go over 200 miles per hour. Next week, the car will be put to the test at the Bonneville Salt Flats with his wife Jo at the wheel. This is no simulator at an amusement park. It is a real deal, and they are planning to go fast.

Coddington, who has won the prestigious “America's Most Beautiful Roadster” Award a record seven times and the Daimler-Chrysler Design Excellence Award twice, is an acknowledged artist from the old school. Cars are his canvas. Attention to detail is his trademark. Though a master of visual design, his concerns go beyond what the eye can see. For this reason the interior of the engine is not lubricated with just any oil. No matter how hot it gets out on the desert, his car will be cool.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Bonneville: It's a Go!

Bonneville Speed Week is just around the corner now. The Coddington team is racing to get the AMSOIL vehicle ready for its big show. And the Speed Week crew is busy preparing a place to run. Here’s Jo in her new fire suit, all smiles and rarin’ to go.

In case you have not heard, the weather has created a bit of drama. As with all outdoor racing events, weather can be a problem. Baseball games can be cancelled; Indy races can be postponed. Bonneville Speed Week owns no exemptions from these circumstances.

As of last week, there was still standing water on the track, as much as six inches at the end of the long course. The Utah heat evaporates water at about a half inch a day, and the time would have run out for getting the old course ready. Fortunately, the prep team has located an alternative run and are busy getting things in order for new attempts at world records. The word on the street -- or rather, the Flats -- is that it continues to be all systems go.

Here's a snapshot of Boyd examining the new Ea Air Induction Filter from AMSOIL using our proprietary absolute efficiency nanofiber technology.

About Bonneville
The Bonneville Salt Flats is a 30,000 acre state park located just east of Wendover on the Utah/Nevada border. There are two courses of varying lengths, the shorter five mile course for slower vehicles and a longer course for speedy cats, generally 7 miles or more in length.

Trivia Note: The Pontiac Bonneville sedan was named after the flats as well as the Triumph Bonneville motorcycle.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Report from Louisville

It’s easy to see why people love street rods. They just look so cool. And they sound so cool. If you like street rods, you would undoubtedly love Louisville the first week of August when more than 11,000 street rods converge on the Louisville Convention Center for the NSRA Street Rod Nationals. The parking lots of every hotel in the area were full of cars from days gone by. And everywhere you went these very stylish cars were rumbling by, this way and that, wherever you seemed to go and good vibes everywhere.

The essence of the NSRA is people who love old cars and love to ride them. These are street rodders, which means they want to take their cars on the road and enjoy them by driving around in them. These are not museum pieces. They are bona fide cars that just happen to be very old.

To qualify as a street rod a car must be Pre-1949. Why the cutoff at 1948? According to Jim Rowlett, NSRA Marketing Director, 1948 was the last year of running boards and bolt on bumpers. Interesting.

The event is more than just a place to strut your stuff. It includes educational seminars for builders and enthusiasts, entertainment for the family, professional competitions, a swap meet (flea market for old car parts from lights to bodies, engines to hood ornaments), and more.

The NSRA is a true D-I-Y market, and perfectly suited for AMSOIL motor oils, drivetrain fluids and filters. Here are a few of my favorite images captured in Louisville this week.

Trivia Note: 2007 is the 75th anniversary of Henry Ford’s ’32 Deuce, an instant hit when intro-deuced along with the first mass produced V8 engine known as the flathead.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Lights, Camera, Action!

We’ve started a new blog here to serve up information about the many AMSOIL activities that do not fall under the heading of “Racing.” Whereas racing is exciting and serves as a wonderful vehicle for reaching enthusiasts, there are many other venues where enthusiasts gather, and it is a thrill for AMSOIL to be present in the midst of all this action.

In June AMSOL participated in the Four Wheeler Top Truck Challenge in Hollister, Calif., and later the Diesel Power Challenge in Salt Lake City. July proved to be a prep month for the especially busy month of August as AMSOIL representatives head off to Sturgis for the annual biker rally there as well as the NSRA Street Rod Nationals in Louisville and the Mopar Nationals in Columbus, Ohio.

Topping the charts for adrenaline chasers will be the Bonneville experience in which Boyd Coddington strives to set a record in the AMSOIL Model T driven by his wife Jo. We’ll be adding much more about this as the days tick nearer. To say the least, Jo has “salt fever.”

Bonneville Speed Week is now less than two weeks away and the car is coming together nicely. The entire build and pursuit of the record will be aired on Coddington’s TV series American Hot Rod. Cars that Boyd Coddington's team has built have won the prestigious “America's Most Beautiful Roadster” Award a record seven times and the Daimler-Chrysler Design Excellence Award twice. The eyes of the world will be watching.

And we look forward to keeping you posted.