I admit it. I'm a complete mesmerized dope for Turbonique. A couple of years ago I wrote a blog entry (reposted here) about the history of the mysterious Orlando, FL company and their insane line of rocket-powered hot rod speed equipment. That led to more research and digging, and an expanded version of the piece that appeared in Garage Magazine #14. I continue to work on a couple of other Turbonique related projects.
In the course of writing those pieces I've had the opportunity to interview some of the people who worked with Turbonique and the daredevils like Ky "Rocketman" Michaelson who used their products. Along the way I even obtained my own Turbonique C-2-A rocket supercharger. So I thought I was pretty set until I saw this (h/t to several readers):
That there is the "Tobacco King" '64 Galaxie 500 of R.J. Reynolds heir Zack Reynolds. Up front, a 427 FE topped with a Latham axial flow blower, fed by 4 sidedraft Carters. In back: A 1000 hp Turbonique rocket-fueled drag axle. Put 'em all together and figure 1500+ hp to the rear wheels. This was Reynolds' Saturday Night Special, which he would street race in Winston-Salem and Greensboro NC in the 60's. I interviewed a man for the Garage Magazine article who worked on the car, who reported that Reynolds was absolutely nuts and (given his family station) had no fear of the police, and thought nothing of kicking in the rocket motor for a low-stakes street race.
To me this is the single greatest street-driven automobile in the history of planet Earth, and on May 17 it goes up for auction. I don't care what unspeakable deeds I have to perform to make it happen, I swear it will be in my garage someday. Unfortunately I suspect that rapacious bidders will push the price beyond my meager means.
That's why I'm taking my hat in hand and asking you to send an email pledge of financial support with the subject line "Make Iowahawk Happy Pledge Fund." Please, no actual cash or PayPal donations. Just a pledge amount that you'd be seriously willing to contribute on the condition that I actually get the car. If that happens, I promise a free rocket car ride to any pledger that comes to Chicago.
PS - Even if you don't want to make me happy, I'll still take your pledge! Just send it with the subject line "See Iowahawk Splattered On a Cliffside Pledge Fund"