A pair of all-American Land Speed Record cars representing the past and present glory of man’s never-ending pursuit of speed are headed to the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHFA) at Daytona International Speedway.
Danny Thompson, son of the late Mickey Thompson (MSHFA Class of 1990), is delivering this week to the MSHFA both his father’s 1960s era Challenger I as well as his own world-record-setting Challenger II. Both cars will be on loan to the MSHFA and on display for a limited time starting this Monday.
To celebrate the arrival, Thompson will be the featured guest in an open-to-the-public presentation at the MSHFA focused on his family’s lifelong fascination with speed and the story behind Challenger II’s incredible world-record run into the history books at 448.757 mph last year on the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats (pictured at top).
Scheduled to be held in the Hall’s Petersen Theater, the presentation takes place this Monday, May 13 at 7 p.m. EDT. Admission is $10 in advance or at the doors of the MSHFA, a non-profit 501(c)(3) through the Motorsports Museum Foundation, that has been in operation since 1989.
Setting 295 records at Bonneville alone, Mickey Thompson held more speed and endurance records than any other man in the world. A diverse and multi-talented motorsports personality, as a driver Thompson won races and championships in everything from midgets to sports cars. He was also a mechanical innovator, designer and master promoter who founded SCORE International and stadium off-road racing through the Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group.
It was Thompson’s dream of becoming the fastest man alive, however, that drove him to design and build Challenger I in the garage of his California home. Its four supercharged Pontiac engines produced a combined 2,000 hp that was enough, in September of 1960 at Bonneville, for Thompson to go faster than anyone had before: 406.60 mph. The incredible triumph wasn’t an official record, though, because an engine problem prevented completion of a required return run.
Danny Thompson today owns both Challengers that are presently being driven from the West Coast to Daytona Beach and the MSHFA.