photos by John Baechtel

Dawn, June 10, 2014, El Mirage dry lake

Challenger IIDanny Thompson’s Challenger II streamliner turned a wheel in anger for the first time in 46 years since father Mickey Thompson ran speed trials with the car at Bonneville in 1968. Fans and followers of the Thompson LSR effort, www.thompsonlsr.com will no doubt recognize the familiar profile and understand that much has changed beneath the sleek exterior shape as the crew rebuilt the entire car to meet modern safety and performance standards.

Today represented the updated proof of concept where several years of toil and sweat and every last penny left in Danny’s pockets came together to find out if the historic car still has what it takes to be a land speed record contender. Danny and the crew were very satisfied with the test which revealed a number of details to be worked out prior to the trip to Speedweek in August.

This first test also gave the team a chance to work together in a real world scenario where each crew member has specific jobs to do; an important consideration when you actually get to the salt and have to turn the car around in less than an hour for an FIA attempt. One unique feature that the Thompson LSR team tested at El Mirage was a large “lazy susan” device that allows them to spin the car on its axis 180 degrees for rapid turnaround in FIA record attempts. Air jacks raise the car at both ends.The device is aligned under the car at the center of gravity. Then the jacks lower the car on to the turntable and the car can be rotated in place.The jacks are extended again to remove the device and the car is lowered to the ground. See photos below.


Challenger IIAction shot and top row below by Zane McNary, LandSpeedPhotos.com
All other photos by John Baechtel

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