Shirley Veine, 82, isn’t your average granny. She doesn’t drive a 1992 Oldsmobile Silhouette, nor does she believe old people should be cooped up in a nursing home watching repeats of the “The Price Is Right.” Instead, she enjoys the fast life — and she proved it last weekend by racing her 2000 C5 Chevrolet Corvette to 171 mph along a two-lane highway.
The feat was accomplished during the Sun Valley Road Rally near Ketchum, Idaho — an event that closes down Highway 75 and allows competitors to open up their machines. Last year was Veine’s first attempt, and she took her 'Vette to an impressive 166 mph. But this year, she wanted even more:
“We put headers and a larger air intake valve on it,” she said during a local radio interview the week prior to the race. “They put it on the dyno last Thursday and she got up to 181.”
Veine knew, however, that cresting 180 mph would likely be impossible; at 5,000 feet of altitude, the car would lose horsepower, and the wind and weather can affect things dramatically. Her goal instead was to land somewhere between 170 and 175 mph.
Having grown up in Huntingdon Beach, Calif. during the 1960s, car culture quickly engrossed the now resident of Boise, Idaho. She had learned to drive in a 1949 Olds 98, and soon after realized she had a passion for four-wheeled things that moved swiftly.
Today Veine spends as much time as she can with her children, along with their three kids, and her one great grandchild. The family are supportive of her passion for power, even creating a Facebook page “GoGrannyGo Corvette.”
Her run of 171 mph (faster than a Tesla Model S P85D in “Insane” mode, by the way, which managed 157.9 mph) met her goals, but a strong headwind curtailed any hope of cresting 175 mph.
For her efforts, Veine is amassing quite the local following — even more so than the rally’s overall winner, the 235.7 mph Bugatti Veyron known as “Hellbug.” Come next August, Veine will almost certainly be back at Sun Valley in her yellow ‘Vette (automatic, in case you wondered: “It’s easier on my hips,” she says), in search of even more speed. More than anything, though, she plans to continue doing what she loves — proving that even age can’t stop this granny.
Photo: "GoGrannyGo Corvette," via Facebook