Everyone has a story to tell. What makes each story special is not simply the finale, but the journey that led to the ending. The North American Eagle has been long defined by one simple premise, to build a car that is capable of going supersonic, and break the World Land Speed Record of 763 MPH. To do that, the North American Eagle team took a scrapped jet fighter plane’s fuselage, one without wings, and added wheels, so that they could do something incredible. The majority of the writing that is often released about the project is rather technical in nature, relating directly to the car. One day, I had the realization that what made this project special wasn’t just the car. It was people. It was people that built something that took one’s breath away at the very sight of it. It was people that dreamed of the impossible, and turned it into a reality.
When this project began, it was nothing more than a couple of guys in a garage, scraping paint and shaping sheets of metal. Today, the car has become a marvel of engineering, and a testament to ingenuity. What was not so clear when everything started was the path that it would take. It was little more than an idea. That idea become the passion of two people, Ed Shadle and Keith Zanghi. They in turn have inspired countless people. As the idea blossomed into a reality and the car began to take shape, there were numerous occasions that should have brought the entire project to a halt. Instead, they chose to continue to believe, to see beyond to what their reality could become. It’s a story that in some ways defies logic, because no one could have ever predicted how it would turn out.
Over the past two months, I have been faced with the challenge of how to tell that story, a story of people on a journey to do something amazing. The result is From Speed to Sound, a six-part series, starting from the day that the project began, up until today. To do that, I turned to the Lenovo ThinkPad P50s to help me make that possible. Part of what was really important to me was building a story experience that was unique, and would not be forgotten. This new ThinkPad meant that I could stay on top of all of work on the road, especially with a battery that lasts all day. At the same time, I was still able to edit videos, write new content, and develop a beautiful new website.
Each chapter of the story is meant to show a different perspective, and to tell of both the triumphs and the setbacks on the road to setting a new World Land Speed Record. To do that, I went back to where the project started. It opens with Ed and Keith getting ready for their flight back to Washington state, feeling nothing but disappointment. A British team had just announced that their jet car, Thrust SSC, had made a major leap in speed, and set a new record. While I won’t spoil the rest of the opening chapter, you can certainly guess where it goes. The entire series is about the failures, the setbacks, the disappointment. It’s also a story of triumphs, of building a near impossible vehicle from the ground up, and a dream to do something more.
To bring this story together, I chose to build a website to host all of it. It allowed me a blank canvas to create an experience that one could interact with, and feel as though they were along for the ride. Using a series of beautiful imagery, it helps to create an experience that text could never do alone. Something especially important to me was the attention to detail, making sure that it looked great across all devices. With the included 3k screen, using the P50s means the story has been created to look great across all devices. Along with multiple galleries, videos are included to help show different points on the path to a new record.
This story is special to me because it has been a passion for so long. Not just for me though, for everyone involved. While this series will only be a small piece of everything that has ever happened, it does capture some of the most pivotal moments in the project’s history. With a new chapter each week, each part redefines what the project is, and gives you greater insight into the real road of setting a record. We can’t wait for you to read this, and we encourage you to share it with your friends and family. This is a tale of taking a dream, and writing a new reality. And that reality will soon set a new World Land Speed Record.