But for all of this Jim is a dedicated hot rodder—a member of the exclusive 200 Miles Per Hour Club which had only 15 members when the trials began, and admitted three more by the time they were over. Furthermore, he is not—as most of his fellow citizens instantly conclude on seeing him—unusual at all in age, weight or temperament. Most of the 250 hot rodders who have been howling across Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats in the seventh annual national speed trials were over 30, and one driver admitted to 52. "People," says Jim Lindsley, "don't understand what hot rodding is all about.
"We're sportsmen and competitors. Hot rodders are all sorts: mechanics, service station operators, carpenters, doctors, magazine publishers. We spend a year and from $1,000 to $10,000 working on a car that suits our special fancy. We tinker. We put a piece of a Chrysler, a piece of a Mercury, a piece of a Ford and several pieces of junk together and somehow wind up with a hot rod. Sometimes we do things the car manufacturers say can't be done and they come around and ask us how we do it. We'd rather spend our vacations here on the salt flats than in Bermuda or fishing or playing golf, just because to us there's something about a car—something about an engine. We'd rather work a year, spend all our spare cash, travel 1,000, 2,000, even 3,000 miles to race against the clock for a minute and 35 seconds.
"I think that a fellow who does that must have something pretty important in mind. If a kid is a hot rodder let him go to it. That way he's got something in mind that he's going to do tomorrow. The result is his and his alone. No one can say this isn't a sport. We come up here to win but if our chief rival has a breakdown, hell, we'll give him the parts he needs, even help him with repairs. I can't say what hot rodding all adds up to, but it seems to me that when you get 250 men, all with different backgrounds and different financial status, who live in different parts of the country, yet are all alike in creating something that'll streak across these flats, you've got more than just a society for the preservation of a neighborhood nuisance."
At 81 I could have fun
At sports of yesterday,
If I could get an old coquette
With whom to play croquet!
—HARVEY L. CARTER