I’ll bet that Raymond Lowey has been spinning in his grave the last 25 years after seeing Gary Vail’s beautiful hot rod restoration on this Lowey design. Lowey’s ’53 Studebaker, Starlight Coupe changed the American automotive landscape.
The little GEN 1 small block makes 3 per inch or 770hp at 9400rpm with a red line at 10,500 rpm. That might be a record for that Eaton rotor set.
The stickers on the windshield are Bonneville Nationals inspection stickers and that’s not all of them, Bruce (and the officials) insisted on a space for the driver to see thru! Over its career this car has set more than 50 records and has held as many as 11 at once. Different engine sizes, different fuel types and alterations to the body serve to change classes and allow this to be accomplished. That means all nighters at the motel, all week, changing engines, body and fuel type. Then a big celebration down by the railroad tracks at the Hideaway to cap it all off!
The 53 Studebaker brought streamlined door slammers to the salt and the Geisler Vail and Banks Stude is the greatest example of that mark. In the late 70’s running a Banks 302″ Twin Turbo SBC from an IMSA road race project, the car became the Worlds Fastest gas burning door slammer at 217 mph. The Hanky Panky Special held that distinction until the Kehoe-McKinny and Banks “Sundowner” 68 Corvette went 240mph with a Banks 427″ iron head Twin Turbo BBC on gasoline in 1980.