Thompson's life in the fast lane provides ample material for the filmmakers. From the drag strips, to desert racing to land speed record challenges, to car building, designing and race promotion Thompson earned his place as a certified automotive icon.
He started calling himself the Fastest American on Wheels in 1958 after setting a record of 194 miles per hour. His goal was to break the world record of 394.2 miles per hour set in 1947. He began to build a world land speed record car -- the Challenger 1.
Thompson took his new car out to the Bonneville Salt Flats on October 6, 1959 and piloted it to a World Speed Record of 363.48 miles per hour. He also set a world speed record in A/BFS Class that remained unbeaten until1990 when Al Teague broke it at 389.372 miles per hour in his streamliner.
In 1960, Thompson returned to the Bonneville Salt Flats with a modified Challenger 1 for another record attempt. Its four 410 cubic-inch engines secured his title when he set a new American record at 330.51 miles per hour. He bested the world speed with a run at 407 miles per hour (which was faster than any man had drive a car before) but crashed before he could make a second run and thus secure the official record.
The Challenger 1 had its last record run two year later on July 24, 1962. The poor conditions of the salt flats halted the first attempt because he couldnt get any traction as the car bounced on the salt bed. He found a smoother part of the Flats for another run and turned in a speed of 357 mph. But he announced that the Challengers days on the Salt Flats were over.
Experimental Corvette -- SS
General Motors recruited engineer and race car driver, Zora Arkus Duntov,
to help them inject some performance into their brands.
Duntov wanted to make the Corvette competitive with sports cars from Europe
like Ferrari and Maserati. To gain respect it needed to win on the track.
He organized a team to build the SS or "Experimental Corvette" and took it
Hemi Under Glass Last Ride
After 39 years at the wheel of one of the most famous and unusual cars in
drag racing, the Hemi Under Glass, Bob Riggle decided to hang it up.
We were there to capture the last runs of this iconic car and the driver
who thrilled crowds at drag strips all over the country.
Million Dollar Ferraris
Ferrari is the most fabled car maker in the world. It's one of the most
iconic brands and while expensive new the most expensive Ferraris are those
cars that have won races or earned a following because of their design or
rarity. Some Ferraris can demand over one million dollars at auction or if
they're sold privately.
GMs Parade of Progress -- Futurliners
Twelve Futurliners, along with 32 support vehicles, toured the country from
coast to coast in the 1940s and 50s taking the message of a wonderful
technological future to the hinterlands. Each Futurliner in this Parade of
Progress displayed modern advances in science, and technology such as jet
engines, stereophonic sound, microwave ovens, television, and many other
modern marvels. WWII halted the Parade but it resumed after the War.
Ironically, the audiences declined because of the competition from one of
its featured displays -- television. The Parade ended permanently in 1956.
Bonneville: The Great American Playground - The Downshift Episode 13
On this episode of The Downshift, we meet the original speed freaks! The
Bonneville Salt flats in Utah are the veritable Valhalla of land speed
racing. The world's fastest wheels have been competing here since the early
1900s, from Sir Malcolm Campbell's Blue Bird to today's fastest jet-powered
streamliners. What started as just a sport has evolved into a vibrant
culture anchored in history and a shared love for living life at the
The Downshift appears every Tuesday on the new Motor Trend channel.
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Thrust SSC -over the sound barrier !
October 1997, UK managed to break the sound barrier on earth, using the
fantastic Thrust SSC vehicule. I made this video because there was too few
videos about this remarkable event on the web. (music credits: Spa 24 hours
- Stephen Baysted)
A compilation of historic wrecks...from 1931, to just the other day. You've
never seen anything like this before. Very rare footage. MUSIC by the HOT
To the men who paved the way in motorsports; to your bold attempts at
dodging fate: We salute you.
Supercar Hits 714mph
Powered by two Phantom II jet fighter engines, the Thrust SSC hits 714mph
(1149km/h) in the Black Rock Desert in 1997.
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a Spectacular 100mph train crash in this new playlist:
Napier-Railton Blue Bird vs Railton Special
Napier-Railton Blue Bird vs Railton Special - On 5 February 1931 Malcolm
Campbell driving his Napier-Railton Blue Bird pushed the land speed record
to 246 mph (396 km/h), to great popular acclaim. On his return to the UK he
was to be knighted as Sir Malcolm Campbell. A year later he returned and
pushed through to 251 mph (404 km/h). This record stood for another year,
until he himself broke it with his next car, the next Rolls-Royce-engined
1933 Blue Bird. On 15 September 1938, the Railton Special took the land
speed record from Thunderbolt at 353.30 mph (568.58 km/h), also being the
first to break the 350 mph (560 km/h) barrier. Eyston re-took the record
within 24 hours (357.50 mph / 575.34 km/h), holding it again until Cobb
took it a year later on 23 August 1939 at a speed of 369.70 mph (594.97
Napier-Railton Blue Bird vs Railton Special - Il 5 febbraio del1931 Malcolm
Campbell alla guida della sua Napier-Railton Blue Bird ha fissato il record
di velocità su terra a 246 mph (396 km / h), riscuotendo un grande
successo. Al suo ritorno in Gran Bretagna stava per essere nominato
cavaliere come Sir Malcolm Campbell. Un anno più tardi è tornato e ha
battuto il suo record arrivando a 251 mph (404 km / h). Questo record
rimase imbattuto per un altro anno, fino a quando lui stesso lo superò con
la sua Rolls-Royce, con motore 1.933 Blue Bird. Il 15 settembre 1938, lo
Special Railton ha il record di velocità su terra da Thunderbolt a 353,30
mph (568,58 chilometri all'ora), pur essendo il primo a rompere la barriera
di 350 mph (560 km / h). Eyston battè il record in sole 24 ore (357,50 mph
/ 575,34 kmh), che rimase invariato fino all'anno dopo, quando Cobb il 23
agosto 1939 raggiunse la velocità di 369,70 mph (594,97 kmh).
Speed Demon 426 mph Run - Cockpit View
The Speed Demon streamliner makes a 426 mph pass at Bonneville this week.
This video shows the cockpit view from just over driver George Poteet's
Danny Thompson's Mission: 420 MPH Land Speed Record
Danny Thompson attempts to break the 420 mph world land speed record . . .
with his father, Mickey Thompson's, Challenger II built in 1968. It's being
built up to modern specs and go 420+.
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