Thompson’s Challenger 2 Main Attraction at Mecum Kissimmee
In 2018 Danny Thompson set a new record at Bonneville Flats in his Challenger 2 Streamliner, making it the fastest piston-powered, wheel-driven car in the world. His two-way average was 448.757 MPH.
The Challenger 2 Streamliner was built in 1968 by Mickey Thompson (Danny’s father) in the hopes of setting a new world speed record at Bonneville Flats. Unfortunately, because of the rains and floods that year, he was unable to challenge the world record. Danny returned to Bonneville Flats 50 years later (in 2018), as the ultimate tribute to his father.
The original Challenger 2 (the 1968 version) used two Ford 427 cubic-inch V8s. To prepare the car for the 2018 run, Danny replaced these engines with two fuel injected nitro-methane burning hemi engines, each having ~3000 hp. Challenger 2 retains the original suspension, designed by Kar Kraft, and it has 4-wheel drive, with the front engine driving the front wheels and the back engine driving the rear wheels. It is 32 feet long, 36 inches wide, and 37 inches high at the canopy. It weighs 5700 pounds.
In our interview with Danny, he tells us that driving a car at Bonneville is much different from driving a typical race car. He said, “you don’t fight this car, you kind of let it have its head and you kind of drive it where it wants to go…. ” According to Danny, quick hands are typically the most important things in racing, but quick hands at Bonneville can get you in trouble fast.
Danny Thompson has decided to retire C2 (Challenger 2), “to let it go,” as he describes it. It wasn’t an easy decision, but hopefully with its sale at Mecum Kissimmee, “it will go to someone who will display it and people will be still be able to see it.” Check out the below video, as Danny Thompson tells us more about this amazing car.
For more about Bonneville, check out this book: