Bonneville Wonders: 1961 Ford Galaxie Starliner

(first posted 11/14/2012)

Dr. Niedermeyer’s brief fling with a 1961 Ford Starliner was as amusing as it was confounding. How could one of the world’s leading authorities on electroencephalography be conned by his young son into buying for street use what was essentially a race car? Whatever the answer, I’m glad Paul was able to bamboozle his dad.

The 1961 Ford Starliner two-door hardtop was a clean design for the last year of the both the elegant Starliner roof and fins on full-size Fords. This particular ’61 Starliner is owned by George Poteet, a Mississippi entrepreneur with a collection of more than 120 cars. Poteet doesn’t like trailer queens or non-drivers–all the cars in his collection have keys in the ignition.

Poteet has a particular affinity for Bonneville, and he frequently shows up there with more than one car. His “Speed Demon” streamliner has run as fast as 436 mph (700 kph) on a 404 mph record. His “Blowfish”, a 1969 Plymouth Barracuda, has run 291 mph (468 kph). His Camel Toe Racing ’61 Ford doesn’t get much press, having run a mere 206 mph (330 kph) at a 228 mph (367 kph) record. My rule book is packed up for shipping to Utah, so I’m not sure what size engine class “C” is, but I believe it’s a 358 cu in (5.7 liter) Roush NASCAR motor.

Aside from a front air dam and a hood blister, the bodywork is stock. OK, the little gold orbs on the front fender gunsights aren’t there, but otherwise it’s stock.

Hey, why spend a ton of money creating Bonneville “what ifs” when guys like George Poteet might have already done so?


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