The World’s Fastest Alfa at Bonneville…

So you’re standing there with your buddies and a bar bet brings up fastest top speed for an Alfa Romeo.  Everyone else spits out Type 33 TT 12. Smiling, you quietly shake your head, knowing the next round is on them, because you know about “Bonnie”.

“Bonnie”, as they named her, is considered to be the fastest Alfa ever raced, and the Type 33 isn’t even close.

You get a push start from a truck until around 45 MPH, then you are on your own, from there working the throttle to control wheel spin.  Through the gears and your foot is flat in 4th and you start looking for mile markers, and now they are going by every 15-16 seconds…

The story: One morning in 1999, Richard Kreines of Chicago, decides to run the Bonneville Salt Flats in an Alfa. A long time Alfa owner, Kreines laughed off all the jokes about Italian cars and salt, and began assembling his crew, starting with Mike Besic of Besic MotorSports, Glen Ellyn, Il.

Turning a basically standard Alfa 155 Twin Spark (now with a dry sump and huge turbo) requires high pressure, gas filled metallic o-rings like these use in NASCAR, F1 head gaskets and a lot of successes and failures juggling rolling resistance, drag coefficients and a streamlined fuselage against the ever-thickening  wall of air encountered as you attempt to move through it faster and faster.

If you are an Alfisti, almost anywhere in the world, you know the story, and 5-600 hundred words here isn’t going to begin to get it all straight but…

Trailing a rooster tail of salt, “Bonnie”, the little, yellow Alfa streamliner set the world record for the under two-liter class, at 233 mph in 2010.

The speeds:

  • 2-1/4 MILE: 205.933
  • MILE 3: 213.965
  • MILE 4: 227.116
  • MILE 5: 231.723
  • EXIT SPEED: 232.869

 

 

As an interesting side-note, originally, the straightway was marked with a broad black line down its center. This was eventually changed to lines down either side, as the center line wore out too quickly. As the costs for painting the lines has gone up, organizations have switched to flags and cones as track markers. The last event to use black lines was SpeedWeek, August 2009,and this little Alfa Romeo was one of the last vehicles to chase that broad, black line

…a line that Richard Kreines and his team had been chasing for a decade.GOLDEN ARROW

Another interesting note, the Golden Arrow, a land speed racing car built in 1929 for Major Henry Segrave, used a 12 cylinder, 24 Liter engine making 925 HP and hit 231.446. You will have to stand in line to see her at the National Motor Museum, Hampshire, England.

Let’s see, 4 cylinders, 500 HP, two miles an hour faster, makes ” Bonnie” one damn fast car…

 

Dave

 

 

 

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About the Author: Dave Miller

Dave Miller drives the fastest, coolest, sexiest cars on the planet. He travels the world uncovering the hidden gems in luxury transportation, meeting the owners, and connecting with extraordinary car enthusiasts. Dave is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and writes for various publications. In addition to DriveWithDave.com, you can follow Dave's adventures via Drive With Dave Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and tune into the Drive with Dave Podcast via iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud.

One Comment

  1. Salvaging a weekend, Part 2: A plucky little swap meet | Hooniverse April 4, 2014 at 8:10 PM - Reply

    […] Mike and Darren Besic, who have built a number of stunning Italian vintage racecars, including the fastest Alfa Romeo ever built. They run a shop from a nearby suburb that specializes in vintage racers, but I know the brothers […]

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