It was May of 1953 and Dean Batchelor found himself at lunch with the managing editor of Hop Up Magazine – Lou Kimzey. As they munched on burgers and told lies, one or the other came up with the idea. They talked about the Indy 100 mph club, the Euro Speed club, and even the Gulf Oil Club for speed boaters. “Wouldn’t it be cool,” they thought…
The publisher of Hop Up heard the boys out and by the time they had finished giving their pitch, Bill Quinn was sold. Hop Up Magazine was then the sponsor of the Bonneville 200 Mile Per Hour Club. Batchelor made the official announcement in his editorial found in the June 1953 edition of the magazine. The rest is history… And man, what a great history it has.
The first five members were all voted in retroactively. They included:
1. Wylie Young Car: Twin-Ford powered streamliner Top Speed: 255.411 mph Date: Aug 27, 1952
2. Art Chrisman Car: Chet Herbert’s “Beast III” Streamliner Top Speed: 235.991 mph Date: Aug 28, 1952
3. George Hill Car: The “City of Burbank” streamliner Top Speed: 230.16 mph Year: Aug 27, 1952
4. Sonny Rogers Car: Lee Chapel’s “Tornado Special” Top Speed: 224.144 mph Year: Aug 28, 1952
5. Otto Ryssman Car: Hemi powered “Post Special” Top Speed: 227.87 mph Year: Aug, 28 1952
Editors Note: The weekend starting on August 27, 1952 was obviously a pretty damn good time to be at Bonneville, no?
The first meeting of the club was held at the salt on September 2, 1953. While gathered, the fellas decided they should let folks from over the big pond be eligible as well. In fact, they even voted Captain Eyston (English guy that held the land speed record on three different occasions) as president.
Decades came and went, but the club never faded. It went through presidents, rule changes, and a little drama here and there, but the institution that two rag-tag hot rodders created over 50 years ago still remains as one of the most prestigious alliances in all of motorsports.
Hop Up Magazine is doing it again with the 100 mph club. And even bigger news to come when we hit the salt……….
see you at the bend in the road on Sunday
……….to be continued