Target 550 News

January 22, 2014.  News from Rat:  The day has arrived! We're AT the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, Ca. We moved the liner in with very little trouble, although putting a 43 foot car (and a 53 foot trailer) into places designed for vehicles of much smaller dimensions.

Come see us if you can.  We are honored.

September 24, 2013.  News from Rat:  The Treit and Davenport streamliner will be running at World of Speed, (rained out) World Finals (rained out) and tentatively at Mike Cook's Shootout.

That one got rained out, too.  What a miserable salt season.  But just wait 'til next year!

September 7, 2013.  News from Freud:  We got rained out at World of Speed but if we actually have the weather reprieve that is expected, the Treit and Davenport streamliner will be running at Mike Cook's Shootout, September 12-16, 2013.

Testing of various systems and seat time will be available at this meet and there is nowhere else that we can accomplish this.  We hope to see you there.

August 27, 2013.  News from Freud:  The Treit and Davenport will be running at World of Speed and also at Mike Cook's Shootout.

This project has never been in a hurry up mode until the last few months.  With the car in Marlo's shop in Aurora, Oregon it is much more convenient for the crew to work on it.

The test runs at the Woodburn drag strip gave valuable information regarding drivability, engine starting procedure and how to handle the car in its carrier.  All of these items relate to being "user friendly."  It is not known how what changes may be needed to make record attempts but after the World of Speed event decisions can be made to raise the speed.  There will be a major learning curve in the first few runs.  As I said earlier sensible progress is the goal for these events.

If World of Speed goes realistically, Mike Cook's event can be the spring board for serious speed.

Marlo and Les are experienced racers.  They will be excited if everything goes letter perfect but they will also be prepared to face teething problems.

Excitement runs high in the Target 550 shop.  We will do all possible to post happenings and results from the two meets.

Please be patient as we report the progress. The team wants to go fast but speed will approached in a controlled manner.

June 24, 2012.  News from Freud: "I did more fotos of the 'liner today.  These will be used for next Friday's post.  I sat in the cockpit and had a straight on view of the dash and the windshield.  I am 5' 9" and weigh 174 pounds.  The car is on stands and for me to get into it we made a ladder with plastic boxes.  I stepped into the car from the 3rd box.  There was enough room to turn around to drop into the seat but my shoulders fit somewhat snug.

It is difficult to do fotos in that cockpit.  To eliminate reflections we shut off all the overhead lights.  Below the dash was very dark and when I used the strobe as a fill I had bad reflections from the engine turned dash board.  All's not lost.  I will reshoot it now that I have seen the images on the computer.

There is good news that Jim Hume announced.  He will have an OPEN HOUSE at the shop from July 2 thru July 7.  Opens at 10 AM and ends at 5 PM.  He is 5 1/2 miles East of I-5 Exit 236.  His address is 22334 Prairie Road, Sedro Woolley, WA.  98284
Exit 236 is Prairie Road.  The shop is on the right side of the road.  His mailbox is by the road and the number is on the box.


From Rat: Some "spottings."

A pair of vagrants await a hitchhike ride from Wendover to SLC to visit Terry Nish.

They caught a ride in a fertilizer truck and made it to Terry's shop.

Two men with speed on their minds and the equipment to make it happen.  (Marlo Treit & Terry Nish)

Marlo's trying to explain the odor of fertilizer.  Terry ain't buyin' it.

From Freud: Russ Armstrong's Aircraft.

Russ is the "dude that's painting the frame."

Click here or on the thumbnails for some photos of his aircraft.


From Marlo: Oil filters.

Some web site watchers have noticed that the oil system on the Dyno Mule is different than the race car.

This should address the question.
On our Dyno Mule engine, we used a wet sump pan and no filter before the oil pump other than a coarse filter on the pickup in the pan.  This is pretty standard design, but in the race car we use a dry sump pan with essentially four oil pumps: three on the suction side and one on the pressure side.  There are benefits to the dry sump system but for our dyno time, the fuel system was the issue not the oil system.  We addressed the oil system some years ago and have gone with a "tried and true" dry sump arrangement since the late 1980s.

A filter is used to avoid transferring damaged material from one part of the engine to the rest.  The oil system is the life blood of the engine.  Small particles of material can give an indication of a potential failure.  Paper or cartridge filters or screens do the same job.  The cartridges come in all sizes and shapes and do a wonderful job of picking up the parts that we don't want to go into the main oil passages.  In normal applications, this filter is downstream from the oil pump so whatever has come out of the return oil from the engine has already gone through the pump.  With a cartridge filter, you cut it apart and lay the filter fabric out in a clean pan and examine what is in the nooks and crannies.  This is a very good method of filtration.  But it's time consuming.  Our filter system has three sections: the first is in the pan on each one of the three suction pickup lines; the second is inline between the pan and the suction pumps.  There is a filter on all three lines to the suction pumps.  That way trash that could damage the pumps or the engine is filtered twice before it gets to the pressure pump.  After passing through the pressure pump, the oil is again filtered but through a finer screen and now directed to the oil galley.

We historically look at the last filter first.  Time is of the essence, so in a matter of about two minutes, we can take that filter apart and see if anything is in it.  If there is trash that we don't recognize, then we go to the suction in-line filters.  Since they come from three different areas in the pan, one can detect a problem area, or at least have a better idea as to what is creating the trash.  Again, time is of the essence and it takes another 3 to 5 minutes to look at all three suction filters.

There is never a time that the filters are not examined before and after a run.


From Rat: A story from a Granite Falls High School Student, Jasmine Bates:

A Short Story Inspired by the Life of Tim Wilson

There once was a young man named Timmy who liked boats and fish and cars. He didn't quite know why…those were just his hobbies. Being a young man not yet out of high school didn't stop Tim from living a vast and colorful life. Tim’s interest in cars led him to join the Granite Falls High School UrbanAutos Team. Timmy met many interesting people and learned many things, but mostly he worked on the UrbanAutos car, and Urban Concept car built for a fuel mileage competition for high schools and colleges called the Shell Eco-Marathon. When the UrbanAutos first participated their car was overweight and they were not able to compete, but the next year they gave the competition a run for their money. The team left with a new Americas record for Urban Concept Diesel, 186.5 mpg. But the Shell Eco-Marathon wasn't all the UrbanAutos did, after setting their record they traveled to the Salt Flats in Bonneville, Utah to test their car in different conditions at the annual World of Speed event. They didn't go as fast as the other cars (not even close) but it was a learning experience and they missed four days of school

---So far this story is factual, but soon it will become much less so.---

On the team’s last day on the Salt Flats it rained rather a lot and the Flats were suddenly transformed into a giant puddle. Tim, being the driver of the car, was not very happy. So what did Tim do? He pulled out his squirt gun and began to pump the water off the Salt. At first his friends laughed at him, Timmy always was a silly boy. But soon their snickers turned to cheers as Tim squirted the water clear over the mountains. A crowd began to gather, and soon other racers wielded their squirt guns and marched out onto the fast drying salt. The mob of squirt gunners grew so large it looked like it was raining backwards. Just as the sun began to rise over the Salt Timmy launched the last drops of water over the mountain. Now Timmy was no longer just a boy who liked boats and fish and cars, he was a legend, a hero to be remembered in racing circles for years to come.

Here's the real life Tim Wilson, race driver:

From Rat: Target 550 team members spotted at Salt Talks.

Glenn Freudenberger, Ray Therat, Marlo Treit and Dick Milne in front of Jon and Nancy Wennerberg's trailer, August 14, 2011.  Photo by Thomas "Pork Pie" Graf.

From Freud: Target 550 makes Poland!

A friend sent this image from the Polish version of Newsweek  I can't read it, but I can sure see the photo of the liner at the bottom of the page.  (I have a sneaking suspicion that the top line reads. "For the Record". RtR)

From Freud: Rufus (Official Press Vehicle) and the steering box.

I asked a friend, John O'Toole, for some help installing the steering box into the Target 500 Official Press Vehicle (on loan from Ray Therat) yesterday (06/20/11).  He came to my house and immediately got to work.

The idea was to install an "EZ Steer" steering box and steering column.  EZ Steer is sold by John Kovar of Ohio.

The starter had to be removed to get the box and column into position.  John did most of the work.

Voila!  It's installed.  Only one problem.  When the steering wheel was turned, the steering arm didn't.  At all.

Here's why.  The worm and sector are not even close and the steering arm cannot be turned to bring them into mesh.

Another option is being explored.  Rufus will get a new steering box soon.

From Freud: Granite Falls Open House

I went to Granite Falls HS, Granite Falls, WA. last Friday (06/03/11) for the end of the year open house.

The two cars that they have built, Iron Maiden and Philippe's Revenge, were on display along with art objects and pictures that other students had done.

Both cars are being readied for a trip to the Pac Car test track to gather data that will be compared to other tests.

The Urban Concept car will be tested at WOS and they will be interested in fuel mileage and not speed.

It's a marvelous program and their teacher, Michael Werner, deserves so much credit.

I'll try to give more info after the Pac Car testing.

From Rat: Results from the Shell Eco-Marathon

The Eco-Marathon is over and the results are in. Here's an slightly edited version of Michael Werner's summary:

The UrbanAutos won the Urban Concept car diesel category with a new Americas record of 186.5 MPG beating Penn State by more than 33 mpg. Once again it was the only 2-seat car.

The ShopGirls placed second in the prototype diesel category with 378 MPG and won the Safety Award.

World of Speed on the Bonneville Salt Flats in September is the next outing for the Urban car.

The article on the Eco-Marathon site isn't very clear, so here's a link to a thread on here:,

Photos by Michel Werner

From Rat: NPR article:  "Students Strive For Fuel Economy In Vehicle Contest."

The Shop Girls Eco-Marathon team is featured in an NPR article.  They are aiming to add over 100 MPG to the existing record.  Their "Target" is 678 MPG...seems like a familiar number.  Hmmm...adding over 100 Miles Per...something.  That sounds sorta familiar, too.

Check the article for more details and follow the Eco-Marathon updates here.

Photo by Jeff Brady/NPR

From Rat: An Everett Herald newspaper article:  "Granite Falls teams off to international contest."

Students from Granite High School (Granite Falls, WA), the "ShopGirls" and the "Urban Auto" teams and their instructor/mentor, Michael Werner are on their way to Houston to compete in the Shell Eco-Marathon.  The Shop Girls' goal is to achieve 678 MPG with the single-cylinder diesel-powered car that they designed and built themselves.  The Target 550 team wishes them the best of luck in the trials. 

Check the article for more details. Something the article is a little vague on is the fact that the Shop Girls are planning to run a car at World of Speed this on the Bonneville Salt Flats in September, 2011.

Photo by Dan Bates/Herald

From Rat: An Everett Herald newspaper article:  "Praise for Granite Falls' car-building ShopGirls."

The Target 550 team supports the efforts of the ShopGirls and the Urban Auto teams and their instructor/mentor, Michael Werner. Check 'em out.

From Rat: We're on Facebook!  Come check us out!  We have photos, a discussion forum and video is on the way. 

From Freud (photos) and Rat (web elf): Some photos of the BBQ held on 11/6.

Marlo Treit addresses the students, presenting information about the Target 550 project.

The young ladies of the team pose with last year's Eco/Urban car.

About 100ml of diesel fuel. That's 0.0264172052 gallons. The girls plan to achieve 678 MPG (running against an existing American record of 563 MPG.) That means they need be able to go almost 18 miles on that amount of fuel.

More photos and verbiage will be forthcoming in a full post on this site very soon.

Here's the Granite Falls High School Eco Car Teams website.  Check this out.  It's pretty kool.

From the Rat: LSR appreciation BBQ for Michael Werner's Eco/Urban class High School students, program advisory board member and some friends will be held at Jim Hume's shop on November 6, 2010. Mr. Werner will unveil their Urban Concept Alternative Fuel Car for World of Speed 2011 Project at that time.

I was able to get a "spy image" of the concept car from an insider "closely associated" with the Eco/Urban project:

More info to follow as it becomes available.

From the Rat: An Official Press Vehicle for the team.

There was a void in the team structure.  It occurred to us that we had no official press vehicle to accompany the liner to the salt. 

So the Rat and his fledgling race car, an 85 Monte Carlo, talked things over and decided that there was something that had spent entirely too long in the garage.  This full-height, full-fendered rat rod (what else would you expect a rat to drive?) had been sorta languishing there with some occasional progress being made, but it wasn't movin along quickly at all.  Matter of fact, it had been there (with a few trial runs here and there) since 2005.  Time for a change.

This rat is a 29 Model A pickup, lovingly named "Rufus."  It's a very long story and is told in the "build diary."


Some discussion went on, particularly about re-vitalizing the moss and lichen that were thriving on its iron oxide finish  It seemed that a good location for "finishing school" (sorta like a debutante...which Rufus will never be, but we can try) just might be the Pacific Northwest which, coincidentally, is where the streamliner is being built.  Small world. 

So Rufus will be guided in his "finishing school" by the Press Rep on the team, Doc Freud.  Then the Rat's alleged race car can get back into its "home" and if all the planets align and the moon is in the second house, it might make its debut (there's that word again) in the 130 Club at World of Speed, 2010.  When Rufus' finishing school is finished, Freud will attempt to further Rufus' training by terrorizing the roads around Seattle (mothers, hide your children) and preparing it for use as the Official Press Vehicle for the Target 550 team.  One last thing.  It was suggested that Rufus might be used as a "chase vehicle" for the liner.  When everyone could breathe again after laughing so hard at the image of a 4-banger Model A chasing a 500 mph liner, that notion was mercifully discarded.  So Press Vehicle he will be.  Stay tuned.  More will be reported as it happens.

04/02/2010 - Two Team Members' photos

Jason Hosking, Fabricator and Master Metal Shaper

Dave Jeffers, Master Machinist and Race Car Driver/Builder

One of our undercover agents has been able to get spy photos of two of the team members working with Jim Hume.

While identifying these two metal masters may have far-reaching effects involving the Witness Protection program, we've chosen to pull their covers so that viewers can put faces with names of the crew members.  Their work is valuable to this project far beyond measure.  We wish to thank them for their contributions to Target 550.

This link will take you to the Crew page.

03/22/2010 - From Marlo Treit

Subject: My personal best today; the KISS method

As the creator of the project Target 550 and an infected spectator, mechanic, motorcycle racer, auto competitor, pit lizard, salt visitor (even when there was no event), and a member of the ("why do we do this?") club, I would like to share some of the things that endear me to the salt flats and the town of Wendover.

When I first arrived, Wendover was a sleepy little town with two Casinos and two motels.  The total number of rooms could not have been 60.  So there was lots of camping, some lawns to sleep on, locals' garages to rent, chicken coops and any kind of roof that we could sleep under were all fair game.  The racers made the best of it and things progressed.  After all, this was the home of the long course land speed events.  The dry lakes did not have enough length for fast cars and the Europeans had already set World Records in our back yard.  Thanks to the efforts of SCTA/BNI we now have the advantage of long course high speed records. 

In the years that I have attended events at Wendover, very few of my traveling guests ever return.  You either get infected, or you don't.  Over time one gets to be a part of the family.  No one knows or cares what you do in the other world, just that your calendar has a black out week or weeks that are just WENDOVER.  Nothing else needs to be said.  I had to quit several jobs to use that week on my calendar.  There has never been another alternative once you have the disease.  There is NO fix except to attend.  Friendships made there are forever.  You get to meet children and grandchildren of the folks you met years ago.  Christmas letters and cards come from all over the country and they all mean only one thing.  We are family.  If you do not hear from someone, you call anyone who knows them and find out why.  You just do it.

In 1990 I met Paul Tibbetts in Wendover.  For those who don't know the name, he flew the Enola Gay and dropped the first atomic bomb.  He trained his 509th Composite group at the airfield in Wendover.  He was a mild mannered man who was still in his twenties when he hastened the end of WWII.  The year I met him, 1990, there was a reunion of the group and they unveiled the monument at the rest stop, across the street from the Peppermill Casino, that commemorated the mission and the group.  What a piece of history to attend.

Prior to that, I observed Mickey Thompson, Craig Breedlove, Art Arfons, Richard Noble, Bob Herda, Burt Munro, Don Vesco, Bob Higbee, the Burklands and Andy Green to name a few.  Not from a grandstand 150 feet away but side by side on the salt just as if they were your next door neighbor.  What a privilege we have as spectators.  NO fences, NO security guards, and very little government or corporate involvement.

Being a participant in the World Arena with a 50CC bike or a 5000HP auto is a privilege and an honor.  The challenge is exactly the same for each competitor.  It is just YOU, doing the best you can to satisfy yourself by achieving your personal best.  You have nothing to prove to anyone other than your self. 

With that I will attempt to address the issues that come to mind as I am given the privilege of constructing a new car in an attempt to do my own personal best in the near future.  Some of you have followed the construction and it has been a drawn out process, but a necessary process, to make complex things simple.  Ease of maintenance is a foremost issue when you are attempting to attack the world land speed record.  The one hour turn a round time limit remains a challenge.  So things need to be easy to use, as salt proof as possible and reusable many times.  This is not a one time rocket, but an automobile built for efficient operation at high speed with a minimum of drag and reliable power.  The parameters for the build process had to have those issues addressed every day.

Now this is how I see Bonneville:

The salt is:

Mecca, a money hole,
Home of the salt gods,
Long days, short nights,
Long lines, short tempers,
Marriage breaker.

Amenities include:

No watering hole since the Bell Tent left,
No media, limited spectators,
Poor diets, poor spectator sport (something might happen every two-three minutes )
Port a Potties that have a life of their own, (always pit upwind from them)
Motel rates that look like a suite at a New York Hilton, (if you're lucky and get a reservation).

Cars and salt:

Personal cars that become rust heaps,
Trailers that need more care than a new baby,
Tail lights and head lights that no longer work,
Rental car bills surcharged for OFF highway use,
The push truck starter is so contaminated with salt that it sizzles rather than cranking,
Emergency brake cables become one piece in just two trips (don't even try to use it),
All under vehicle repairs start with rolling out the cutting torch and any kind of rust dissolver that you have on the shelf.

Tools and other devices:

Tools that become just medieval clubs,
Tool boxes that you won't move because you know the bottom will fall out,
Floor jacks that become wedges,
Adjustable end wrenches that don't adjust and are used as hammers,
FED EX RED takes 3 day to deliver critical parts and they leave them at the wrong motel,
Padlocks are one trip items.
A cutting torch is the only key.
The pit bike chain turns to wire rope and the forks won't turn. Trash it.
Brakes work once and then lock up.
Cameras with stuck lenses and few moving parts.


Sun burns that last forever,
SPF30 sunscreen that just is not adequate,
A downpour that can put an inch of water on the salt in 10 minutes,
Tents that just disappear over the horizon driven by the nightly Wendover winds which can move the water several miles in an hour,
Magic seeing the moon rise and the sunset at the same time and then you realize that you have only had 2 hours of sleep.
Good shoes, made inflexible by the salt, go home in a sack because they're still new, but thongs survive.
Dogs with special booties can't lick their feet but their owners have no such protection and they still can't lick their feet.

External influences:

The black line is a thing of the past. The greenies won that one.
Sometimes salt pumping is part of the winter sport.  We contribute to the "Save the Salt" group who have made a stand that has helped heal a rapidly disappearing resource.  We thank them for their vigilance.  It is a thankless job when you have to battle big industries and the government, but thanks for the dedication.  Sometimes the most dedicated effort yields meager results.

On the salt there are only three times of day:
1. The alarm rings at O-Dark thirty and you stumble to the shower.
2. End of the road is open (earlier if you are in impound) and
3. Pit area secured for the night, wait in line for dinner.

I'll be back and I'll watch for you when I'm there.

Marlo Treit