SEMA News - August 2009
By Drew Hardin
Courtesy Source Interlink Media Archives
The big man in the Milodon T-shirt is none other than Don Alderson, Milodon’s cofounder (and the “don” in Milodon). Though this archive find came with no information, the location is obviously Bonneville, and the man in the Autolite shirt and what looks to be a ’66 or ’67 GTO in the distance leads us to believe that the shot was taken in 1967. That year, Autolite asked Alderson to build a land-speed-racing Ford 427 SOHC engine for the Herda-Knapp-Milodon streamliner as a tribute to Henry Ford’s speed records set 40 years before on Daytona Beach. The ’liner was already a proven record-setter, and the 357-mph mark it posted with the Cammer on board would stand for nearly 30 years.
Though Milodon was one of SEMA’s original founding companies, Alderson, with his friend Milo Franklin, started the business in 1957 as a maker of aircraft and missile components. Alderson was an active racer on the salt, the dry lakes and at the drags, and he used the Milodon shop to build components for his own race cars. Fellow racers learned about, and asked for, Alderson’s custom-made speed equipment, and the volume of racing parts coming out of the Milodon facility soon transformed its focus from aero to automotive.