I think we’ve all imagined what it would be like to drive totally flat-out with nothing in our way at all. No corners, no other cars, no traffic, no stop signs... just an endless expanse and pure speed. There’s only a couple places on this planet where that’s even possible, and chief among them are the Bonneville Salt Flats in northwestern Utah. For the fourth season premiere of Jason Drives, we went there to try it ourselves.
But this is Jason Drives, not The Grand Tour, or some petrostate millionaire teenager’s YouTube channel. That means we had to do it our way—the “slow car fast” way, and in something old, German and air-cooled to boot.
I’m thrilled to kick off the return of the only good video series on the internet with our most ambitious experiment to date: A run across the Salt Flats in a 1955 Volkswagen Beetle called “Once More,” a machine with a fascinating backstory even before it became a challenge racer. It’s been around the world three times. Now it does this.
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Jason went to the Salt Flats last fall as a guest of Volkswagen, which did a record 210 mph run in an extremely modified Jetta and brought along some classics from the vault.
What Jason found is that the classic air-cooled VW gearhead culture is very much still alive there, even if they drive some of the slowest cars you can find out that way—Beetles with just 36 horsepower and the like. It’s the lowest-powered class at the trials, and so naturally, they’re the folks Jason had to hang out with.
The only bummer here is that he didn’t get to do his own official speed run. That was canceled because of too much wind. Stupid wind! It thinks it’s so great these days because turbines are catching on more and more.
We hope you’ll enjoy the first episode of the new season of our show, and please come back every Wednesday over the next few weeks as we debut more. You can see them here, on YouTube, on Facebook and on Jason’s pirated Super Famicom Satellaview video feed that the Japanese government remains unable to shut down.
And if you ever get the chance, go out to the Salt Flats yourself. You won’t regret it.