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Goldenhawk crew dreams of diesel speed record

Time:2018-02-14 04:59Turbochargers information Click:

News alyn edwards Bonneville

Is it a bird? A plane? A rocket?

None of these. The 10-metre-long stiletto on wheels is the Goldenhawk Streamliner trailered to Bonneville Speed Week on the salt flats outside Wendover, Utah, on the Nevada border, to set a world record.

The B.C.-based crew of seven led by creator Randy Pierce and builder Werner Sprenger trailered the beast to Bonneville on a 12-metre-long three-axle trailer donated by Pierce’s optometrist, Glenn Dyck of Surrey Centre Optical.

Donations are what kept this massive undertaking moving forward over the past eight years, including a rebuild in the last four years.

In 2010, the Goldenhawk missed the opportunity to set a speed record when a fuel pump issue caused fire damage and the streamliner hit a course marker at 240 kilometres per hour.

The world record for a 4.0-litre diesel engine-powered vehicle is 275 kilometres per hour. Goldenhawk’s crew believes their Cummins four-cylinder diesel, boosted by twin turbos and a nitrous oxide system, will do 515 kilometres per hour.

Pierce, 71, serves as the driver. His company is Agnew Bailiffs and Financial Adjustors, and he laughingly calls himself “the world’s fast bailiff.”

The longtime drag-racer and nitrous oxide pioneer, who grew up reading Hot Rod and Popular Mechanics magazines and once owned a chain of automotive stores, was recovering from open-heart surgery a decade ago when the idea of setting a world land speed record overtook him. He began researching aerodynamics and the F86 Sabrejet fighter.

Goden Image: A drawing of the Goldenhawk Streamliner.

Goden Image: A drawing of the Goldenhawk Streamliner.

Goden Image: A drawing of the Goldenhawk Streamliner.

He was greatly influenced by speed giants like Mickey Thompson, who set a world land speed record in 1960 on the Bonneville Salt Flats, driving Challenger 1 to become the first American to break the 400-miles-per-hour barrier, hitting 655 km/h.

Werner Sprenger, then Pierce’s next-door neighbour and a master mechanic, had just sold his automotive repair business when he signed on. The Goldenhawk project became an obsession for the two friends. Pierce sources the sponsors and parts and Sprenger is the head mechanic. Almost everything is donated or bought at cost.

“Never talk to a manager,” Pierce advises.

“Talk to the person who signs on the front of the cheque, not the back. Go to the decision-maker. He’s the guy who owns the company.”

As a result, the project, worth $1.5 million, has been perfected over the past four years on a shoestring.

“It is shack built in the back yard with as much sourced locally as possible and most products special order,” Pierce says.

Kevin Knox did the three-dimensional design and plans for the 2,000-kilogram racer. The tube chassis was constructed by Aggressive Tube Bending. Help to build panels for the airplane-style body came from Knox, Plastec and Murphy Aircraft of Chilliwack.

Cummins Diesel Canada provided the 3.9-litre diesel engine, which is generally used to power U.S. postal trucks and Case tractors. Heads Unlimited did the engine machining, special Mahle pistons were provided, Colt Camshafts came in to help, and Holset Turbo supplied the twin turbos.

Turbonetics built the adjustable turbo waste gate, Nitrolube donated lubricants and Air Dog and NW Fuel Injection supplied a sophisticated fuel pump worth $12,000. Master painter Tim Kennedy did the decorating. The fire suppression system was provided by Acme Fire Safety. The vehicle’s name comes from the famous Royal Canadian Air Force Golden Hawks aerobatic flying team, which performed more than 300 air shows in four years beginning in 1959.

The Goldenhawk Streaminer rides on dollies aboard the three-axle trailer donated by Surrey  optometrist Glenn Dycke .

The Goldenhawk Streaminer rides on dollies aboard the three-axle trailer donated by Surrey  optometrist Glenn Dycke .

The Goldenhawk Streaminer rides on dollies aboardthe three axle trailer donated by Surrey optometrist Glenn Dycke .

“This is for Canada. Go Canada Go!” Pierce says.

The project has adopted the RCAF motto: Per adua ad astra, or through adversity to the stars.

The Goldenhawk Streamliner competes in the E/DS (four litre diesel) class and uses the longest track at Bonneville, covering eight kilometres.

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