I'll be at the salt this week, but the Challenger II will not be with me. My team and I have been beating ourselves to death trying to finish, but the simple fact is that the streamliner is not done, and I'm unwilling to compromise on any aspect of a vehicle intended to go 450mph with me sitting in it. Doing it right takes precedence over getting it done, which is frustrating but necessary.
The good news is that we've most likely found a place where we can test within Orange County, Calif., which will save us quite a bit of time and a not insignificant amount of money. We're a couple months off, but the the location will allow us to perform some slow speed tests around 170mph, which is adequate for our aero calculations and will let us function test the new drive train without placing too much stress on it.
Work continues, of course, and we're really making progress on the challenging stuff. Lou is finishing off the front spindles, which will then proceed to heat treat and final machining. The side bells that are bolted to the rear end are now finished. They're fabricated from 17 individual pieces of hand formed 4130 chromoly, and were welded with high quality heat treatable rod. The welds took over 3.5 hours per side, but I was really pleased with the results. We magna fluxed all of the parts before sending them off for heat treatment, and they ended up perfect.
SK Specialties is just finishing the final machining on the front steering, which was far and away the most difficult modification we made to the streamliner. The front axle, inner and outer u-joints, driver plates and associated parts are all made out of wicked 300M alloy and will be out of heat treat by the time I return from Bonneville. They'll join the transmission shafts (which are being triple-splined) and drive hubs on the way to final grind.
Overall, I'm pleased with our progress and the quality of work we are doing. We're still raising money via Kickstarter, so if you're interested, pleased head to thompsonlsr.com <http://thompsonlsr.com> and click on the link. See you on the salt!