The LeBlanc Special
The LeBlanc Special was a Twin-Hemi streamliner designed by Gene LeBlanc of Cupertino, California. Construction photos of the car were published in Popular Mechanics August 1953, in a story titled "Speedsters on the Salt Flats." It ran a fiberglass body, constructed by Industrial Plastics Service in Oakland, Calfiofrnia. Two souped up Chrysler V8 engines produced a total of 1000 horsepowers. Each engine powered its own axle, providing a four-wheel drive. New for the 1953 season was Firsetone tires, made to go 300 miles per hour. It was an offshoot of a jet-fighter tire, but with a different tread. The LeBlanc Special was designed with a nose down to avoid from becoming airborne. Micro switches on the axles detected any lightening, and it warned the driver by a red light on the dash and a buzzer in the helmet.
In November of 1953 Industrial Plastics Service ran an ad in Hop Up Magazine. The LeBlanc Special appeared in the ad, and the 24'6" fiberglass streamliner was promoted as the fastest car in America.
The streamliner was Gene's attempt to set a land speed record at Bonneville in 1953, 1954 and 1955. He was given the Harvey Haller Memorial Award for sportsmanship at Bonneville in 1954. As reported in Hot Rod Magazine November 1954, "Gene's determination and contagious good humor, in spite of many difficulties, made this choice a "natural.""
Magazine Features and Appearances
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