MICKEY THOMPSON A RACING LEGEND

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MICKEY THOMPSON A RACING LEGEND
« on: March 07, 2016, 10:37:33 PM »
Not Sure if anybody has done more for racing.
Mickey Thompson
From Wikipedia
Marion Lee "Mickey" Thompson (December 7, 1928 – March 16, 1988) was an American off-road racing celebrity.

A hot rodder since his youth, Thompson increasingly pursued land speed records in his late 20s and early 30s. He achieved international fame in 1960 when he become the first American to break the 400 mph barrier, driving his Challenger 1 to a one-way top speed of 406.60 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats and surpassing John Cobb's one-way world record mark of 402 mph.

Thompson then turned to racing, winning many track and dragster championships. Later he formed sanctioning bodies SCORE International and Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group (MTEG).

In 1988 Thompson and his wife Trudy were mysteriously gunned down at their home in Bradbury, California. The crime remained unsolved until 2007, when a former businessman was convicted of having orchestrated the murders.

Early history
Thompson was born in Alhambra, California. In his early twenties, he worked as a pressman for the Los Angeles Times newspaper while pursuing a lifelong love of Hot rodding. Raising his sights, he became involved in the new sport of drag racing. Tireless and innovative, he found success both as a championship driver and an instinctive automotive technician.

Over the course of his career Thompson set more speed and endurance records than any other man in automotive history. He is credited with designing and building the first slingshot dragster, in 1954, moving the seat behind the rear axle to improve traction when existing racing tires proved unable to handle the output of increasingly powerful custom engines. A change so momentous would not happen again until Don Garlits introduced the rear-engined digger in 1971. Thompson also was noted for being the first manager of Lions Drag Strip near Long Beach, California, in 1955.

Determined to set a new land speed record Thompson achieved international fame when he drove his four-engined Challenger 1 past 400 mph in 1960 at the Bonneville Salt Flats, becoming the first American to break that barrier and setting a new one-way mark of 406.60 mph, surpassing John Cobb's one-way high of 402 mph.

INDY YEARS
1962
The 1962 Harvey Aluminium Special Indianapolis 500 car. Thompson in car. Standing, Harvey representative on left, John Crosthwaite on rightIn 1962 Thompson entered three John Crosthwaite designed cars in the Indianapolis 500. Unusually, they used a stock V8 Buick engine and it was in the rear unlike the front engined, race tuned, Offenhauser powered cars used by most competitors. It was the first stock engine to be raced at Indy since 1946. Thompson's crew, led by Fritz Voigt, were young, smart and hard working. Working 12-14 hour days, the car was designed and built in 120 days. For the race, the engine (enlarged to 4.2 litre capacity, the maximum allowed by the regulations for “stock block” engines) had to be detuned because they were concerned it would not last the distance. Despite being more than 70 bhp down on the other cars, Dan Gurney qualified eighth and was in ninth place until a leaking oil seal seized the gearbox and ended his race on lap 94. He was placed 20th out of 33. The team won the Mechanical Achievement Award for original design, construction and accomplishment

1963
Thompson's promotion skills pleased the sponsors with the publicity generated that year. For the 1963 Indianapolis 500 Crosthwaite designed the innovative Harvey Aluminium Special "roller skate car" with the then pioneering smaller profile (12 inch diameter) and wide racing tires (front 7 inches and rear 9 inches wide) and wheels. Thompson took five cars to Indianapolis. Two of the previous year's design with Chevrolet V8 engines and three roller skate cars. One of the new cars, the Harvey Titanium Special, featured a lightweight titanium chassis. Al Miller II raced one of the modified 1962 cars to ninth place despite only qualifying in 31st position. Duane Carter qualified one of the roller skate cars 15th but was only placed 23rd after an engine failure on the 100th lap. The small tire sizes and low car weights caused complaints amongst the old hands and owners, so for future races, cars were restricted to minimum tire sizes and minimum car weights.

1962 Formula One World Champion Graham Hill tested one of the roller skate cars at Indianapolis in 1963, but refused to race it citing its poor handling.

In 1963 Thompson traveled to England where, along with Dante Duce, he demonstrated his Ford-powered top fuel Harvey Aluminum Special dragster at the Brighton Speed Trials. It was then displayed at the Racing Car Show in London in January 1964

1964
Thompson brought three modified 12-inch tire cars to the 1964 Indianapolis 500, but new rules required him to use 15-inch tires. The Allstate sponsored team used Allstate tires and Ford engines. The chassis had to be altered to accommodate the larger Ford engines. Two of them qualified for the race. The car No.84 began the month with Masten Gregory as the driver but Eddie Johnson in car No.84 qualified 24th and finished 26th. Dave McDonald in car No.83 qualified 14th and died in a fiery crash on the second lap.

1965–1968
Thompson went back to Indy in 1965 but failed to qualify in an attempt with a front engine roadster. He skipped 1966 but tried again in 1967 and 1968, again failing to qualify either year.The 1967 attempt used a unique all wheel drive rear engine design that steered both front and rear wheels, but Gary Congdon was unable to qualify any of the three cars.

Post Indy
Thompson campaigned a funny car in 1971 In 1965 Thompson published "Challenger: Mickey Thompson's own story of his life of speed." In 1968, he redesigned the funny car, and went on to win the 1969 NHRA Spring Nationals and NHRA Nationals with driver Danny Ongais. In his long career, Thompson raced everything from stock cars to off-road vehicles and engineered numerous competition engines. He went into the performance aftermarket business in the early 1960s and then, in 1963, he created "Mickey Thompson Performance Tires" that developed special tires for racing including for Indianapolis 500 competitors.

Thompson founded SCORE International in 1973, a sanctioning body to oversee off-road racing across North America. He and his wife Trudy formed the "Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group" (MTEG) which ran an indoor motocross and off-road vehicle racing show and competition that brought the sport from the back-country to major metropolitan stadiums and arenas.

Murder
On March 16, 1988, Thompson and his wife Trudy were killed by two hooded gunmen outside their home in Bradbury, California in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.

On the morning of the murder a pair of unknown assailants waited outside the Thompson home for the couple to leave for the day. Mickey opened the garage door for his wife to pull out in her vehicle, and as he headed for his own car the gunmen attacked. He was shot and wounded, then dragged out into the driveway while one of the attackers went after Trudy as she backed out. Killing her, the gunman then came back up the driveway where the other gunman was watching over Mickey and shot him fatally in the head.The attackers then made their escape on the bicycles they had ridden to the Thompson residence.

An intense police investigation failed to uncover either the identity of the mystery gunmen, or a motive for the crime. It remained a dead-end until 2001, when former Thompson business partner Michael Frank Goodwin was charged in Orange County, California with the murders.Before a trial could be completed that case was overturned on jurisdictional grounds by the California District Court of Appeal. On June 8, 2004, Goodwin was formally charged with the murders in Pasadena in Los Angeles County. In October 2006, a Pasadena Superior Court judge ordered Goodwin to stand trial.

On January 4, 2007, a jury found the accused guilty of two counts of murder in the death of Thompson and his wife. Goodwin was sentenced to two consecutive life-without-parole terms. A subsequent motion for a new trial was denied.

The murder investigation was the subject of an episode of NBC's Unsolved Mysteries and Investigation Discovery's Murder Book. It was also the subject of the April 28, 2007 episode of the CBS television program 48 Hours Mystery. The 2004 CSI episode "Early Rollout" was based on this murder case. TV coverage, and its fictionalisation through CSI, were cited by the defense team in the murder trial as having created a "folklore" around the case, preventing a fair trial.

Thompson, his wife and his pets are interred in the Rose Hills Memorial Park, in Whittier, California.







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Re: MICKEY THOMPSON A RACING LEGEND
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2016, 03:50:52 PM »
Mickey Thompson
The Mickey Thompson story is as inspiring as it is tragic. In an era of specialization in motorsports, where racers pick one venue and stick to it, Mickey Thompson did it all: hot rodding, drag racing, sports car racing, off-road and desert racing, the Indy 500, stadium racing and chasing speed records. But as impressive as his legacy is, the world was cheated out of knowing the full potential of Mickey Thompson’s genius and endless energy the day he and his wife were murdered at their home on March 16, 1988.
 
Born in 1928 in California, Mickey Thompson inherited a high degree of toughness from his father, a stern, Irish cop. That toughness was transformed into an attitude where nothing was impossible if enough time and effort were put forth. It was an attitude that consumed his life. He was impatient, always in a hurry, with multiple projects going full speed at the same time -- and there was no time to waste. Sleep, which he didn’t require much of, was simply an interruption to his work. At the age of 14, Thompson bought his first car, a 1927 Chevy, for $7.50. Even before he was old enough to legally drive on the street, he was racing his home-built cars on the dry lakes of California, where he quickly earned a reputation for going fast. Mickey Thompson simply wanted to get from point A, to point B, faster than anyone else. In 1955, he designed and introduced the slingshot dragster to the sport, which put the driver not only behind the engine, but behind the rear axle. That same year he talked his way into managing the brand new Lions Club Associated Drag Strip in Long Beach, California.
 
He was a hands-on manager, doing everything from selling tickets, running concessions, directing crowds, and, of course, making the rules and officiating the races. He gave hot rodders what they wanted by experimenting with innovations like night races, grudge racing, and was the first to create the “Christmas tree” starting system, soon to replace the human flagman at drag strips across the country. Thompson managed the Lions Drag Strip until 1964, while also running his muffler shop in El Monte, California, and holding down a job as a color pressman on the graveyard shift of the Los Angeles Times, all the while building his race car projects. He soon gave up newspaper work to devote more time to Challenger I, his first land speed record project, and to the speed parts manufacturing business he had just started, the Mickey Thompson Equipment Co. His company made valve covers, exhaust headers, mufflers, aluminum intake manifolds and other performance equipment. The Mickey Thompson brand of high performance parts and tires remains popular to this day. In 1960, Thompson took his Challenger 1 to the Bonneville Salt Flats. On his first pass, Thompson clocked 406.60 mph to become the first American to exceed 400 mph. A mechanical failure on the return trip kept the record from becoming official, as it requires the average speed of two runs, but nevertheless, Mickey Thompson was hailed in the press as the “Fastest Man on Wheels.”
 
Thompson’s mind was always working, always trying to make things better, so cars would go faster. In 1962 he built America’s first mid-engined Indy car. In 1963 he introduced the first wide-profile, low-aspect-ratio tires at the Indianapolis 500. In 1969 he raced at Baja for the first time. Soon, the name Mickey Thompson would become synonymous with off-road and desert racing. In 1978, coinciding with the increasing number of indoor, domed stadiums, he established Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group, the sanctioning body for indoor stadium off-road racing. In 1986, he used his genius to the benefit of all drivers, when he invented and patented the Hydro-barricade, a water-filled highway safety barrier that has since saved countless lives on and off the track. Despite all his track and business successes,
 
Mickey Thompson considered himself a hot rodder at heart. If you would have called him the greatest hot rodder who ever lived, you would have paid him the highest compliment. When the lives of Mickey Thompson and his wife Trudy were taken on that early March morning of 1988, the world of motorsports truly lost one of its greatest heroes. Even though Mickey Thompson was no longer himself chasing records, there is no doubt that his ingenuity would have continued for many years to come in order to make others go faster. His motto, “stand on the gas,” lives on.

From Automotive Hall of Fame.
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Re: MICKEY THOMPSON A RACING LEGEND
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2016, 03:53:50 PM »
In 1962, Mickey bolted on aluminum Hemi heads, of his own design and manufacture, to his Pontiac powered dragster. With Jack Chrisman driving, the slingshot beat Don Garlits for Top Eliminator at the Indy Nationals. Jack also set low ET and top speed of the weekend! Here is the M/T Hemi Pontiac putting away Don Garlits.


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Re: MICKEY THOMPSON A RACING LEGEND
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2016, 04:50:39 PM »
Mickey Thompson Attempt
By Tony Thacker

After successfully setting a number of national and international records in his Assault I dragster at March AFB on May 14, 1960, Mickey Thompson returned on July 9 the following year with a fleet of cars. His intention: To break as many records as he could in the day allotted on the 8,000 ft. runway.

The four-car team consisted of a Class F Dragmaster powered by a blown two-cylinder Pontiac Tempest, the fully streamlined Attempt powered by Class D and E four-cylinders, the blown 303 Pontiac-powered Assault I from the previous year and a 389-powered Pontiac Catalina. This time all the cars were painted dark blue and despite the 109-degree heat Mickey hopped from car to car and drove to 14 of 18 possible records.

Seven inches shorter than the Assault, the Attempt had a 96-inch wheelbase Dragmaster frame built by Jim Nelson and Dode Martin. Front tread was 38 inches while the rear was just 35 inches. Unlike the Assault, Attempt had a fully streamlined aluminum body hand formed by Jim Burrell of Burbank. Mickey was rightly convinced that aerodynamics played an important role in high-speed records attempts. A plastic canopy completed the package, however, Mickey had to wear a mask with an air supply.

The rear tires were Goodyear Blue Dragon slicks while the fronts were likewise Goodyears but shaved to a width of just 1.5 inches and mounted on 12-spoke spindle mounts.

Mickey had planned to run two engines, both ’61 4-cylinder Pontiac Tempests, however, strong side winds caused him to abandon the D Class attempt. This engine was de-stroked ¼-inch to 3-1/2 inches to reduce displacement to 180 ci. The bore was stock at 4-1/16-inches. Inside, there was a factory-optional, forged steel crankshaft and M/T aluminum rods, pistons and a roller tappet camshaft. A 4-71 Jimmy was driven at 94 percent of engine speed for 22 psi of boost. Air was inducted through a hole in the body and directed to the blower with flexible hose. With a blend of methanol and nitro, horsepower was estimated at 460 at 7,000 rpm.

The Class E engine had sleeved cylinders of 3-9/16-inches bore and a stroke shortened from 3-3/4 –inches to 3-inches, the capacity was just 120 cubic inches. The blower was a 3-71 GMC driven at 1.13 times crankshaft speed resulting in 20 psi of boost. The engine was rated at 420 hp at 7,400 rpm.

Mickey started his runs at 6 am and was finished by 10 minutes after noon. Unfortunately, the winds and the poor surface of the runway caused by constant bomber landings made the dragsters difficult to handle—the ruts throwing them from side to side. Nevertheless, Mickey achieved eight new records over the kilometer and mile.

Running in Class E, the Attempt broke Rex Mays’ kilometer record set in an E.R.A., bumping the speed from 89.73 to 96.368 mph. Over the mile distance he bested Liechenstein’s record of 94.01 mph set in a Bugatti by going 114.349 mph.

Long after these cars had been mothballed, sometime in the mid-1980’s, a wild fire raged through the Bradbury, California hills where Mickey lived and stored his collection. Despite fighting the fire with a 2-inch hose up to the door of his house, the cars were badly damaged. Soon after, in March 1988, Mickey and then wife Trudy were brutally murdered in their driveway. Eventually, however, Jim Travis with some help from Mickey’s son Danny restored the cars and for many years the Attempt and the Assault I, along with the Challenger, resided in the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, Pomona, California. In 2013, the Attempt was acquired by the World of Speed as part of its permanent collection in Wilsonville, Oregon.
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Re: MICKEY THOMPSON A RACING LEGEND
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2016, 05:00:02 PM »
Mickey ran a lot of Dragmaster chassis, taking full advantage of their off-the-shelf availability and light weight. It was not unusual for Mickey to build a brand new car every 3 or months in the late 50's and early 60's. Here are three record cars, the V8 powered Assault 1 (furthest from camera),the Attempt 1 and a second 4-cylinder lightweight, all Pontiac powered Dragmaster IV's.

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Re: MICKEY THOMPSON A RACING LEGEND
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2016, 06:41:45 PM »
I can't think of anyone who has accomplished more than Mickey Thompson.

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Re: MICKEY THOMPSON A RACING LEGEND
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2016, 07:39:43 PM »
From Hemmings...........
Of all the old race cars that Mickey Thompson held on to after they proved no longer competitive, the one that perhaps meant the most to him, the 1962-1963 Harvey Aluminum/Harcraft Special Indy 500 car, remained in his family and covered in a layer of dust up until last year, when it changed hands for the first time and began a journey that took it to the Hershey show field this past weekend.

For Thompson, who by the early 1960s had made a name for himself as an accomplished drag racer and land-speed racer, the Indianapolis 500 seemed a logical next step. Except he wouldn’t merely buy a front-engine Offy-powered car and run with the good ol’ boys there; instead, he aimed from the beginning to win, and to do so with his own from-scratch design.

As Erik Arneson, author of “Mickey Thompson: The Fast Life and Tragic Death of a Racing Legend,” wrote, Thompson teamed up with British chassis designer John Crosthwaite to build three Buick-powered mid-engine fully independent-suspension cars for the 1962 race, all sponsored by Harvey Aluminum. He initially conscripted Chuck Daigh to drive one of the three cars, but eventually went with Formula 1 driver Dan Gurney. As Gurney told Arneson:

    I don’t remember if he came up to me or I went up to him, but the first time I got in Mickey’s car, I knew it was a good car – a very good car. They were having a little trouble with the engine, but they were willing to work day and night to get it right. Mickey was a very charismatic leader of his group, and a lot of his people believed in his vision and were willing to go for it.

Gurney, an Indy 500 rookie that year, qualified eighth in the car and managed 92 laps before the car blew an improperly installed grease seal in the transaxle and the gears locked up. He was awarded 20th place for the official record. Thompson, for his effort, walked away with 59 of 67 votes for the D-A Lubricant Award for Mechanical Achievement, an award that, as Arneson wrote, meant more to Thompson than any other award he received.
Despite the DNF, Thompson believed the car still had potential. He repowered it with a small-block Chevrolet V-8 and took it to Bonneville that year, setting 35 national and eight international speed records with it. And he began to formulate plans for another stab at Indy in it.

Of the three mid-engine cars Thompson built for 1962, two would return alongside three new lower and wider Crosthwaite-designed cars built around Thompson’s specification for 12-inch wheels. Harvey Aluminum returned as a sponsor, but this time under the name Harcraft. With Bill Cheesbourg at the wheel (Gurney had signed with Ford for 1964), the former Gurney car failed to qualify, though one of the newer designs managed to finish ninth.

Thompson took the Gurney/Cheesbourg car back to California, where it then sat untouched for more than 50 years, until George Lyons of Erie, Pennsylvania, acting on a lead from Walter Goodwin of Race Car Restorations in Indianapolis, convinced Mickey Thompson’s son, Danny, to sell it to him
yons intended merely to restore the car’s mechanical aspects and leave its body in as-raced condition. In doing so, he learned that the car had plenty of stories to go along with it. The Buick V-8 engine used for the 1962 Indy run, for instance, had two separate Hilborn fuel-injection systems on it: a cross-ram used for qualification and a stack-style used for the race itself. The small-block Chevrolet V-8 in the car now uses a cross-ram Hilborn, but the engine cover retained the holes used for the stack injection. And that Chevrolet V-8 was no normal SBC; rather, it used an aluminum block and heads, measured 254 cubic inches, and a Schaller quarter-speed double-lobe camshaft.

As for the black bars over part of the logo on the 1963 version of the car, Lyons got the story on those too. While Thompson and Harvey Aluminum’s partnership went beyond sponsorship and into developing and casting aluminum parts for Thompson’s efforts, Thompson wasn’t entirely aware of Harvey’s branding practices. Harcraft, a division of Harvey that sold aluminum bathroom fixtures, stood on its own as a brand, but Thompson initially had his 1963 Indy cars lettered with “Harcraft Aluminum Special.” Harvey’s representatives didn’t see the lettering until race day and demanded that Thompson re-letter the cars as “Harcraft Special.” With no time for a complete repaint, Thompson simply had part of the lettering blacked out.

Lyons completed his mechanical restoration of the car in time to run it on the track at Indy earlier this year and then take it to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August.
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Re: MICKEY THOMPSON A RACING LEGEND
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2016, 05:01:21 PM »
Mickey Thompson's Shop.
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Re: MICKEY THOMPSON A RACING LEGEND
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2016, 07:57:34 PM »
A few more.
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Re: MICKEY THOMPSON A RACING LEGEND
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2016, 08:02:24 PM »
A few more.
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Re: MICKEY THOMPSON A RACING LEGEND
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2016, 08:11:36 PM »
CHALLENGER.
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Re: MICKEY THOMPSON A RACING LEGEND
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2016, 05:53:25 PM »
A few more.
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Re: MICKEY THOMPSON A RACING LEGEND
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2016, 05:58:13 PM »
A few more.
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Re: MICKEY THOMPSON A RACING LEGEND
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2016, 11:41:52 AM »
Mickey's Blown Pontiac Tempest 4.
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Re: MICKEY THOMPSON A RACING LEGEND
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2016, 11:45:18 AM »
Attempt 1.
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Re: MICKEY THOMPSON A RACING LEGEND
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2016, 11:48:26 AM »
Revell kit of the Attempt 1.
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