Pensioner breaks land speed record at 450mph in 50-year-old car

Exhilirating to watch

3y ago

Danny Thompson breaks the land speed record:

World record rained off

It was over half a century ago that one Mickey Thompson drove his insane Challenger I car at a speed of 406.6mph, making him the first American to pass 400mph and breaking John Cobb's land speed world record. The Challenger I was soon superceded by the Challenger II, which Thompson intended to race at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1968. Sadly, like a cricket match in Surrey, the event was cancelled due to rain. The Challenger II was never actually raced by Mickey. When he died in 1988, his son Danny put it into storage.

Like father, like son

28 years later, Danny and the Challenger II reappeared out of nowhere at the 2016 Bonneville Speed Week, setting a new record for an 'unblown fuel streamliner' of 406.7mph. For most people, that astonishing accomplishment in itself would have been more than enough. Danny, aged 67 at the time, had set a new world record using his father's old machine and thereby more than honoured his legacy.

If at first you succeed, just keep on succeeding

World speed records, though, are not broken by 'most people'. Rather than settling for the remarkable achievements he already had under his belt, Danny became convinced that the Challenger II could go even faster, and set about to prove it. That culminated in his announcement on 12 August via an incredibly understated Reddit post that he had set a new land speed record.

A good workman makes the best of his father's tools

The Challenger II is a positively insane machine that only the clinically unhinged would ever even consider stepping foot in. It is a 5,000 brake horsepower, Hemi-powered monster. It is four-wheel-drive and was very recently officially recognised as the fastest ever piston-engined, wheel-driven car.

You're never too old... To go fast enough to melt your face off

The previous record was set by George Poteet's Speed Demon and stood at 439mph. That figure was utterly demolished by Thompson, who achieved an average of 448.7mph. All that, in a car that is very nearly three times older than me. And from a driver whose age makes him eligible to claim a state pension in over eighty countries.

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'Danny Thompson heads out for his record-breaking run!' - Source: Instagram @turbohbrad

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Comments (11)

  • Can’t imagine how fast that really is. Reaction time must be godlike.

      3 years ago
  • It's amazing that a car that old can not only be competitive, but break records. The old man can drive too.

      3 years ago
  • hopefully he does not crash

      3 years ago
  • Let me ask a question... I can Imagine losing tracion in 1st gear, but in that "mega" third gear?? Has it something to do with car wanting to become airborne?

      3 years ago
    • At those kinds of speeds, you'd sincerely hope there's no flying involved

        3 years ago
  • What an extraordinary piece of news! Had me hooked all the way through. Thanks a lot mate for reposting it over to my tribe 😄

      3 years ago