Mickey Thompson's Record Beater sells for $813,000

By: Mark Higgins & Alex Affat

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Thompson s LSR car front side Thompson s LSR car front side
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Thompson s LSR car timeslip Thompson s LSR car timeslip
Thompson s LSR car danny Thompson s LSR car danny
Thompson s LSR car 50 years Thompson s LSR car 50 years

Rather cheap for 5,000hp and 772km/h capability

The world’s fastest piston powered vehicle; Mickey Thompson's Challenger 2 Streamliner has sold for US$561,000 (AU$813,000) at Mecum’s Kissimmee auction early 2020.

Designed by the legendary Mickey Thompson in collaboration with Kar Kraft (who also built Allan Moffat’s Mustang) in 1968, Challenger 2 was driven to a record setting speed of 722km/h at the Bonneville Salt Flats by Thompson’s son Danny 50 years later in August 2018.  

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In 1960, Mickey Thompson became the first American to break the 400 MPH barrier, piloting his Challenger 1 streamliner to 406.60 MPH (654 km/h) at Bonneville.

After its completion in 1968 Thompson tested Challenger 2 and achieved 643km/h before the course flooded, putting an end to another record attempt.

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Twenty years ago Mickey and his son Danny pulled the car from storage with plans for another record attempt, but on March 16, 1988, Mickey and his wife, Trudy, were murdered and Danny placed Challenger 2 and all his father’s racing memorabilia into storage for another two decades.

Then over the past seven years Challenger 2 has been restored, retrofitted and updated by Danny at his Huntington Beach, California workshop in preparation for a tilt at the record and on the 50th anniversary of the original run, Danny took the wraps off Challenger 2.

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The two original Ford 427 SOHC engines have been replaced with twin Brad Anderson 500 CI dry-block, Hemi V-8s, each driving one set of wheels. Horsepower was considerably increased from 1,800 to 5,000.

On August 12, 2018, Danny Thompson drove the resurrected Challenger 2 to a new record of 772 km/h, closing the circle on a 50-year quest to return the Thompson family name to the top of the Bonneville record books.

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