Octogenarian, John Cooper Fitch, Attempts 170+MPH Record in Bonneville This October Utah's austere Bonneville Salt Flats will be the proving ground for 89-year- old racer, John Fitch this October when he will attempt to set a Bonneville F/GT...
Octogenarian, John Cooper Fitch, Attempts 170+MPH Record in Bonneville This October
Utah's austere Bonneville Salt Flats will be the proving ground for 89-year- old racer, John Fitch this October when he will attempt to set a Bonneville F/GT class speed record in a classic 1955 Mercedes 300 SL Gull Wing. His first attempt to beat the existing record of 168.721 mph occurred three years ago. This October 11, if the Gull Wing's highly modified "hot rod" engine is ready, he will hit the salt flats for another attempt.
Fitch, known by many as one of the post-war era's elite "gentleman racers," is the current subject of a PBS documentary playing in major markets - Gullwing at Twilight: The Bonneville Ride of John Fitch, produced and directed by Chris Szwedo.
According to current plans, car owner and engine builder, Bob Sirna, and John Fitch will return with the vintage Gullwing October 11, 2006 for this latest attempt to beat the existing record.
The Mercedes-Benz 300SL is a two-seat, closed sports car with characteristic gull wing doors. Built by Daimler-Benz AG, and internally numbered W198, the 1954 road version was based on the company's highly successful competition-only sports car of 1952, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL.
In his earlier years, Fitch won races at the Argentine Grand Prix, the Mille Miglia, Dunrod Tourist Trophy and the Sebring endurance race, and competed six times in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
John Fitch helped found Advanced Power Systems International, manufacturer of the Fitch Fuel Catalyst, an innovative technology that improves fuel economy and reduces emissions in gasoline and diesel powered equipment and vehicles. For more information, go to www.fitchfuelcatalyst.com.