Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Ultimate Hot Rod

It's not all that unusual for a couple of guys to buy some rusted out hunk of ex-automobile and nurse it back to health. Then again, Ed Shadle and Keith Zanghi are not your usual couple of guys:

Mr. Shadle, a retired IBM field engineer, is 67 now, and he is still racing. So a bit over 10 years ago, he and his good friend Keith Zanghi bought a junker in Maine, pounded out the dents, customized the exterior, dropped a big engine in it and painted it red.

Except this junker was a Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. The real thing. The single-engine Mach 2.2 interceptor that ruled the skies in the 1950s and 1960s. 'In a post-9/11 world we probably wouldn’t have been able to get one,' Mr. Shadle acknowledged. But in 1999 they drove this one away for $25,000.
Why buy a junked old supersonic jet fighter? To try and turn into a land speed record setting car, of course! Shadle and Zanghi's goal is to hit 800 miles per hour on wheels (the British team that has broken the sound barrier on land is aiming for 1000!).

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