Mickey Thompson: Fastest Man on Wheels

Mickey Thompson roared out of the hot rodding world of Southern California to become the "Fastest Man on Wheels," when his Pontiac powered Challenger One broke the 400 mph mark at the Bonneville Salt Flats. This didn't become an official record because of difficulties he encountered on a second run. The speed authorities require a second run and take the average for the record books. This promotional film captures the drama of his attempt.

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Hot Rod Ingenuity in 1958 Pt. 2
Hot Rod Magazine's Robert Petersen commissioned a film to promote the ingenuity of Hot Rodders. Petersen was attempting to polish the image of Hot Rodders who were being depicted in the media as juvenile delinquents. He and Wally Parks, launched the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and convinced street racers to try their luck at the new drag strips. This also spawned a sport and allowed some to become professionals. MR QT

Mickey Thompson Breaks 400 MPH Speed Barrirer
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. Source: www.greatcarstv.com S003

Chrysler Airflow at Bonneville
Chrysler wanted to demonstrate to the public that its new car, the Airlfow, was fast and fuel efficient. They took it to the Bonneville Salt Flats for some test/publicity runs. Some say that despite their promotional efforts, the future arrived with a thud when Chrysler introduced its line of Airflow coupes and sedans in 1934. The streamlined car, a product of the science of aerodynamics, had long been predicted in works of science fiction but no manufacturer had, heretofore, been bold enough to realize that Buck Rogersesque vision. Chrysler's engineering triumvirate Carl Breer, Owen Skelton and Fred Zeder scientifically tackled the aerodynamic challenge and got Walter P. Chrysler to authorize design testing in a wind tunnel, overseen by no less an authority than Orville Wright. The result was more than just a slippery envelope of a body, a radical departure from virtually all that had gone before. The design of the '34 Chrysler (and DeSoto) Airflow took some getting used to and, sadly, the car buying public just didn't "get" the snubby deco look, a true "cab forward" design dictated by the wind. The look was underpinned by a new kind of construction - the body panels were mounted on a steel cage, not unlike Saturn's, which was structurally connected to the frame creating a single stress-bearing unit, the precursor to unit body construction. Airflow body and frames were wood-free, another departure from tradition. As it became apparent that the public wasn't as enthused as the engineers and the media -- Walter P. Chrysler shared the cover of Time Magazine with his Airflow -- the company scrambled to tone down the radical styling, losing the deco waterfall grill a/k/a "bull nose" by the second year and modifying design elements to hark back to more traditional, consumer-acceptable shapes. Owning an Airflow today is tantamount to having a piece of history to yourself. The significance of this design, even though it was a commercial disaster has reverberated through the decades and into another century. In just about every way, figurative and literal, Chrysler's Airflow was ahead of the curve and remains a true automotive icon for the ages. S068 For Licensing Contact: Global Image Works 65 Beacon Street Haworth, NJ 07641 p. (201) 384-7715 f. (201) 501-8971 email: information@globalimageworks.com

Bonneville's 200 MPH Club - Great Cars
Short video on 200 MPH Club at Bonneville Salt Flats. Twice a year, the deserted Bonneville Salt Flats are transformed into the Valhalla of speed where land speed racers battle it out to claim a record. There's no prize money just the glory of saying you beat the clock. These speed freaks bring everything from jet-powered monsters to old roadsters to see who can claim the bragging rights until next year. Our in car cameras, long lenses and roving crews capture the drama of the racers who've decided to shift their dreams into high gear. More at GreatCarsTV.com