A powertrain engineer from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [NYSE:FCAU] will head to the Bonneville Salt Flats in a few months in an attempt to break yet another land speed record.

Ken Hardman's goal isn't just to break the existing top speed record for a gasoline engine streamliner up to 3.0 liters, it is to set the bar significantly higher. 

Even if he fails, Hardman will still be in the record books: He holds the current record for the class at 291 mph. His goal this time around is to top 400 mph, which would make him one of just a mere handful of people to have traveled in a motor vehicle at that speed.

Engine borrowed from a Dodge Neon

Hardman's 25-foot-long streamliner is sponsored by FCA's Dodge division, which should not come as much of a surprise since its engine was actually plucked, way back when, from a Dodge Neon. 

The record-breaking car may use a 2.1-liter 4-cylinder engine as its base, but the powertrain has been beefed up significantly with a turbocharger and a supercharger for true two-stage boosting. The turbocharger-supercharger system teams with two ice-water charge coolers to shove dense air into the intake for maximum power. As you might imagine, the vehicle uses a tremendous amount of fuel.

When he is not working on his streamliner, Hardman works in powertrain development at FCA. The automaker says he has worked on just about every road-going engine the company currently offers.

It's good to know that there are engineers with oil in their veins at FCA.


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