The legend that Mickey Thompson created on the salt flats of Bonneville during his racing career will never be forgotten, nor is it likely to ever be equaled or surpassed. But if all goes to plan, Thompson’s son, Danny, will make certain that his late father’s legend lives on and his final mission at Bonneville becomes reality.
After setting a world speed record at Bonneville in 1959 and again 1960 at over 400 miles per hour, Thompson built the Challenger II to take the wheel-driven speed record to further heights. But weather issues and his sad and unfortunate death seemingly brought the Challenger II mission to a screeching halt. But today, more than 40 years after the elder Thompson first built the Challenger II, known as the Autolite Special, Danny is resurrecting the world record plans for the streamliner.
In this just-released video, Danny Thompson shares with us his goal of attacking the 409 MPH wheel-driven speed record and bringing the title that his father cherished so deeply and cemented his name in history back to the Thompson family. “This car that my dad built in 1968 is the same car that I’m now going to go back in 2012 and try to set the land speed record with,” says Thompson. “Forty three years later, we;re resurrecting it, brining it back up to modern day specifications, and going for the record.”
With a goal of exceeding 420 miles per hour, Challenger 2.5 will feature a pair of 500 cubic inch, nitro-burning powerplants, a chromoly and alloy frame, and specially designed tires straight from the manufacturer that bears the Thompson family patriarch’s legendary name: Mickey Thompson Wheels & Tires.