Before carbon fiber, modern safety gear, and multi-billion dollar race teams, brilliant men and dangerously fast cars blazed trails across empty lake beds and into history in the pursuit of speed. This photo gallery shows one day in that chase in 1948--in vivid color.

Packed with cars from motorsports legends like Phil Remington, engineer for the Shelby Cobras and Ford GT Mk IIs that took the Le Mans crown from Ferrari, and one of the driving forces at All American Racing, this collection of cars and drivers from an SCTA speed run day in 1948 trace the early lineage of technology and construction that would eventually see cars breaking the sound barrier.

Full-color photos of 62-year-old speed demons are rare enough, so enjoy the gallery, published by the SCTA courtesy of Jill Durkee-Bugoyne, and be sure to hit the Southern California Timing Association site for even more history, plus details on what they're doing now.

[SCTA via Just A Car Guy]