Today my son Jesse and I went on a bus trip with 54 other car enthusiasts to see a fantastic hot rod collection in Madison, Wis. One of the riders was Dave Sarna — a hot rod builder — who brought along “The World’s Fastest Indian” video for us to watch on the bus.
We don’t know how this flick scored in the box office ratings, but it is the perfect film to show to a bus full of car guys, most of whom had at least some gray hair. The movie isn’t so much about motorcycles or Bonneville as it is about following your dream and achieving success when it seems impossible to win.
“The World’s Fastest Indian” script is full of lines that make “gearheads” smile or laugh out loud. The hero of the movie is Burt Munro, a New Zealander in his 70s who has dreamed of going to Bonneville to test the top speed he can hit with his owner-modified 1928 Indian Scout. That’s a motorcycle originally made to go 54 mph at top end and Munro hops it up to go 201 mph!
In the David vs. Goliath story, Munro’s love of speed brings him to America where he travels to Utah on a shoestring budget and breaks all the rules along the way. He charms his way through travel woes, law enforcement problems and racing rules to make the run down the salt that he has dreamed about for a quarter of a century. In the process, he just happens to set a World Land Speed Record. And perhaps the most amazing thing is that the story is fact-based.
As the DVD spun (or whatever DVDs do), there were laughs from the hot rodders watching it. But, they were not laughing at Munro — they were laughing with him. Munro was a senior citizen who never got old inside his head. He believed in himself and he let his quiet self-confidence carry him through situations where others would surely give up and fail.