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Drive to Bonneville and go 200MPH?

A friend of ours, Mike Callahan, is on a quest to go 200 MPH at Bonneville. This is not just some empty bucket list item, he has already done 170 MPH on the salt. Don’t get the idea that this is some rich dude with a custom built Bonneville Salt Lake Speedster. Mike bought a 1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II from another friend of ours several years ago. The car had previously been restored by the late Lou Whitfield to be a weekend cruiser with a 351 Windsor. It was a terrific car and served its purpose extremely well.

Mike began making some Bonneville required modifications to commence his quest. The original Windsor engine was left as Lou had built it. Mike drove the car from Ohio to Bonneville and back several times. He would always drive, run Bonneville and then drive home, never trailering the car! His most recent run was in 2021 when he did 170 MPH.

With that experience and goal accomplished, Mike set out to have a 200 MPH Bonneville street car, a real street car that he could still drive anytime he wanted. Obviously, the sanctioning body has far stricter requirements for a 200 MPH car than for a 170 MPH car.

Mike took on the challenge and went back to his garage and started to modify his Spoiler II while still keeping it a street friendly driver. With these improvements made in 2022 it was time to head back to Bonneville in August. So how did he do? The following are Mike’s comments to me about his attempt.

Morning Richard. Just checking in. Looks like our last contact was at Xmas. Finally got my new 408 Cleveland engine done late spring. Went to Bonneville but got rained out before we could run. Luckily I drove my car into town before the salt flooded. A week later I was driving the Merc in Detroit on Woodward. I have accomplished getting a true street car thru Bonneville tech. Next 200mph. I appreciate your support and the support of everyone who has followed my adventures. Every year after Bonneville, Erin (Lou Whitfield’s widow) contacts me and checks up on how I did with Lou’s old car. She encourages me the same as Lou would do. I’m sending some pictures from this year. Your friend, Mike.

I haven’t run 200 yet. Easier said than done. It might take me a couple of years to get there. I always say, if I wanted to do something easy I would climb Mount Everest. A lot more people have made it to the top of Everest than have run over 200 on salt.

I am sure if it stays dry at Bonneville in 2023 Mike and his street Mercury Spoiler II will be on the road to Salt Lake to see how close he can get to his goal of 200.

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I grew up and lived in Iowa for a good portion of my life before moving to Southern California. After 20+ years we now live outside Nashville Tennessee. I have been into cars since I was old enough to remember. I don't have a brand loyalty although I do prefer American Muscle especially the 1969/1970 NASCAR Aero Cars. (Check out our other web site at site) As long as it has four wheels and an engine I get excited. Few men are lucky enough to be able to share their passion for cars with the woman they love. Fortunately, my wife, Katriana, is also a gear head and many of our activities revolve around the cars. We have a small collection that includes at least one car from each of the Big Three. It includes a Best of Show winner, a survivor, a driver with lots of patina and several others. Katrina prefers all original cars while I like to modify them so we have a few of each. When we aren't playing with cars we are out working with or showing our miniature donkeys. You can see more about that part of our lives at

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