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210 mph record for (four cylinder!) road-going roadster

Imagine driving 700 miles from Los Angeles to Bonneville in Utah at the wheel of a hot rod, making some pretty straightforward changes to the car on the salt and then running an amazing 210 mph – and all with just a four-cylinder engine! That’s exactly what SO-CAL Speed Shop® in collaboration with GM achieved recently in an outstanding Bonneville World Finals with two Ecotec-powered cars.

This story, which follows on from our report in September, centres on Todd Haas, who like so many lakes racers before him, had a vision of driving the distance to Bonneville in his race car, breaking that magical 200 mph barrier and entering the famed 200 MPH Club.

 "It's not easy," said Todd. "You can't just go 200 mph, you have to actually break a record at over 200 mph to get in the Club and get that coveted red hat."

Apart from a small brush with the law somewhere north of Las Vegas when Todd's uncle and partner was driving, the trip was uneventful and totally trouble free. In fact, by all accounts, everyone was surprised at how little fuel the Ecotec engine used.

 Once on the salt, SO-CAL fabricator Jimmy Shine prepped the car for racing: removing the headlights, draining the gas and refuelling with methanol, replacing the radiator with a large water tank, and swapping out the wheels and tires for racing treads.

Powered by a 2.0L turbocharged Ecotec producing in excess of 800 hp, Todd's first run netted a speed of just over 209 mph, his fastest to date. However, by the end of the meet Todd had set a new G/Blown Fuel Roadster record at 210.881 mph, making Haas Racing maybe the only team who has driven their Roadster all the way to Bonneville and achieved a record at over 200 mph.

L to R, Jimmy Shine, David Haas, Todd Haas (driver) Tom Haas, Pete Chapouris 

Mark Reuss, Executive Director, GM Performance Division and the man behind GM's Bonneville programme summed the event up, saying, "Our goal is to establish the Ecotec as an extremely robust, high integrity four-cylinder engine at a fundamental, grassroots level. Todd's effort in driving his hot rod to Bonneville and setting a record at 210 mph confirms the Ecotec as the four-cylinder engine of choice for today's enthusiast."

Todd will be back racing his Roadster at Bonneville in 2005, meanwhile it will be on display at a number of events. Check the SO-CAL web sites, either or, for locations.

Story & photos: Tony Thacker

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