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Bonneville Racer Reaches New Heights at Goodwood

Bonneville racer reaches new heights at Goodwood Festival hillclimb

18.7.05. The 200 mph street-driven Bonneville Roadster of Tony Thacker and Jimmy Shine was recently shipped to England where it competed in the prestigious Goodwood Festival of Speed.

“Now in its 13th year, the Festival is the high point on the vintage motorsports calendar,” said Tony Thacker. “It ranks alongside Pebble Beach and the Monterey Historics and we were honoured to be invited. Indeed, we were the only hot rod present and the only Bonneville car to run up the hill in the company of the historically important Formula One, Le Mans and road racing cars that this event is famous for.”

Tony experiences the thrill of a lifetime driving up the hill

Centered on the Earl of March’s stately Goodwood home, where in 1948 his grandfather converted a World War II airfield into a race circuit, the Festival brings together the crème de la crème of the motorports world for a sprint up his 1.16-mile driveway. Nick Heidfeld, driving a McLaren/Mercedes MP4/13 in an amazing 41.6 seconds, holds the record, unbeaten since 1999. Needless to say, the Thacker and Shine Roadster, built for straight-line land speed racing at Bonneville and weighing in at a porky 4,000 lbs, did not break the record.

“Even though we didn’t chalk up competitive times, we had a great time,” said Thacker. “The event is supremely well organised, the Goodwood staff are very accommodating and you even get to pit alongside the likes of Junior Johnson of NASCAR fame, Emerson Fittipaldi, Johnny Rutherford and multiple Le Mans winner Derek Bell. It’s a truly memorable time in any racer’s life and certainly a ‘must do event’ for any enthusiast’s calendar.”

The Thacker and Shine Roadster was in England to undergo wind tunnel testing, overseen by McLaren F1 designer Peter Stevens.  The testing, conducted at England’s MIRA tunnel, “Resulted in a lot of very useful information,” commented Thacker. “Information that we hope to interpret into the design of the car. A Model A Roadster, is, after all, a brick and anything you can do to knock those corners off and make it go faster can only help.”

The roadster in its more natural environment - car has run over 200mph!

Complete with a new Chevy motor and the modifications made as a result of the wind tunnel experiments, the team plan to return to Bonneville in October of this year. For further information regarding the SO-CAL Speed Shop, one of the main sponsors of the car, and the Thacker and Shine Roadster, contact Tony Thacker at 909/469-6171 or, or, check out the Soi Cal web site at

Words & Photos: Elliot Jacobs


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