Three States Celebrate 50th Anniversary Of Bonneville Salt Flats Speed Record


The states of Utah, Wisconsin, and Illinois celebrated “Blue Flame Day” last week to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a Bonneville Salt Flats speed record.

On October 23, 1970, the Blue Flame rocket car became the world’s fastest vehicle when driver Gary Gabelich recorded the FIA-certified world land speed records of 622.407 mph for the flying mile and 630.388 mph for the flying kilometer. 

The Blue Flame was designed in part by several professors and students at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. It was fabricated by Reaction Dynamics in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and raced by the Blue Flame team at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

The Blue Flame was 37-feet long and nearly 8-feet high and wide, had an aluminum body, and weighed over 6,500 pounds.  The rocket engine produced 58,000 horsepower and 22,000 pounds of thrust, burning a combination of hydrogen peroxide and liquefied natural gas pressurized by helium gas. To this day, the vehicle remains the fastest American hot rod and the fastest vehicle ever driven at Bonneville.

Photo courtesy of Troxx

Stay Connected

Sign Up For The PRI eNewsletter to get the latest in racing industry news, special events, new product information and more directly to your inbox.