Have you ever had one of those days where everything was going smoothly and then, in a split-second, there was utter chaos? Racer Danny Thompson recently got a fantastic story to tell when he was taking his streamlined Challenger II land speed car for a test run. Everything appeared perfectly normal, and then things went very bizarre in a blink on an eye.
Inspired by the backyard engineering of land-speed racers who built 600+miles-per-hour rockets on wheels, bicycle frame builder Tom Donhou built a bike intended to exceed 100 mph under pedal power alone. As the mini-documentary video below attests, Donhou was able to reach about 80 mph behind his aerodynamically optimized Ford Zephyr 6 draft car (complete with column-mounted manual shifter), but he'll need a draft car with a higher top speed if he wants to top 100 mph.
You've probably heard of Mickey Thompson, if not for racing home-built Indy cars or punting early Funny Cars down drag strips, perhaps for the tire company he founded, his successful forays into off-road racing or, crucially, his attempts to break land speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats. In 1960, he became the fastest man in the world after going 406 miles per hour in his race car, the brutish four-engined Challenger I, but the record was never completed and made official due to a breakd
"My hobbies are fast cars and fast women," Cruiser famously said in Bill Murray's 1981 hit comedy "Stripes." Well, Cruiser, one out of two ain't bad.
Sometimes, we don't ask why, we just appreciate.
As a species, we've been obsessed with pushing ourselves ever faster since we first took to two legs. It should be no surprise, then, that the internal combustion engine and the land-speed record have evolved at roughly the same pace over the last century or so. In order to celebrate the Bloodhound SSC's quest for land speed supremacy, designer Stefan Marjoram took on the ambitious project of creating a massive poster commemorating and comparing history's official land-speed record holders. Even
Plenty of us that grew up around a drag strip know the name Mickey Thompson, but fewer of us realize that the guy was more than a name on the sidewall of some seriously sticky rubber. He was also responsible for setting plenty of land-speed records in his day, including being the first guy to break the 400 mph barrier on the salt. His son, Danny Thompson, is no slouch behind the wheel, either. Last year, the younger Thompson managed to set the fastest land speed for any Ford Mustang. With a supe