A Toast to the Late Charlie Bigelow

Near the beautiful Columbia Crest winery in Washington State is a fairly flat, straight road that will take you back to the Tri-Cities. It is amazing that a production car from Shelby SuperCars (also located in the great state of Washington) would break both the official and unofficial world records for a production car on this stretch of road.

On September 13th, 2007, Charlie Bigelow drove the Shelby SuperCars Ultimate Aero Twin Turbo to an average top speed of 256.18 miles per hour verified by Guinness as a world’s record. Amazing speed and driving for anyone and absolutely spectacular if you are in your 70’s!

Charlie’s driving that day apparently broke the official world record for a production car held by Koenigsegg of 242mph and the unofficial record of 253mph held by Bugatti. This record held for almost three years until this last July when Bugatti set a new world record with an average top speed of 268 mph.

After setting the world record in 2007 in the Shelby Aero TT, Charlie came to visit our Kiwanis Club and make a presentation about his record-setting driving. It was an excellent program and Charlie was certainly entertaining.

A videotape was made of his presentation and you can view some highlights of this video by selecting the play button below or by clicking the YouTube link below the player.


Interview with the Late Charlie Bigelow – YouTube

I had the pleasure of joining Charlie for lunch a month or two after his presentation. He was one interesting guy with lots of stories. He made you feel like you were an old friend even if it was the first time you met him.

Charlie talked about the pursuit of speed in his life. He liked to drive things fast. He rode snowmobiles, jet skis, water skied (including barefoot water skiing) and drove race cars (a NASCAR Washington State Champion). His wife Shirley was quoted in our local newspaper as saying, “Nobody can slow him down.”

What an amazing story! It is inspiring to see some stay as active as Charlie, into his 70’s. Charlie was killed while flying experimental aircraft in August of 2008.  To take a great line from the movie “Second Hand Lions”, he went out with his boots on.

Here’s a toast to a great one! You are remembered Charlie!

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