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History The Tragic Tale of the 'City of Salt Lake'...

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Jive-Bomber, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 9,867

    Blue One
    from Alberta

    Restored is a debatable point with things like this.
    Is it really restored if there is 95% new material in what is more accurately called a replica or recreation ?
    What makes it a restoration? A few tiny bits of the original car?
    Still a really interesting part of Bonneville history and a look back at at much simpler time in life.
    Good to learn about these things.
  2. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 6,155


    that is a powerful piece of reality. Us with our hot rods can take them out and test them anywhere. These guys work all year long in little garages without the benefit of being able to test. they travel thousands of miles to the few places where they can only hope it actually goes forward when the let out the clutch and have God's own balls to go to WOT in high gear. Very special people, I salute.
  3. Offset
    Joined: Nov 9, 2010
    Posts: 1,586

    from Canada

    Incredible story.
  4. Rebuild. Restore. Replica. Whatever you CALL it, that point is mute. What is important is, his son built/rebuilt his fathers dream machine. With what little was left... that is a major feat in and of itself.
  5. @Jive-Bomber Jay - Great Blog! ... Thanks for posting!

    NOTE: There's even more "City of Salt Lake" streamliner pics, videos, and info in @Goober's Athol Graham Bonneville Streamliner Rebuild: A Son's Dream & A Father's 300MPH Legacy thread from March of 2010.

    For those of you that don't like to click on links ... here's some vintage "City of Salt Lake" pics from that thread that have yet to be posted here:

    Athol Graham CoSL \'liner - 1959 (clocked @ 344 mph).jpg

    Athol Graham CoSL \'liner - Hinged tail (Sports Car Illustrated - Nov \'60).jpg
    Athol Graham CoSL \'liner - 1960 safe driving attire.jpg
    Athol Graham CoSL \'liner - The Wreckage (B&W).jpg

    Zeldine & Athol Graham.jpg
    Zeldine & Athol Graham

    Athol Graham \'liner (Dean Lowe collection).jpg
    Athol Graham CoSL \'liner (Farmer collection).jpg

    ... and also from that thread was a link to the late Ray (@ChevyAsylum) Therat's website with 100+ photos of the Graham liner restoration ... just click the thumbnail:

    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
    Hamtown Al, Rusk and kidcampbell71 like this.
  6. I did see the restored car at Bonneville, what a great piece of history. Tragic story, yes. Tribute to a visionary man that built it, absolutely. Even if it does have ability to run under its own power, it can never pass safety inspection to run as a real race entry. The only thing I can think is maybe the USFRA 130/150 club, but even then, it may not pass inspection based on current requirements. It is just cool to look at.
  7. Things were quite a bit different then. Remember that is over 50 years ago . Half a century. I recall a picture of Craig Breedlove after he stuffed his car through a big berm into "Lake Bonneville" The guy wasn't wearing a firesuit. Just a light jacket and an inadequate helmet.
  8. I'm not sure where you get your 95% new material facts but the son didn't receive the car as it looked in the crash photos. The car was rebuilt and run again in '62, reaching 250 mph by Otto Anzjon 2 years after Graham crashed. A tire blew and he spun out, and crashed. He died of leukemia the same year at 20.
    Then the car was rebuilt by Harry Mulhbach, he ran at b'ville in Oct '63, reached 395 mph lost control and the car rolled on it's top and slid for 1/4 of a mile.
    That's the condition the car was in when the son got it.

    This is the car when it ran in '62 with Anzjon driving 2 years after Grahams deadly crash.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  9. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 6,155


    What's the antenna sticking out in front?
  10. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 9,801

    Atwater Mike

    Antenna is tuned to Wolfman Jack. Confidence is sorely needed on a 300+ MPH run.
  11. 270ci
    Joined: May 17, 2010
    Posts: 348


    Not an antenna, but something more like a gun sight, that SCTA suggested be added to help the driver realize if the car was going into a high speed skid, which the car already had a history of doing during previous record attempts.
    Gabe Fernando likes this.
  12. PKap
    Joined: Jan 5, 2011
    Posts: 592

    from Alberta

    The unfortunate failures of the past is what the current rules for safety are built on. None of these guys had a death wish, and they built what they did with their current understanding of crash dynamics and safety in that era. These guys had a drive to push those possibilities. I honour those people like the men of that era that flew airplanes in Europe with some squadrons having a ridiculously low survival rate, and yet the bravery to push forward in spite of the fear and odds.
    It is a tragedy for any of them who lost their lives, and I would never say it was " worth it". I look in amazement at what he created in his garage for 2500 bucks, and I am grateful that the effort was made to preserve his creation and remember how we got from horses to hundreds of mph safely.
  13. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 9,867

    Blue One
    from Alberta

    The numbers were not quoted from anywhere, merely used to make a point as to at what point is something considered a replica rather than a restoration? A tiny bit of the original does not in my mind make a restoration.
    Regardless of when it was done, the car was not restored when the vast majority of it was destroyed beyond repair, it was re-created.
    But all that doesn't matter really it's a technicality.
    From the sound of it, the car was extremely unstable at speed given the history of the runs it made.
    It's almost like the downward slope of the front nose may have caused lift almost like a wing ?
    All that air at speed looks to me like it would unload the front end and lift the car ?
    Still it is impressive and a good story.
    Gabe Fernando likes this.
  14. flamingokid
    Joined: Jan 5, 2005
    Posts: 2,197


  15. Gabe Fernando
    Joined: Dec 7, 2008
    Posts: 309

    Gabe Fernando

    As far as I'm concerned the 'restoration' of any kind of race car is a real 'gray area'. Race cars are constantly changing, month to month, week to week or day to day for one reason or another. The 'original' car might be out in the Cosmos somewhere. The cars of this era, especially land speed racing, were still pretty much on the learning curve. This fact is what made it such a great time. Athol Graham's car is a good example. One guy, his own ideas and allowed to run. Simple.
    flamingokid likes this.
  16. Blade58
    Joined: Mar 5, 2012
    Posts: 301

    from apopka ,Fl

  17. V8 Bob
    Joined: Feb 6, 2007
    Posts: 2,485

    V8 Bob

    I remember trying to read the print, and study the crash picture of Athol's car, while folding papers for my route back in '60. I've never forgot that, probably because of seeing it over and over that day. Thanks for this thread and great additional info. :)
    Gabe Fernando likes this.
  18. LOWCAB
    Joined: Aug 21, 2006
    Posts: 1,989

    from Houston

    I see that in the original post photos it was 4 wheeled in the rear at some point but then must have been changed to the 2 wheel version.
  19. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 9,761


    As I understand it, the car crashed three times. It was widely felt that it has a wing shape and acts like a wing at speed. Everybody liked the car. Would liked to see it be successful. But I believe it was a poor concept from the start.
    Gabe Fernando likes this.
  20. It's a great story that Grahams son restored the car over a 27 year period but I think it's more amazing that Otto Anzjon, who was part of the original crew and was 17 when Graham was killed, was able to take the car from the wreckage and get it back on the salt in 2 years while still a teenager and fighting leukemia.
    Otto far left weeping at the wreckage site

    2 years later
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
  21. It's also interesting that most of these land speed guys were using old military stuff from the war...
    Bellytanks, aircraft canopies, jet engines, entire decomissioned aircraft, AN fittings and hoses etc. They must have just haunted the military surplus stores! The history of land speed racing is most interesting. This is just a guess on my part, but I'll bet a lot of these early cars (especially the lower classes) were seat belt only, no shoulder harnesses.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
  22. Rem
    Joined: Mar 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,256


    Precisely what I was thinking!
  23. birdman1
    Joined: Dec 6, 2012
    Posts: 668

    from USA

    thinking of al the young men killed in their "quest for speed", i sometimes wonder if it is worth it. Look at all the men Roger Penske has killed in his cars. Why do we put our lives at risk just for the short-lived rush of cheating death?? We all have people that love us and depend on us in their lives, yet we like to play the game of looking in death's door, and coming back. Drive safe guys, some one wants you. 002.JPG
  24. Nailhead Brooklyn
    Joined: Jul 31, 2012
    Posts: 567

    Nailhead Brooklyn

    This. ♡♡♡
    5window and mike bowling like this.
  25. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 23,443

    Jalopy Joker

    restoration/recreation? who cares - it is a terrific to see it back together - Wow, the design, engineering,etc that it took to build back in the day is amazing
    mike bowling and 5window like this.
  26. rgdavid
    Joined: Feb 3, 2014
    Posts: 346


    Restored, rebuilt with new parts,
    Who cares really,
    The important thing is that the man feels closer to his dad.
    mike bowling and Hamtown Al like this.
  27. One of the best threads...ever. Thanks to everyone who contributed. I learned a lot.
  28. firingorder1
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 2,141


    That has nothing to do with it really.
    mike bowling likes this.
  29. mike bowling
    Joined: Jan 1, 2013
    Posts: 3,424

    mike bowling

    Thanks for posting a great story with, unfortunately, a sad ending.
    Restored, repaired, remade, percent of whatever , who gives a shit- the guy shot for the moon; he's got my respect, and a son who loves him and wants his tale to be told and not forgotten. That's what tradition is all about; passing stories on to keep memories , good and bad , alive.
  30. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 6,819


    Your point's well taken, but I can only find two drivers who died while actually racing for Team Penske-Gonzalo Rodriguez and Mark Donohue. Maybe I am missing a few?

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