Video: Mickey Thompson Breaks the 400 MPH Barrier at Bonneville, 1960

On September 9, 1960, Mickey Thompson ran 406.6 mph at Bonneville to become the world’s fastest hot rodder. This awesome two-minute newsreel captures the historic moment perfectly—watch. 



Produced by Goodyear Tire & Rubber, M/T’s sponsor and tire supplier back in 1960, this great little two-minute clip is a shorter version of a banquet-length movie we presented here at Mac’s Motor City Garage in 2013. (If you have time, watch the full-length edition here.) Since then, Mickey’s son Danny Thompson set a Bonneville record of his own at 406.767 mph this past summer in a car originally constructed by his father.

Mickey’s record run at Bonneville in 1960 with Challenger I, his four-engined Pontiac streamliner, is now the stuff of hot rodding legend, and this clip packs a lot of facts and images into a short and convenient space. Video below.


4 thoughts on “Video: Mickey Thompson Breaks the 400 MPH Barrier at Bonneville, 1960

  1. I was wondering about the headline until they said towards the end it was a one way run.
    Here in South Oz we had Donald Campbell here attempting the record in Bluebird on Lake Eyre which he achieved. Two way. 1962 from memory.

    • Campbell ran at Bonneville around the same time as Thompson but crashed. Thompson wanted to make the return run but mechanical problems stopped him

  2. Mickey,s run was the first attempt, the second run must be attempted within a certain time limit. There were engine issues with the car and a second run was not attempted or at least not within the alotted window…it is still the first official over 400 MPH run…even though Campbell did set the record…

  3. I read the book: Challenger, an autobiography of Mickey Thompson. He was virtually penniless until he broke the 400 mph barrier, afterwhich he was fairly well off. I have to hand it to him: he was the ultimate scavenger building the Challenger; sponsors were virtually non-existent….

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