Words and photos via fastfourspecial.com
The story of the Montana Dodge Boys and their Fast Four Special began in earnest on August 14th, 2007. On that faithful day, near the end of Bonneville Speedweek, Peter "Pedro" Hendrickson, of Bozeman, Montana, was stricken with a serious case of salt fever.
As a Bonneville spectator for the previous four years and crew member for Earl 'EDGY' Edgerton and his 1932 Chrysler 'Bonneville Spitfire' coupe, he was already enthralled by the Bonneville experience, but at a bench racing session with Earl's teammates in the basement taco bar of the Wendover Nugget Casino, a gauntlet was laid. Pete (with the help of a few cold beers), proclaimed that he would build a car for speedweek 2008. When the laughter subsided, Earl insisted that building a race car in a year was "impossible". A $100 bet was then placed, hands were shaken, and a dream was hatched.
The following day, Pete was introduced to Bonneville record holders Shug and Irene of So What Speed Shop, who had just qualified for the V4F/BSTR (Vintage Four Flathead Blown Street Roadster) record in a Ford Model A roadster. from the outside, the class appeared to be an affordable, simple and accessible way to race on the salt. It was the beginning, to build a vintage four cylinder roadster and to set a land speed record on the historic Bonneville Salt Flats.
Later that evening, over a few more tacos, Earl's crew chief, Chris King, mentioned that he thought he had an old five main bearing Dodge four cylinder on a long-retired piece of farm equipment on his ranch. legend had it that is was used by a ranch hand nicknamed low gear Charlie, who never shifted out of first gear- sounded pretty tough.
On September 19th, 2007 a bunch of Montana gearheads converged on the King ranch to inspect the mysterious old Dodge four banger.
They were pleased with what they found ~ a complete 'ran when parked' engine with five main insert bearings, five large cam bearings, semi-pressurized oiling, large ports, and a stout-looking crank.
It looked like something that could contend with Ford banger engines that had dominated the V4F class at Bonneville for the last sixty years. Of course, everything would have to be developed from scratch, as You can't exactly order 1928 Dodge Brothers speed parts from a catalog.
Fortunately the Dodge Boys had some ringers. Pete had a friend named Tony Smith, an engine builder/gunsmith from Lewistown, Montana. A few days before, he had called Tony and asked if he wanted to come out to the King ranch and check things out. A mechanical genius with an interest in oddball projects, a passion for knowledge and research, and a competitive streak from years of biking, he knew Tony was probably the only person who could conquer this bizarre, one-off engine build. Not to mention have it ready in ten months.
Around the dinner table that night, over several bottles of red wine, nine Montana gearheads ranging in age from 17 to 82 gathered to discuss the feasibility of building a car to compete at the world famous Bonneville Salt Flats in only ten months time. It was decided that they would take the project to the next stage, study the rulebook, and search for a 1928-'38 Mopar roadster body.
None of these guys had ever built a race car, driven a car on the salt, knew the rules of the V4F class, nor hotrodded an 80-year old flathead four cylinder. All of them operated out of their one or two-car garages, with no fancy shop among them.
To complicate matters, it turned out that very few '28 Dodge roadsters were ever built, and the Fast Four engine they intended to use was only produced for eight months between the fall of '27 and the spring of '28.
To make a long story short, the Montana Dodge Boys Fast Four Special did indeed make it to the salt for Speedweek 2008.
The body, engine, and chassis, build independently in different garages across Montana, met each other for the first time only 10 days before the car headed to the salt. The engine was fired for the first time only three days prior. Amazingly, the Fast Four Special went 108.4 MPH on it's very first drive, easily qualifying to break the existing 98.6 MPH record!
...with TEN Bonneville and Two El Mirage Landspeed Records since, the rest is history...
In its current form, the 1928 Dodge Brothers 212" Flathead Four Cylinder runs Methanol with 10# of efficient boost provided by a Vortech V-5 F Supercharger. It utilizes an air-to-water charge cooler that is filled with ice for additional cooling. The engine features CP pistons, Carrillo rods, Molded crank, APR fasteners. The Montana Dodge Boys cast their own cylinder heads and fabricate their own intakes and headers.