What’s your take on what Bill Fredrick did with the Courage of Australia and the Budweiser Rocket?

PETE FARNSWORTH: After we built the X-1 and I saw what the potential for the quarter mile rocket car was, I didn’t want anything more to do with it (rockets on the drag strip). I figured it was just a matter of you know, how big the guy’s balls were as to how fast you were gonna go and how quick you gonna go. I didn’t want anything more to do with it. I could just see the next step was going lighter and lighter and more power and there was no limit to it really.

But when Fredrick and those guys did their deal at Edwards, did that torque you a little bit?

LEAH: (laughs)

PETE: More than a little. I admire the idea of them wanting to go fast. I had no problem with that. It’s just the fact that the car was never built for a Land Speed Record, that all it was was a publicity stunt uh, to try and break the speed of sound. They had no idea of turning it around within one hour; it was never designed to do that. It wasn’t an automobile in the first place, according to the records, it was a three wheeler and it was more the size of the vehicle that we had designed originally, but uh…

… but really, the fact that it wasn’t a measured mile, it was like 52 feet that they finally shrunk it down to…

PETE: Yeah, motorcycle trap or whatever it was I mean we, we’d have gone 660 if we’d done it that way.

Well, also it was hand tracked radar, um, the radar run with some guy holding it in his hand…

LEAH: The Blue Flame could have set a record the first week if all we had to do is just put together.

PETE: We worked up in speed. We worked up in 50 mile an hour increments.

LEAH: But we had to do a whole mile and turn it around.

PETE: Ours was never, it wasn’t a publicity stunt. It was designed to set the world’s speed record.

Even though the fuel didn’t allow the car to ever go through a whole mile, I give Barrett a heck of a lot of credit for the courage to ride that thing.


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