Salt kills cars. The Bonneville Salt Flats, though, have kept one Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing alive.
Bob Sirna bought his 300SL Gullwing 29 years ago after falling in love with the well-sculpted German coupe in college. And since 2001, he’s been taking his silver Gullwing to the Bonneville Salt Flats each year, hoping to break some speed records.
“I’ve spent the last seven years trying to make a Bonneville engine so I could go even faster,” Sirna proudly admits. People obsessed with the salt are said to have ‘salt fever’. Sirna says he’s one of them.
As you can see in the video below from Petrolicious, Sirna believes that cars are made to be driven. Accordingly, his motto is, “enjoy your toys.” I figure you’d have to feel that way if you had the guts to race a million-dollar car like the Mercedes 300SL Gullwing on the salt.
“You do more damage to these cars not using them than you can using them,” Sirna says. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know. But I have to solute Sirna for his willingness to find out.
Two years ago, I got to hit the salt flats in a specially built Suzuki Kizashi and I can absolutely identify with Sirna’s passion. Once you get out there and start making some real speed, nothing else in life seems to matter.
The salt turns the volume down on the rest of life. If I had the time and money, I’d be out there with Sirna and his Gullwing each year. I’d probably run a Volvo 242, though.
If you had the chance to run at speed trail at Bonneville, what would you drive? Tell us in the comments.