Rebuilt for SPEED |

Rebuilt for SPEED

Rhonda Costa-Landers
Appeal Staff Writer
Brad Horn/Nevada Appeal Bill Inman, of Carson City, looks over the motor of his 1971 Buick Riviera. He will be racing on the Bonneville Salt Flats the second week of September.

When Bill Inman decided to rebuild his 1971 Buick Riviera, it wasn’t going to be for the Silver Dollar Car Classic or Hot August Nights – it was for one thing and one thing only – speed.

However, a 1971 Buick Riviera is not the most common car taken to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah for an attempt at record-breaking speeds.

“I just got into racing the last couple of years,” Inman said. “And interested in Bonneville. I took this car out there last year and blew up the engine.”

Inman, of Carson City, said he bought the car about 30 years ago after instantly falling in love with it. He was about 15 at the time. He will take it to Bonneville Sept. 10. Vehicle inspection is Sept. 11 with racing from Sept. 12-15.

“It used to be a daily driver, then it became parked most of the time, mostly because of the cost of gas,” he said.

The car had a 455 cubic-inch block, which Inman got from a company specializing in performance blocks. It now has a 508 cubic-inch motor.

“It should be a monster,” Inman admitted.

Inman will race in the AA/CGC (classic gas coupe) division. The top speed recorded in this division is 151.7 mph. He’s sure he can best that.

“This car should do 180 mph,” he said confidently.

Modifying the car for this type of racing is Tom and Robby Shelton, of Shelton Racing and Fabrication in Carson City. Inman said he ended up at their shop because he needed to have a roll cage installed.

“I had to rationalize with myself about having it done because I lost the back seat,” Inman said. “What I thought was a simple project has turned into a monster.”

“We also put in a quick-change rear end with worm gear, which gives you the best traction and maximum performance,” said Robby Shelton. “You can go lower in gears to run higher rpms. It all matches with the speed.”

“The fun thing for us is it’s different,” said Tom Shelton. “It’s a challenge and it’s fun. It’s been a learning experience for all of us.”

Inman said he’s sure he’ll surprise a few people at Bonneville, and those who know him around town.

“Some people may think it’s a mid-life crisis for me – so what,” Inman said. “I’m in a position to do this and I figured if I don’t do it soon, I may regret it later.”

“The motor should have about 800 horsepower,” Inman said. “A friend of mine, Bill Whited, built it. He’s my project manager.

“I’m pretty confident about going 130 mph and 150 mph. My goal is to make the 200 mph club. I am excited and worried sick.

“And I’m ready to throw up.”

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