We've been told there was a time when critics of the automobile warned against the dangers of high-speed driving. At the lofty speed of 35 miles per hour, they said, the air could very well be sucked right out of your lungs, leaving you to die of asphyxiation as you careened along at the edge of sanity.

The human race has a long history of itching to push the land-speed envelope ever farther, along with a similarly storied line of naysayers waving the thou-shalt-not flag. One man in Apple Valley, California has taken it upon himself not only to beat the current land-speed record of 763.035 mph, but to demolish it. Waldo Stakes is building a land-speed car he figures should be able to reach 2,000 mph.

Once again, for clarity's sake, that's two-thousand miles per hour.

If you've been paying attention, you likely know the Bloodhound SSC is aiming for a somewhat more modest 1,000 mph. And while that beast has an entire platoon of engineers, years of research and $15 million behind it, Stakes and his Sonic Wind Land Speed Research Vehicle are a bit more homegrown. The man makes his wages as a general contractor and walked away from formal education mid-way through a stint in community college in 1974.

But, while he hasn't followed the traditional engineering route, the man has been studying the principles behind land speed vehicles since he was a kid. More importantly, this isn't some half-cooked pipe dream. Stakes has already amassed two XLR99 rocket engines the likes of which powered the infamous X-15 experimental plane. All hail the mad scientists of the world. Head over to Popular Mechanics for a great look at his progress.


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  • 58 Comments
      kim
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wonder why all the comments are so negative, remember what made this country great [ it was men like him with a dream and or a vision] it is now something we have lost here in this great country of ours, of all of the industrilized nations in world we are now at the bottom of the list in our schools math and science scores wonder why, we have lost our drive or will to be the best. if you don't play you can't win. Godspeed my brother I know you can do it !
        grimesclrcbg
        • 3 Years Ago
        @kim
        Kim I'm on your side and I agree with what you posted. "if you don play you can't win"
      wallvis
      • 3 Years Ago
      most current land speed attempts are nothing but airplanes without wings. I think wheel-driven should be a requirement.
      SpeedyNutrino43
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Infamous" isn't the word to describe the X-15...............it's the LEGENDARY X-15. Poor choice of words on the part of the writer.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      SamBlob
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't think he'll succeed. I hope he does, though. My only concern is if he'll be able to stop, turn the car around, and do it again in the other direction within an hour.
      azragaled
      • 3 Years Ago
      Type your comment hereIf he uses rocket engines that is a rocket - not a car
      adamsmombetty
      • 3 Years Ago
      WOW... I could be at work in 14 seconds...
      Scarboy6693
      • 3 Years Ago
      I know exactly what this guy was thinking. In the words of Jeremy Clarkson: "How hard can it be?"
        MaxStolfe
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Scarboy6693
        as i watch Top Gear I read this, ending each sentence with "...in the world."
      adrian
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sounds like a contender for the next Darwin Award. I wish him all the best with his effort to rejoin the human gene pool.
      Buckingham's
      • 3 Years Ago
      Even IF he could go 2000 mph on the salt flats, the air friction would burn his card up before it ever reached the end of the course.
      kesac
      • 3 Years Ago
      They also laughed at the guy who drove his pickup truck across the Atlantic from Havana to Florida. They also sent him back and made him do it again in a 50's model American made lead sled.
      bitsflick
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hope he remembers to put brakes on the vehicle
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