July 1941 to September 2018
Ed Shadle at 2016 Alvord Test Session
Photo used with permission. Copyright © 2016 Pork Pie
Born in July of 1941, Edward J. Shadle passed away in September 2018 after a long bout with cancer. His dream to break the world land speed record continued to the very end, approving plans for the 2018 test session. Ed had a top speed of 515 mph in the North American Eagle at the Alvord Desert. Only seven other people in all of mankind have gone this fast. The Team is committed to keep the dream alive and honor Ed’s legacy. Ed passed away on a Friday. Two days later the team met at the Alvord Desert to place a decal on the car honoring Ed “Fast Eddie” Shadle.
Steve Wallace and Chris Greene apply the Eric Wittler decal
Ed’s dirty 200 mph club hat rode along on Jessi’s 463.227 mph run
In memory of Ed Shadle “Fast Eddie” 1941-2018
He came into the world in a small two room house in Brewster, Washington, delivered by a country doctor named Doc Stout. It was Dr Stout that gave Ed’s nickname of Sonny, which he is known by his siblings and relatives. Ed’s parents and older sister had recently moved from the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota to Washington to find work. They had settled in the North central part of the State of Washington. Most of Ed’s formative years were in the very small community of Mallott, with a population of about 40 residents. Ed and his sister attended Saint Mary’s Indian Mission School near Omak, as was not unusual as they are both part Ojibwa Indian on their mother’s side. As Ed moved into the early teens they had moved to the Seattle area then on to Puyallup where Ed spent his teenage years and graduated from Sumner High School.
While growing up, Ed became fascinated with race cars. His father and uncles, upon returning from their military duty of WWII, got into the hobby of racing jalopies, later to be identified as stock cars. They ran on the dirt tracks of Eastern Washington and Ed spent much time in the pits and sometimes rode in the stock car while being towed to and from the races.
As a teenager of the 50’s, hotrods, airplanes, drag racing and rock and roll music was the best way to grow up and enjoy life. After graduation from high school, Ed couldn’t afford to go to college so he enlisted into the U.S. Air Force. In high school Ed was very studious and took all the hardest classes from Physics to Chemistry and even Latin. He and his high school buddy, Ross, were also into the ham radio gig and learned a great deal about electronics. That led to the Air Force school for communications and relay center equipment repair, with cryptographic repair added on. Ed’s real passion was to go into aviation cadets training and become a fighter pilot; but with no college credits he was not accepted and that program was soon dissolved. After 4 years, without the option to fly fighters, Ed finished his military obligation and returned to civilian life.
In the summer of 1965, Ed applied for a job at the IBM Corporation. The training in the Air Force paid off and he began his 31-year career with Big Blue. He filled many positions within IBM, including Field Engineering, Systems Management, Field Manager and Account Representative. After retirement he served three years as Senior Systems Analyst at the Frank Russell Company and then decided to form his own company, E&D Services, Inc. where he provided services to large data centers.
Ed had spent many years thinking about and competing in speed events from motorcycle racing, equestrian speed events, drag racing and even learned to fly. In 1989 Ed and his son Cameron went to the Bonneville Salt Flats as part of a new land speed team. That led to becoming crew chief for a well-known California racer. In 1991, Ed built his first car for competing at the annual Bonneville Speed Week. Since that time he has competed in three different vehicles and gained entry into the prestigious 200 MPH club by setting a record of 276.786 MPH in a C/GL (C Gas Lakester) Bonneville car.
Once Ed was fully entrenched into retirement, the idea of breaking the absolute land speed record developed into a real plan when he joined forces with Keith Zanghi to purchase a surplus F-104 Starfighter aircraft fuselage and develop it into a viable project. The British had held the absolute record since 1983 and reset the record again in 1997. Teaming up with Steve Green, Robin Sipe, Jon Higley and several others along the way, Ed used his technical skills to develop not only a viable land speed project but a highly skilled and dedicated team to match. Years of hard work and dedication has paid off with many successful test runs and the goal now in sight.