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Chasing 300...


Chronicling the resurrection of John Baechtel's 200+ MPH landspeed record-breaking Pontiac Firebird and continuing his lifelong passion for speed. When John was still with us we set goals for the build. Since the car already went 220, let's go for 300 plus! We need over 2,000 HP output to go that fast. Follow along as we bring this phoenix back to life and attempt 300 MPH at the Texas Mile!

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About JB

AN icon & AN INSPIRATION - 40 years of high performance hot rod expertise

John Baechtel dumped his university studies in geology to roar full throttle into a four-decade high-performance career that mixed hot rodding with professionalism and rose to Executive Editor at Hot Rod after working as a staff editor at Car Craft.

By then, he was well known simply as “JB” — with a reputation for quietly, but deliberately jumping in to help whenever he perceived a need. JB gracefully, humbly supervised and built an endless stream of magazine project cars, test engines and product evaluations while also authoring numerous books and special editions on performance engines and race car construction together with more than 1,300 performance magazine articles.

During the 1980s he served as a performance consultant to Pontiac Motorsports when their IMSA GTP-Lights cars took the checkered flag in the prestigious Daytona 24-hour race. This prompted him to establish his own separate publishing company producing manuals and performance literature for Pontiac’s racing effort.

Baechtel set a national and FIA international speed record at Bonneville in 1990 that earned a lifetime membership in the Bonneville 200 MPH Club. He also piloted the Car Craft Cobra 200 Mustang project car through the 200-mph barrier to mark the first-ever excursion of a production-based Mustang over 200 MPH.

By 1993, he founded Westech Performance Dyno Test Facility in Mira Loma, CA that was an instant hit with the performance publishing industry and many aftermarket speed parts manufacturers. JB was already held in high regard, but this venture also attracted OEMs seeking specialty, independent engine dyno testing services.

In 2005, the need for more speed launched him into the driving force behind the restoration of the legendary Summers Brothers Goldenrod Streamliner 400MPH+ land speed record holder. After Goldenrod was finally installed in The Henry Ford Museum, JB dedicated his time to building Landspeed Media Group, his publishing firm through which he published Goldenrod: The Resurrection of America’s Speed King, and later, Speed Demon – The World’s Fastest Piston-Powered Car in 2022, shortly before his death.

The Original Build

Blast from the past