Mike and Sandy Haslam purchased the Studebaker from Warren Bullis in 1974, trading two welding tanks. for it. Taking a little over a year to get the car race ready it made its debut at the July 1976 El Mirrage Dry Lake meet. Running in D/Altered class with a small block Chevy on gasoline it ran a respectable 146.10 mph on their third run. Doug "Cookie" Cook famous driver and engine builder of the Stone, Woods & Cook A/Gas Supercharged 1941 Swindlers A & B Willy's happened to stop by the pits and gave Mike a hand with the tuning of the small block Chevy.
At the Bonneville Salt Flats for the August 1976 Speed Week found Monday rained out so Sandy made her first run on Tuesday clocking a 157.06 mph. The second run developed a mechanical problem that forced a turn out (shifter linkage broke). The crew made repairs and was able to make a final run for the day of 157.61 mph. Wednesday Sandy managed to improve on her previous times, tripping the clocks at 159.52 mph. On Thursday making their first run they blew the engine, as luck would have it Ed Carter a good friend of the Haslam's had a spare engine and the crew spent the rest of the day swapping the engines and getting the car ready for Friday's runs. Ed's engine put the car in C/Altered and the Stude ran a 154.90 mph it's last run on Friday
The car continued to run in C/Altered the rest of the 1976 racing season and most of the 1977 racing season with the 331 ci Chevy engine,changing to a smaller E (184 ci to 260.99 ci) engine for the November 1977 El Mirage Dry Lakes meet. The 331 ci engine was put back in for the 1978 season and ran at the May and July El Mirage meets and the USFRA ( United Salt Flats Racers Assoc.) meet also in July. The car turned in a repectable 160 mph run but a broken axle kept them from running any further at the event. For the August 1978 Speed Week event a D engine (300 ci) was put in the Studebaker and switched to fuel putting the car in D/ Fuel Altered class running on Alcohol. The Studebaker made a qualifying pass at 183.76 on Thursday and record attempt run on Friday. A broken distributor drive gear kept them from making a record breaking pass.
The Studebaker now the California Girl No.2702 with a new paint job for the 1979 season with the crew at the 1979 Bonneville Speed Week. L to R are (the late) Pete Finigan, Mike Haslam, Sandy Haslam, Robin,Patty and Bonnie Haslam. Ed Carter on the right helped wrench and supplied some of the engines used. The California Girl now running D/ Fuel Coupe class with the 300 ci engine running on Alcohol would set the class record on Tuesday with a two way average of 188.024 mph. After spending the next day in impound they were back at it on Thursday making a qualifying run again against their own record and again the car found itself back in impound having qualified on their own record. Friday they were ready to make record runs, with a down course run of 199.236 mph it was in the bag but the engine leaned out on the return run causing the run to be aborted. The record they set on Tuesday still stood making the 1979 Bonneville Speed Week a high water mark for the team.
This photo was taken after the chute was pulled at the end of a run at El Mirage circa 1979. The Studebaker was retired after the Bonneville Speed Week in 1980 where it had run a best time of 192.8 mph with a 354 ci Chrysler Hemi. The car was sold to Tom & Marge Price " The Wild Bunch " racing team in 1983. To see Part 2 (Click here)