Carson City resident falls short of setting land speed record |

Carson City resident falls short of setting land speed record

Rhonda Costa-Landers
Appeal Staff Writer

Bill Inman knows records are made to be broken.

However, Inman’s attempt to break the land speed record in the AA/CGC (classic gas coupe) division at the Bonneville Salt Flats for the World of Speed event this year fell short. The reason – another blown engine. Inman attempted to break the record last year in the same car and blew the engine.

Passing inspection on Sept. 12, Inman, of Carson City, was ready to take his 1971 Buick Riviera with a 508 cubic-inch engine for the ride of his life.

“I went out and got a couple of licensing runs in,” Inman said. “On the next run, I blew the engine.

“Call me an old leadfoot or something.”

Inman said the car wouldn’t shift into its top gear.

“The overdrive wasn’t shifting, and I got too high on the RPMs. It went to about 7,000, which is a little bit much for an old bruise like that. I did get to 161 mph.”

Inman said his project manager, Bob Whited, checked over the engine and found a solenoid, an aftermarket part, that was bad.

“On Wednesday I did get to 149 mph and earned a class D license,” Inman said. “The day after that I went for the upgrade, 150-175 mph.

“I got to 161 mph and blew the engine, and was licensed for level C. The bad cylinoid conked out the overdrive.”

Inman said the car had tons of power and wasn’t yet at full power when the engine let go.

“If I had any brains, I wouldn’t have over-revved it. Now I know a lot more than I did.”

Inman said the crankshaft can be repaired, but he needs a new block.

“I will replace a few other smaller items that were also damaged,” he said. “But I won’t make the next run attempt in October, it will be next year.

“I think we have the power, but we’ll need to hit 188 mph. That’s the new record for this division.”

• Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at or 881-1223.

Editor’s note: A record in the XF/BFCC division, entry No. 313, was broken by driver Dan Webster at an average speed of 184.8510 mph. Webster is possibly from the Carson City area. He is asked to call Rhonda Costa-Landers at 881-1223.