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Marion Lee "Mickey" Thompson (December 7, 1928 – March 16, 1988) was an American auto racing builder and promoter.

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 became 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. In the 1960s, he also entered cars at the Indianapolis 500. Later, he formed off-road racing 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 business partner was convicted of having orchestrated the murders.
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Thompson was born in Alhambra, California. In his early 20s, he worked as a pressman[1] for the Los Angeles Times while pursuing a lifelong love of hot rodding. He later became involved in the new sport of drag racing. Tireless and innovative, he found success as a championship driver and 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.[3] This car, the Panorama City Special, debuted at the first NHRA U.S. Nationals at the Great Bend Municipal Airport in Great Bend, Kansas, in 1955.[4] The car ultimately ran a best speed of 151.26 mph (243.43 km/h).[5] A change so momentous would not happen again until Don Garlits introduced the rear-engined digger in 1971.[6] Thompson also was noted for being the first manager of Lions Drag Strip in Wilmington, California, in 1955.

Thompson collaborated with Fritz Voight on a 1958 twin-engined dragster.[7] This car achieved a best speed of 294.117 mph (473.335 km/h).[5] It provided lessons later applied to Challenger I.[5] Determined to set a new land speed record,[1] Thompson achieved fame when he drove his four-engined Challenger 1 at better than 400 mph (640 km/h) in 1960 at the Bonneville Salt Flats,[8] becoming the first American to break that barrier.
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In 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, was young, smart, and hard working. Working 12- to 14-hour days, the car was designed and built in 120 days. For the race, the engine (enlarged to 4.2-L 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.
Mickey Thompson prepares to test his secret new rear-engined Indy car at Riverside, California...jpg
Mickey Thompson prepares to test his secret new rear-engined Indy car at Riverside, California...jpg
Mickey Thompson prepares to test his secret new rear-engined Indy car at Riverside, California...jpg


Staff member
Peterborough, 1964, when Perkins Diesels held its Open House, and the British Hot Rod Assoc. brought some dragsters and hot rods. I am reaching for a cleaning rag to work on the Mickey Thompson fueler, the HARVEY ALUMINUM SPECIAL, which had been left in the UK after a tour in 1963. View attachment 76417
Cool story behind the pic, Don ! Thanks.
Born in San Fernando, California, in 1928, Mickey Thompson became a larger-than-life personality in the world of American motorsports. Among his many well-known achievements, he is remembered for piloting a 2,000-horsepower, four-engined, land-speed-record car of his own design to 406 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1960. In the late ‘60s, he became interested in building and drag racing “Funny Cars.” The unique design of his 1970 Boss 429-powered Mustang funny car uses aircraft-style “monocoque” construction instead of the traditional tube-chassis used by other cars in the class. This design eliminated almost 300 lbs from the weight of his 1969 car. Its fastest quarter-mile time in the 1970 season was 7.40 seconds at 196 miles per hour.
From 3 Dog Garage

Mickey Thompson.jpg