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470 MPH! Speed Demon is the fastest piston-driven car on Earth

On August 14, 2020, the southern-California-based Speed Demon team set a new record for piston-engine vehicles at the Bonneville Salt Flats.
19 Aug 2020
David Kennedy
Speed Demon 470 mph 2020 Bonneville Marc Gewertz

The Speed Demon streamliner achieved a flying mile speed of 470.733 mph with an exit speed of 481.576 mph. When averaged with its 469.298-mph qualifying run from the day before, the new record stands at 470.016 mph.

Already a legend in the landspeed racing world, the Speed Demon is driven by George Poteet, and powered by a Ken Duttweiler-built, 3,156-hp, 557-cid, twin-turbo big-block Chevy. While Poteet’s name may not be well known to drag racers, Duttweiler’s is famously connected to his turbocharged Super Stock Buick Grand National.

The Speed Demon will receive the Hot Rod Magazine Top Time Trophy for the ninth time, a trophy that has been awarded every year Bonneville has run since 1949. When the trophy is not with Speed Demon, it’s on display at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsport Museum in Pomona, Calif.