Danny Thompson is 66 years old and chasing the piston driven world land speed record. It’s a drive he inherited from his father, Mickey, a 1960s racing pioneer.
Matt McCue | Longreads | January 2016 | 9 minutes (2,136 words)
The Crazy Quest
Almost every day, for the past five years, Danny Thompson has pretzeled his creaky, five-foot-seven frame into his Challenger II car’s cockpit to eat lunch in a space so tight it could double as an isolation chamber. Thompson settles into a custom seat he built by pouring liquid foam into a trash bag and nesting in the plastic for two hours until the foam molded perfectly to his body. The 32-foot-long, cigar-shaped vehicle—the missing link between car and space ship—rests on blocks in the middle of a cavernous warehouse building three miles from the Huntington Beach surf. It often is stripped of its wheels. That hardly matters to Thompson. He sits in the Challenger II to become one with the car, he says.
A Southern California native, Thompson has a sun-bleached face, rusty-blond surfer hair and likes to describe things as “bitchin.” His hands are stained by tar-black oil and electric-blue paint, or whatever he’s tinkering with that day. Despite scrubbing his paws raw with a Scotch-Brite brush, he can’t completely remove the layers of grease and grime that have built up from 50 years as a gearhead.Continue reading “Danny Thompson Drives Like a Bat Out of Hell”