Boldy Going Somewhere Very Quickly...
Yesterday Yellow Hound paid a visit to Ian Northeast who, along with a team of supporters, is creating ‘The World’s Fastest Jensen’. Born, as many of these projects seem to be, from a discussion over a pint or three in the local pub the project aims to answer the age-old question ‘how fast will it go?’. The team has already made one visit (in 2018) to the unique Speed Week which takes place on the Bonneville Salt Flats annually in August. That visit saw its fair share of technical challenges but gave the team invaluable experience – and the commitment to return to the salt in
The ‘it’ in question is a 1965 Jensen CV8 currently running a significantly modified engine (currently stroked to 8.2 litres) with fuel injection and a turbo. The estimated power of 750bhp is fed through a NASCAR spec clutch and Dodge Viper gearbox to a Ford rear axle.
One of my personal lifelong ambitions is to attend the Bonneville Speed Week and capture some of the stories of those who feel compelled to risk it all against the salt. Why? Well, largely this is grassroots motorsport. It’s not about factory teams, big budgets, and politics. It’s about passion. Most of those who run on the salt are ‘normal’ people with mortgages and day jobs. They hold one thing in common though – a desire to see how fast they can go. It’s not about beating the other guy – this event has a camaraderie all of its own. Competitors are united against the salt and the clock. Everybody has a heart warming story about the help they’ve received from strangers at the event.
My interest is to capture the passion in those stories in images. So Yellow Hound is planning to attend Bonneville Speed Week in 2021 – to spend the whole week on the salt talking to the men & women that race and photographing their experiences. My particular interest is in teams heading out from the UK – hence my visit to Ian and his ‘World’s Fastest Jensen’ team.
On my visit Ian and Harry Smith were preparing the car for an imminent visit to a rolling road for engine tuning. The main task was to solve a clutch issue (an incredibly heavy pedal) which itself meant an engine removal. With the engine out the clutch slave cylinder could be removed and examined for ease of actuation. A slight easing of the slave piston in its bore was carried out along with a thorough check of the NASCAR-supplied clutch alignment on the custom flywheel. Certainly Ian & Harry seem to be very well-practiced at removing and refitting the engine.
Do look out for further blog posts as I continue to visit Ian and his team to document their progress towards the salt. Ian has some very interesting aero parts to go on the car which I hope to cover in my next visit.
I am very keen to make contact with any other teams intending to be at Bonneville in 2021 – please do get in touch!