Kiwis break land speed record, in Mini
Fri, 17 Aug 2012 5:20p.m.
By Tom McRae
A team from Nelson have smashed a land speed record on the salt flats of Utah, and in of all things a five decade-old Mini.
The team converted a 1964 Mini Cooper and scorched across the Bonneville Salt Flats at more than 250km/h. The achievement ranks them alongside Kiwi legend Burt Munro.
There's only one place in the world to go if you're serious about speed - the Bonneville Salt Flats. Turning up with a 48-year-old Mini might not be the best way to show you're serious.
But today the Kiwi team smashed a land speed record - its Mini, driven by Nelson Hartley, is now the world's fastest production car with an engine under 1000cc's.
"It's something we're going to be celebrating for quite a long time, a good feat for New Zealand and us as well."
The salt flats pull speed freaks from around the world, but Minis aren't usually on the start line.
"Mini's aren't designed to go over 120km/h, so pushing 240, 250km/h things start happening, moving from one side of the road to another," says Hartley.
"The aerodynamics are terrible on it. I had to laugh at times to stop myself from getting nervous, 'cause I was starting to find it hard to drive in a straight line."
It all started in Nelson over a couple of beers, but it wasn't long before it turned serious. One hundred thousand dollars and two years later, the conversion was complete.
"It's not something I thought I'd ever do or something I'd ever thought it'd try to do," he says. "It's been a big week of trying to do this, I was quite nervous going into the final run and just doing it was a massive sigh of relief."
They've followed in the legendary Burt Munro's tracks, who in the 1960s took his Indian Scout motorbike from Invercargill to the flats, breaking three world records.
Munro was made famous in the movie the World's Fastest Indian, and the Project 64 team aren't ruling out another record attempt or a movie of their own.
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23/08/2012 4:34:19 a.m.
One word 'wow' I wish my dads mini was this quick.
20/08/2012 7:51:32 a.m.
Mostly Harmless Mini Club wrote:
Well done Guys, great hear that a classic mini still has it in them!! Old minis never die, they just get faster!! and now YOU have proved it!! Congratulations
18/08/2012 9:50:25 a.m.
Marty & Lyn wrote:
We have been watching the chaps from the Salt here in Utah - congrats guys, you might not be as sleek as the streamliners but you've made a mark for us Kiwis. PS thanks for the stickers! The Bonneville Speed Week is well worth the cost & effort even in this heat! Looking forward to getting back to the NZ winter!
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