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Author Topic: Blue Flame question  (Read 7212 times)
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Robin UK
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« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2014, 03:55:49 AM »

Dick with Blue Flame at Goodwood.

Robin


* Dick Keller.jpg (163.21 KB, 640x480 - viewed 314 times.)
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« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2014, 10:15:02 AM »

And with Betsy in the foreground, where I spent my first few years in the US. Cool pic!
Betsy is a classic example of history that gets lost to history. We didn't record or document anything along the way, we were just too focused on doing it. The only trail of events is what other people have recorded.
There's even less stuff on Nolan White because they didn't even set up pit at the salt, they did just about everything in the trailer & were rarely in the same place twice. We used to call him "The Phantom" because he was nowhere to be seen for a couple of days then he'd just show up at the startline.
  Sid.
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Glen
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« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2014, 12:57:21 PM »

Sid, you are so right about Nolan White, They got the job done. cheers
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Glen
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Robin UK
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« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2014, 05:36:48 AM »

Before it got rebranded Cecil's Texaco place in Gerlach had a decent size picture of Nolan's liner on the back wall taken when he checked out running at Black Rock. A bit off topic (I'm a pensioner so I'm allowed to let my mind wander huh) here's another pic from Goodwood of somebody you might recognise.

Robin



* JT.jpg (287.91 KB, 690x920 - viewed 307 times.)
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« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2014, 10:10:44 AM »

Yeah a few of us know Jim Travis. grin
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Glen
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« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2014, 10:33:25 AM »

Some of the Teague team also call him Abo since he was mistaken for an Aboriginal on a trip to Australia.
He's a good piece of LSR history! grin
  Sid.
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« Reply #21 on: October 23, 2015, 01:32:05 AM »

45 years ago today, October 23, 1970, the last absolute world land speed record was set on the Bonneville Salt Flats. The Blue Flame, designed and built by Reaction Dynamics, Inc. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, driven by Gary Gabelich, and powered by a purpose-built liquefied natural gas-fueled rocket motor, became the first automobile to exceed 1,000 kilometers per hour.

The mile record of 622.407 miles per hour lasted 13 years, and the kilometer record of 630.388 miles per hour (1,014.656 kilometers per hour) lasted 27 years.

This was the last successful world land speed record by an American team.

Sponsored by America’s natural gas industry through their American Gas Association (AGA), The Blue Flame was constructed in our small shop in Milwaukee with the help of numerous volunteers. The car ran on Goodyear pneumatic tires which were mounted on custom-designed CRAGAR aluminum wheels. This was the last absolute world land speed record using pneumatic tires.

Arriving on the salt in mid-September, our small Reaction Dynamics land speed record team worked tirelessly to overcome numerous obstacles as we progressed toward the ultimate prize, the world land speed record. Finally, the record was achieved at the last possible moment when winter snows ended the racing season.

So, three young men from Wisconsin (Reaction Dynamics, Inc.), with practically no real money, but with a novel idea and ambition to conquer the world of speed, were able to parlay a modest budget and hard work into reality at 630 miles per hour.

Thinking back on this remarkable achievement by our small group of hot-rodders from Wisconsin 45 years ago, I can exclaim – “Only in America!”

Here’s our story on Youtube:



* RDI TEAM 1970.jpg (361.43 KB, 2000x1603 - viewed 162 times.)
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Robin UK
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« Reply #22 on: October 23, 2015, 01:51:14 AM »

Dick - huge congratulations to all of you. A major achievement for a team of true rocket car pioneers.

Robin
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« Reply #23 on: October 23, 2015, 05:48:00 AM »

When you say "no real money" do you recall any numbers from back then?.
It would be cool to compare it to what guys are spending now to go half as fast. grin

I know it was rocket powered etc but the nicest thing for me is that it used tires.
I was 13 or so when I read about it in one of the hot rod mags.

Great story and video. Thanks MAYOMAN. cheers cheers cheers
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« Reply #24 on: October 23, 2015, 07:40:28 AM »

At the conclusion, the tally was $500,000. Building The Blue Flame cost about half that - $250,000. The remainder included propellants and other costs in static tests, transport to Utah, crew and other expenses during the 5 weeks at Bonneville. We worked in the open, under blue skies (thank God), except for a brief sojourn in a hangar at the Wendover Air Field.


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« Reply #25 on: October 23, 2015, 09:36:14 AM »

Happy anniversary Dick, you're not forgotten here.
I always wondered why the car was not museum'd here in the US where it belongs.
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« Reply #26 on: October 23, 2015, 10:30:05 AM »

Because we did not finish the car and go for the record in 1969, per our contract, Pete and I lost ownership of The Blue Flame in early 1970.
Plan A was to go for a subsonic LSR in 1970 (Goodyear limited our maximum speed in 1970 to 700 mph out of caution) with the rocket detuned to about ~13,000 lbf. Then, we planned to return the following year with full 22,000 lbf power and attempt a supersonic record.
IGT, then the car owner, did not see a benefit to returning to Bonneville, only risk. So, the car went on tour in the U.S. and Europe for two years.
They did not want Pete and I to get the car back, so they sold it to a European collector in Holland (a natural gas executive in Europe), who later sold or donated the car to the Sinsheim museum.
He got the car for the cost of transporting, $10,000.
Actually, since the 1,000 kilometers per hour LSR created quite a lot of publicity in Europe, it probably is more popular where it is now. It remains the premier exhibit at that museum.
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« Reply #27 on: October 23, 2015, 10:56:14 AM »

Thanks Dick. It would be cool to get her back like Sid said.
You guys set the benchmark for all those that came after. cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers
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« Reply #28 on: October 23, 2015, 11:35:45 AM »

Still the fastest speed at Bonneville.
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Glen
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« Reply #29 on: October 23, 2015, 11:52:59 AM »

Dick,

here the picture with Gary included grin

your Blue Flame curator

Pork Pie


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