Gary Gabelich, In 1969 he set a drag-boat record of 200.44 miles per hour. (born Aug. 29, 1940, Long Beach, Calif., U.S.—died Jan. 26, 1984, San Pedro, Calif.), American automobile-racing driver who set a world one-mile land-speed record of 622.407 miles per hour (1,001.67 km/h) on Oct. 23, 1970.
Gabelich began racing hot-rod cars while he was in high school. In the late 1950s he competed as a drag racer of both automobiles and boats. In 1969 he set a drag-boat record of 200.44 miles per hour (322.38 km/h). He achieved his 1970 one-mile land-speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats (Utah) in the Blue Flame, a rocket-powered, bullet-shaped car. This record was unofficially broken by Stan Barrett in 1979 and was officially surpassed by Richard Noble in 1983.
He was a Croatian-American race car driver who set the land speed record with his rocket-powered vehicle “Blue Flame” on October 23, 1970, achieving an average speed of 622.287 mph (1,001.474 km/h). Only 13,000 lbs. s.t. was used during this attempt, and a peak speed of 650 mph (1,050 km/h) was momentarily attained (record speed was 622.407 mph (1,001.667 km/h) on a dry lake bed at Bonneville Salt Flats in Wendover, Utah. This record was the first over 1,000 km/h (621 mph) and remained unbeaten until 1983, when Richard Noble broke it driving Thrust 2.
Gabelich was seriously injured in the crash of an experimental 4 wheel drive Funny Car. Gabelich died in January 1984 in a motorcycle crash.
Gary was a delivery driver in his younger days for Vermillion’s Drug store driving a split window 1960 era VW kombi delivery van. He lived at that time in Bixby Knolls area of Long Beach, CA. with his parents.
Gary and his family appeared on the Family Feud with Richard Dawson, where he presented the key to the city of Long Beach, Ca. to Dawson.
(See video of the Blue Flame by clicking TV Channel)
John Speed, Staff -Writer
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