Speed Demon


In 2018, I reviewed “Goldenrod: The Resurrection of America’s Speed King”. It was a truly excellent book, well written and beautifully presented, and I stated at the time it raised the bar as regards production values for all authors around the world. That of course had to include Goldenrod’s author, John Baechtel. So when I received a copy of “Speed Demon: World’s Fastest Piston Powered Car”, I was more than curious how anyone could surpass their own high standards, but surpass them John has.

Everyone picks up a new book and quickly flicks the pages to study the photographs first, but with Speed Demon, as soon as you do, you are drawn in, the photos are truly superb, and within seconds you are reading the captions, and then the text. The photographs are crisp and have all the detail you could ever need, regardless of if you are an engineer or merely an enthusiast.

The photos are so good, and numerous, that you’d be easily mistaken for thinking you have actually bought the workshop manual to build your own Speed Demon. The book barely needs words, but that is where Speed Demon goes up a gear. Few of us get to stand on the salt flats while a speed record attempt is taking place, and even fewer are permitted into the workshops where these vehicles are put together, but the text in Speed Demon makes you feel part of the team, it involves you, and as such you feel the emotions, the trials and tribulations, and share in the success.

This book tells the story of how a successful record breaker is born, run, and succeeds, by painstakingly putting every component together, and it is also, exactly how this book has been put together. How John Baechtel improves yet again, I’m eager to see, but in the meantime, become part of the team, buy and read this book; you cannot get any closer to the action unless you are actually sitting in the car.

~ Steve Holter - Motorsports Author, Belves France

Take a full color deep dive into the inner workings of the Speed Demon.

The original Speed Demon established itself as the fastest car at Bonneville and the only car that consistently demonstrated the potential to advance the wheel-driven land speed record. It has run a mile average over 457 mph with an exit speed of over 462 mph in the fifth mile. It is one of the most successful landspeed cars ever.

The Speed Demon Racing Team is comprised of extraordinarily talented individuals whose build talent and precision teamwork caused one writer to dub them the "Men in Black." Their expertise and George's fearless driving has allowed them to win the coveted Hot Rod Magazine Top Speed trophy nine times.

The Speed Demon shape was painstakingly refined by a PhD Formula 1 aerodynamicist and the work was verified in wind tunnel testing. Removal of the original scoop in favor of side air inlets proved a valuable step. The aerodynamics chapter includes his complete analysis and design recommendations along with all the wind tunnel data and modifications it predicted.

George Poteet has driven the Speed Demon since 2007 and for all of it's runs over 400 mph. He has more 400 mph-plus runs than everyone else combined. This extraordinary achievement has made him the Speed King of Bonneville although you would never suspect it given his humble demeanor and generous nature.

The ground up build sequence is thoroughly covered in more than eighty pages of full-color photographs that reveal every intricate detail of the car's construction and all of the specialized systems that make it function as a single cohesive packaged built for the solitary purpose of achieving the highest wheel-drive, piston-powered speeds in land speed racing history. It has done just that.

At Speed Week George and the Speed Demon Racing Team are consistently on their game, running 400 mph-plus right out of the box. The new Speed Demon has reestablished its dominance, having raised the AA/BFS record to more than 470 mph with a terminal speed of 481 mph in 2020. It is the only piston-powered car currently capable of challenging the 500 mph barrier.