Law & Order

Three States Celebrate “Blue Flame Day” in Recognition of the 50-Year Anniversary of Bonneville Salt Flats Speed Record


By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

Blue Flame
Blue Flame driven by Gary Gabelich on the Salt Flats. Deseret News photograph © 2008 Utah State Historical Society
Blue FlameThe Blue Flame on display in 2007. Photo Credit: Troxx

On October 23, 1970, the Blue Flame rocket car became the world’s fastest vehicle when driver Gary Gabelich recorded the FIA-certified World Land Speed Records of 622.407mph (1001.667kph) for the flying mile and 630.388mph (1014.5111kph) for the flying kilometer. Fifty years later, the achievement was commemorated as the States of Utah, Wisconsin and Illinois celebrated “Blue Flame Day.”

The rocket car was designed in part by several professors and students at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. It was fabricated by motorsports enthusiasts at Reaction Dynamics in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and raced by the Blue Flame team at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

The Blue Flame was 37 ft. long and nearly 8 ft. high and wide, had an aluminum skin and weighed more than 6,500 lbs. The rocket engine produced 58,000 hp and 22,000 lbs. of thrust, burning a combination of hydrogen peroxide and liquefied natural gas pressurized by helium gas. To this day, the vehicle remains the fastest American hot rod and the fastest vehicle ever driven at Bonneville.

Congratulations to the Blue Flame team and their colleagues that helped design, construct and race this timeless vehicle.

Proclamation from Illinois State Senator Mattie Hunter.
Proclamation from Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers.
Proclamation from Utah Governor Gary Herbert.