As most car enthusiast know, the 100-year history of racing at the Bonneville Salt Flats has been temporarily suspended for the past year or so and it’s likely there won’t be any racing there in 2016.
Potash mining has eroded the surface of the Bonneville Speedway. The salt that was 18 inches thick in the 1950s has all washed away to an area south of Interstate 80. The challenge is to find a way to get it back onto the Speedway on the north side of I-80.
A lot of car people say that a trip to Bonneville is on their bucket list. I got to go there in 2012 with the Fox Valley Technical College team. My friend Dave Sarna—who sold ads for OLD CARS WEEKLY years ago—drove the FVTC Firebird to over 193 mph before it broke.
Now, Dave an I have an idea. We know that it will take money to replace the salt. We figure to best way to do that is to inspire LOTS of people to chip in a buck or two each. And we have this crazy idea that a movie like “The World’s Fastest Indian” might be a way to do this.
We don’t want to make the movie, we want to convince a professional moviemaker to do that with the thought that maybe a bucket could be passed around theatres at intermission to raise a few bucks for the cause.
There’s no way for us to know if this idea is crazy, but we know there are car buffs out there who could help us determine that. There are gearheads who make movies. There are gearheads in the movie industry who can estimate whether another Bonneville movie could turn a profit. They will know if films like “The World’s Fastest Indian” and “Tucker the Man and His Dream” actually made money. We are trying to make contact with such people.
Dave thinks the movie should be about Mickey Thompson, the Los Angeles Times pressman who became a hot rodding legend when his Challenger 1 streamliner went to Bonneville in 1959. Dave has found and purchased a book about Thompson and is trying to track down its author. In the book, he read that Thompson had a collection of films of his races and actually wanted to make a movie himself someday. We have also heard through the grapevine that his son Danny was once interested in doing a movie.
We don’t know if all this is just a pipe dream, so we’re reaching out to every gearhead we can to get involved in this effort. And we’re not looking to make anything ourselves through this—it’s all about finding a way to keep racing going at Bonneville.