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Craig Breedlove's Land Speed Car

Craig Breedlove (born March 23, 1937) is a five-time world land speed record holder. He was the first to reach 400 mph (640 km/h), 500 mph (800 km/h), and 600 mph (970 km/h), using several turbojet-powered vehicles, all named Spirit of America.

In 1964, Breedlove faced competition from Walt Arfons' Wingfoot Express (piloted by Tom Green), as well as from brother Art Arfons in his four-wheel FIA-legal Green Monster. With more engine power, Breedlove upped the record to 468.72 mph (754.33 km/h) "with almost insolent ease", then to 526.28 mph (846.97 km/h), making him the first man to exceed 500 mph (800 km/h). This pass was not without incident, however, for one of his drogue parachute's shroud lines parted, and Spirit of America ran on for 5 mi (8.0 km) before near-missing a telegraph pole and coming to rest in a lake. This record stood all of twelve days before Green Monster broke it, recording a two-run average of 536.71 mph (863.75 km/h).

In response, Breedlove built an FIA-legal four-wheeler, Sonic 1, powered by a 15,000 lbf (67 kN) J79. 2 November 1965, Breedlove entered the FIA record book with a two-run average of 555.483 mph (893.963 km/h). This lasted even less time than before, for Green Monster came back five days later at 576.553 mph (927.872 km/h). On 15 November, Breedlove responded with a 600.601 mph (966.574 km/h) record (after turning in an amazing 608.201 mph (978.805 km/h) return pass), which held until 1970. (It would be broken by Gary Gabelich's Blue Flame, which reached 630.388 mph (1,014.511 km/h).) To take the record back, Breedlove planned a supersonic rocket car, "complete with ejector seat!" (After winding up in a lake, this is understandable.) Also in 1965, Breedlove's wife, Lee, took the seat in Sonic 1, making four passes and achieving 308.506 mph (496.492 km/h), making her the fastest woman alive, and making them the fastest couple, which they remain.

DRAG RACING  |  LAND SPEED CAR  |  INDYCAR  |  SPRINT CAR
BUD LIGHT GT  |  MIDGET  |  NASCAR  |  BIGFOOT  |  RACING ARTIFACTS


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