The FlatFire Streamliner is the final racecar configuration of an almost ten-year land speed record quest by Californian Ron Main to go faster than 300 mph in a vehicle powered by a flathead (side valve) Ford V-8 engine. With this car and the engine displayed beside it, Main set an XF/BFS record of 302.674 mph at Bonneville in August of 2003. That record stands today.
As told in an October 2008 issue of Hot Rod, (Main) claims it was Gray Baskerville who really set the hook in him for building a streamliner. “Gray came up to me once when I was at Bonneville with my ’32 and said, ‘You’ve got one of the wildest flatheads ever created and you put it in this piece of s*** roadster!’” Of course, it was just good-natured ribbing from (Baskerville), but it stuck with Ron. It wasn’t long before he was looking around for help to build something a little more serious.
His first effort, a little record breaker known as FlatFire, started as an old Bob Meyer dragster chassis reincarnated as a lakester designed to run 200 mph under the expert guidance of A.J. Smith at Aerosmith Consulting & Engineering. The record Ron was shooting for on FlatFire’s maiden voyage was easily broken on its first two runs, along with a couple of flatheads. Par for the course, Ron says.
As the quest for speed climbed higher, a set of rear fenders was grafted on and the front wheels were moved inside the body in tandem, morphing the lakester into a streamliner. In that trim, Ron claimed the record and hit his goal of a 300-mph flathead with a 302.674-mph record.
After setting the “Fastest Flathead in the World” record and looking to go faster, Ron partnered with another Bonneville racer, George Poteet, to replace FlatFire’s wildly modified flathead with a turbocharged GM Ecotec four cylinder and renamed it EcoFire. Driven by Poteet, the EcoFire established an F/Blown Fuel Streamliner record of 325.934 mph, and at a private meet, set an FIA record of 326.117. With these records in hand, the FlatFire/EcoFire car was retired.