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This is the famed Pierson Coupe which I acquired in 1980. We ran this car from Speedweek 1980 through the 1991 Season, setting several records at the Dry Lakes and Bonneville. 
Tom Thumb Special VI, D/Fuel Competition Coupe - Engine, 304 cu. in. Chevrolet. Set Bonneville D/FCC Record @ 221.898 MPH 1990 & D/GCC Record @ 206.049 MPH 8/91. Best Speed 227 MPH 1991.
This car carried Tom into two 200 MPH Clubs, the El Mirage "Dirty 2" Club 202.685 MPH (11/89) and Bonneville 200 MPH Club
The Pierson Coupe as it was originally painted and as it looks today. The new owner of the Pierson Coupe is Bruce Meyer of Beverley Hills, CA. He has a magnificent collection of cars which include a number of race cars of various venues, including the Black, Greer & Purdohme Dragster and the Agajanian number "98" Indy roadster.. He purchased the coupe and had it restored by Pete Chaporis. The car was completed and unveiled in November 1992. It can be seen at the Petersen Hot Rod Museum when it is not on the road. The Pierson Coupe is one of his most prized possessions.
Tom Thumb Spec. VII - Engine 302 cu. in. Chevrolet Runs both Gas (D/GCC) & Fuel (D/FCC) Competition Coupe Classes - 1992 to date Top Speed to date: 248 MPH Current D/Competition Coupe Records held: Bonneville - (Gasoline) 242.934 MPH ('03) & (Fuel) 244.260 MPH ('04). El Mirage Dry Lakes (Gasoline) 206.792 MPH ('02) & (Fuel) 211.085 MPH ('95). Muroc Dry Lakes (Fuel) 219.898 MPH ('97)

 Seven of the Bryant Family are Bonneville 200 MPH Club Members.
  The car was first raced @ Speedweek 08/92. Tom ran 204.155 MPH on 04/96 to become a Charter Member of the Muroc 200 MPH Club. (Tom's son) - Jeff also became a member of the Muroc 200 MPH Club with a 219.892 MPH pass on 4/97. He set the D/FCC Bonneville Record @ 234.393 MPH to become a Bonneville 200 MPH Club Member at the 10/99 World Finals and joined the El Mirage 200 MPH Club with a 206.792 MPH speed in 11/02. 
   Four more Bryants became Bonneville 200 MPH Club Members, Barry (son) 8/02 @ 228.843, Gary (Tom's Brother) 8/02 @ 229.737, Dan (son) 8/03 @ 242.934 MPH & Tim (Tom's grandson) 8/04 @ 243.172 . Ken Smith (Tom's nephew) joined the Bryants 10/04 @ 244.260 MPH.
Left to right: Tim, Dan, Barry, Jeff, Tom & Gary
Dan, Tom & Jeff in front of the 1948 Ford Coupe that was Tom's first entry at Speedweek 1958. It ran D/Gas coupe, powered by a 300cu. in. Desoto. Its best speed was 136 MPH 
Tom's first roadster, a '27 "T" ,with carburetored (six Stromberg "97's") 300 cu. in. Desoto power.
Roadster number two, built 1959, a 1930 Ford, with carburetored (six Stromberg "97's") 300 cu. in. Desoto powered. We ran at 1/4 mile, dry lakes and Bonneville.
1930 Ford Roadster with carburetored (six Stromberg "97's") 300 cu. in. Desoto power.@ Santa Maria Drags. Set record at 122 MPH and won top eliminator. (1960)
Third roadster, a 1929, built and first raced at Bonneville in 1964. Features a  VW front axle, Hilborn injected, 302 cu. in. Chevrolet for power. Set the D/Gas Roadster record at Bonneville in 1965 @ 176.774 MPH. The record was taken away in 1969. Our best speed with this car was 199.126 MPH at Bonneville in 1981.
Left to right: Tom's grand kids, Tim, Tammy & Tom (Dan's children) and nephews, Dustin, Daron & Damon (Gary's sons)...all Bryants!
   A picture taken just before our first run at the 1992 Speedweek Meet. We made our first run on Thursday, the 4th day of the scheduled meet. There had been water on the course until Wednesday and it took us another day to get the car ready to make its virgin pass. We had several bugs to work out , but did finish the week with a 190.587 MPH timing tag.

   The new car, family and crew.

In 1997,  we had handling problems...

The combination of an unbalanced car and less than desirable race course gave us a crashed car!

   Crash scene, World Finals 1997. Jeff driving, after spinning at the two previous meets, he wasn't so lucky at this one. He was OK, but the car suffered! Went around twice, over twice, back on its wheels and clocked 184 MPH through that mile.
The roll cage was pushed down two inches on the left and one inch on the right front corners. We replaced the upper bars and added a new vertical support at the front corners.
   Besides the reinforcing of the roll cage, we modified the skirting, creating some "ground effects" and added a spoiler to kill some of the lift, allowing more down force. It seems to have worked since to date we have had no more problems.
A view through the windshield. My office! Lots more instrumentation then can be monitored while on the course. A couple of red lights are there to get my attention, if we lose oil pressure.

Some of my favorite cars and "fast" friends!

   George Fields Competition Coupe. Has been upside down twice and set records over 300 MPH. A newer version has covered front wheels and a spoiler A very fast car!.
 The first year on the salt with the Pierson Coupe (1980), Two runs had been made with a top speed of 170+ MPH. It was to be the last run of the day and when the car was put in gear, it did not move. The u-joint flange had broken. A photographer wanted a picture with us, the car and the moon. This picture appeared in Sports Illustrated, the next year..
   This car was built by and driven by Al Teague with littler sponsorship.
   Al Teague's 432 MPH Streamliner, my favorite car & driver! Fastest single engine, two-wheel drive car. 
Marchese & Salter 1929 Ford roadster out of Lakewood CA. Sponsored by Kenz & Leslie of Denver CO. powered by a blown 304 Chevy.
   Gene, Betty & Tom Burkland built this beautiful  car. It has run in excess of 450 MPH and holds the AA/BFS Record @ 417.020 MPH
This car was built in the 80s, and set the B/BFCC Record @ 294.868 MPH, running just short of 300 MPH on a one way pass. The car is now owned and raced by Dan Webster of Carson City NV. (Ford flathead V-8)
"Pretty Woman" Owned and driven by Ron Pruett. has run over 250 MPH.
The Markley/Hoffman Streamliner. Besides this car, this crew has fielded a belly tank, and a couple of roadsters. (Usually Desoto powered) Their present car is a rear-engined modified roadster.
This truck was first run by R. B. Slagel. After he succumbed to cancer, one of the sponsors, Carl Heap, of Carl's 4WD, took over the helm. Carl worked the 19,000 lb. monster up to a speed of over 280 MPH. Carl has since also been taken by cancer. These men are two of my heroes!
Chuck Salmen's "Sum Fun" AA Class Roadster. A gorgeous car that runs in the 250+ MPH bracket 
   Roy Fjastad, of Full Bore Race Products, Modified Roadster. Has run various size engines. Speeds around 240 MPH. 
   Bruce Geisler's '53 Studebaker Coupe. One of the most raced cars to appear on the salt. Has set records in many classes using Chevrolet engines of various sizes and configurations. Has run over 250 MPH. The windshield is almost covered with inspection decals of the years it has competed.
   The famous "Goldenrod" Streamliner. It was built in the early 1950s. Still running at Bonneville in the 1980s. Presently resides in Colorado, I believe.
   Fred Larson, with the Larsen & Cummings Streamliner. Powered by a supercharged four-cylinder Chevrolet. Campaigned for many years, now retired and owned by Moon Equipment of Japan. Holds the F/BFS Record 307.977 MPH
   R. Rannberg's "Lightening Rod", Electric Streamliner. Set Record @ 213.084 MPH August 1987.v First electric car to set record over 200 MPH.
   Ferguson Racing's GMC powered Modified Roadster. Runs in the vintage classes and holds several records, some over 200 MPH.
   Nolan White, Tom & Mike Cook. This was taken in impound a just short time before Nolan's last run. Nolan was my very dear friend for many years.
   The "Pumpkin Seed" built by Bill Burke in the 1960s and restored by Jim Travis. The car set the record in XXF (Ford flathead V-8) Streamliner @ 233.343 MPH in 2003. Randy Travis was the driver. It is now owned by Mickey Thompson's son.
Rick, Nolan's son, and Nolan White standing behind the cockpit of their Streamliner on the morning of Nolan's crash. (see my tribute to Nolan by clicking here)
  Nolan was the first driver to exceed 400 MPH with a single auto-engine car. He had achieved his dream of setting the AA/BFS Record at  413.156 MPH. On his last run he was making the first leg of an attempt on the FIA record. He lost his parachutes and crashed, subsequently succumbing to the injures that he sustained.
Don Vesco with the  Team Vesco "Turbinator"  Streamliner. This car holds the record @ 427.832 MPH and has run 470 MPH one-way. It is the fastest wheel driven vehicle in the world.
Burkdoll Streamliner (retired). It ran a snowmobile engine for power. Ran in the 1980s. 
The "Redhead" Whipp, Hammon & McGrath entry was the first single engined car to exceed 300 MPH (1962) at Bonneville. Top speed 331.46 MPH (19'66). Now owned by Jim Lattin of Pomona California.- (picture courtesy of  Hammon's son, Don) Oldsmobile powered street roadster owned and driven by Ron Jolliffe, Hailey, Idaho. AA/STR Record set 2004 @ 240.155 MPH.
 After crashing the Lakester, Seth Hammond acquired this modified roadster. Still working the bugs out. Seth's Lakester set many records. I am sure this car will too.  Lee Gustafson builds and tunes the engines. Another Ron Benham built car. This Berkey Modified Sports is now owned and raced by Keith Turk who resides in Alabama. Keith is co-owner of the ECTA Maxton Mile Events. The car is run as thee "SoAl Special". Ted Wentz drove this car to a 252.623 MPH Record at  2005 Speedweek Meet.
Another car built by Gene Burkland. This car ran in the '60s and attained speeds around 250 MPH. It is presently owned by Ron & Gail Tesinsky, also of Montana ( The Big Sky Country) Alan Richards pushes his tiny experimental class streamliner to the starting line. The "Egg" powered by a 2.8 cu. in. Garelli two-stroke ran 56 MPH; fast for its size! 
The "Fly Rod" , a Plymouth "Super Bird" owned by Jim Fredricks. Jim entered the Bonneville 200 MPH Club in this car in the '80s. Ill heath led him to donate the car to Harrah's Museum. Jim ran in the 220 MPH range with this car.   This is Dave Ratliff's D/GR Roadster. Dave has been competing at Bonneville since the 1950s thru 2006. (He died of natural causes in early 2007) His Desoto powered roadster was not the fastest, but it was always there. He was our competitor from 1959 until 1981 when we switched to coupes. 
Tom & brother Gary posing with  their "Red Bonneville 200 MPH Club Hats". These hats are the much sought after trophies of the Bonneville scene. To date (2005), there are about 550 individuals in the world that have the honor of wearing these hats.

 Four famous streamliners of the past at the "World's Fastest Indian" movie set. Left to Right...Bill Burke's "Pumpkin Seed", Hammon, Whipp & McGrath's "Redhead", Mickey Thompson's "Challenger" & Dr. Ostich's "Flying Caduceus".
   The Pumpkin Seed and the Challenger were restored by Jim Travis, who presently races the Pumpkin Seed, which is owned by Mickey Thompson's son.


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Last Updated: 09/09/2010