Video: Danny Thompson’s Sights Set For Bonneville To Break World LSR

Mickey Thompson is an American legend and a household name amongst racing fanatics. Those who hold speed at the forefront of what defines an automobile surely know of his exploits and pay respect to his legacy.

Born Marion Lee Thompson on December 7, 1928 – Mickey, as he preferred to be called, was an American off-road racing icon. He was also a renowned drag racer and an innovative automotive technician. His most prestigious bragging right is the claim to the most speed and endurance records set over any other racer in the history of the automobile.


Photos courtesy: Thompson LSR

Check out this article that relives his record breaking run in Bonneville during the year 1960. The momentous occasion marked a new record of 406.6 mph which broke John Cobb’s one-way land speed record of 402 mph. On top of that, Mickey and his Challenger seized the title for first American to break the 400 mph barrier. It was an inspiring and daring achievement that he had brought home for his fellow citizens that year.

The Motivation
The video above, put together by the Power Automedia film team, is the personal account and mission of Mickey’s son, Danny Thompson. In 1988 him and his father had set out to push the land speed record up to 450 mph. Before this attempt could be made Danny’s parents were tragically murdered. Collecting dust and brooding in its trailer for more than 45 years, the Challenger II was recently excavated in hopes of outfitting it for another record breaking run. The rebuild of the Challenger II is Danny’s personal oath to finish something him and his father had started a quarter-century ago.

How She’s Looking Thus Far
The Challenger II has gotten full auto-spa treatment. The shell has been completely reworked and is comprised of 68 hand formed aluminum panels. Two 500-inch aluminum block engines, producing a whopping 4,000 hp between the both of them make up the vehicle’s power plant. New rears, new transmission, and up to date safety modifications are just a few other restorations that have been added. According to Danny and his team, the biggest engineering and construction hurdles have already been overcome. Finalizing fab, plumbing, and electrical work are at the top of their priority list in order to get the Challenger II rolling.

Below are some facts about the Streamliner:

  • The engines are dry blocks (waterless), which means all of the cooling is provided by the fuel. A single run will consume approximately 50 gallons of nitro blend fuel.
  • The car ends its runs nearly 500 pounds lighter due to fuel consumption.
  • The tires are a prototype nylon weave backed with banded steel. There is only 1/32 of an inch of rubber. These tires are custom made by Mickey Thompson Tires.
  • Primary stopping power is provided by dual parachutes. Four carbon fiber disk brakes provide a second level of speed reduction.

The projected date for initial assembly is set for October. During that, time tests will be run prior to the end of the year in time for 2014’s SCTA record runs at Speed Week and the FIA record runs at Cook’s Shootout.

In The People’s Hands/Perks Of The Pledge
Danny and his build team are reaching out to the people to help fund the project. Their goal is to reach $200,000 by Tuesday September 10th, 2013. Donation increments are as follows:

  • $1.00 minimum
  • $10.00 or more:
    • Name added to partner section of website
  • $25.00 or more:
    • Custom sticker pack
    • Kickstarter limited edition decal
    • Rewards package from previous donation amount
  • 117$50.00 or more:
    • Limited edition ThompsonLSR T-Shirt
    • Rewards package from previous donation amount(s)
  • $100.00 or more:
    • Crew-Only T-Shirt that team members wear at Bonneville during runs
    • Rewards package from previous donation amount(s)
  • $250.00 or more:
    • Invitation to the Streamliner launch party
    • Signed paperback copy of reprinted M. Thompson biography
    • Rewards package from previous donation amount(s)
  • $500.00 or more:
    • Name added to honorary plaque that travels with the car
    • Personal thank you letter signed by the team
    • Rewards package from previous donation amount(s)
  • $1,000.00 or more:
    • Framed print signed by Danny Thompson, the team, and the artist
    • Surprise bonus package
    • Rewards package from previous donation amount(s)
  • $10,000.00 or more:
    • Name or company logo on both sides of the car
    • Honorary member – welcome to all the team’s Bonneville runs
    • Surprise bonus package
    • Rewards package from previous donation amount(s)

THOMPSON LSR -  CHALLENGER- www.THOMPSONLSR.comOn top of the extensive perk packages that Danny and his build team are providing, probably one of the biggest perks is that donators will be able to pick and vote on the final color scheme of the car. Donating will also allow you to pick and vote on the official name of the Challenger II originally dubbed the Autolite Special. The final color and design application of the name will then be handed over to world famous hot rod designer, Chip Foose for completion.

Check out Kickstarter for full details on the progress of the team’s funding and if you would like to make a donation yourself.

We’ll see you on the salt flats of Bonneville next year! You could be looking at the workings of the next LSR world record holder for wheel driven vehicle’s. Either way, Danny Thompson’s mission is much bigger than setting a record in our view. He has committed to chasing a 25 year old dream and to flesh it out in honor of his father. That is a feat of determination that stands on its own.


About the author

Andrew Almazan

Andrew Almazan is a graduate of CSULB with a degree in English and a passion for traditional kustoms and hot rods. His first exposure to out of this world vehicles was through the prevalent low rider, baja bug, and kustom culture of LA county.
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