In the great pantheon of people who have influenced the entire sphere of automotive high performance, there are none greater than Mickey Thompson. Top speed attempts, drag racing, off-road, road course, Indy Car, go-karts or whatever activity you can think of that is connected to our particular passion has been affected in some way by him. However his first love was hot rodding and he took that attitude and work ethic with him into every other field.

Jalopy Journal posted story and video about Thompson and his attempt in 1960 to break the land speed record then held by the Englishman, John Cobb. The video recounts the difficulties faced by Thompson and his crew.

The conditions on the Bonneville Salt Flats at that time were far less than ideal with a very rough racing surface as well as gusty winds at speeds higher than what was considered safe. Add to that, the financial drain on Thompson’s resources made trying to wait out these conditions virtually impossible. However Thompson’s determination ruled the day as he was able to drive his supercharged, four engine Challenger I past Cobb to set a one-way record of 406.60 miles per hour!

It is been roughly 52 years since Mickey Thompson set this record. He went on to set many more as he achieved success in auto racing, business and many other areas in his life. And although his life was cut short in 1988, he is still revered and his influence is still felt nearly a quarter-century after his death. His exploits and accomplishments have achieved legendary status. One thought that I keep with me is that he began and always was a hot rodder!