In August 1977, Hollywood stuntwoman Kitty O’Neil raced the quarter-mile at El Mirage in her hydrogen peroxide-fueled rocket dragster. In 3.22 seconds, she reached 412 miles per hour, shattering the El Mirage land-speed record, which still stands today.
While Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats produce faster times due to the longer track and harder surface, El Mirage’s flat alkali playas are accessible to the general public, only a couple hours outside of Los Angeles in the western Mojave Desert. Car and motorcycle clubs meet often, and local enthusiasts come here to push their vehicles to the limit. The location is popular with campers and off-highway vehicle enthusiasts as well. Holiday weekends here can feel like a busy freeway at rush hour.
For Southern California photographers, the distance to El Mirage is hardly a concern. Corey utilized the location for a one-of-a-kind shoot for Aston Martin. “We had the car for a few days to shoot location shots in town and well out of town. We got to the flats at sunrise, and literally took it for a spin. We had so much fun. It was a dream. Believe it or not, I brought the car back totally clean and undamaged. Everyone was very happy.”