Historic World Events / March / Craig Breedlove, land-speed record holder, born
Craig Breedlove, land-speed record holder, born

Craig Breedlove, land-speed record holder, born

On today in 1937, Craig Breedlove, the 1st individual to achieve land speeds of 400mph, 500 mph and 600 mph in a jet-powered vehicle, exists.

Breedlove grew up in Southern California, where as an adolescent he constructed automobiles and was a drag racer. As a man, he made a three-wheeled, rocket-shaped vehicle powered by way of a surplus military J-47 plane engine and dubbed it the Spirit of America. On October 5, 1963, Breedlove became the quickest man on wheels when he recorded an typical speed greater than 407 mph in the Spirit of America at Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats. Located roughly 100 miles west of Salt Lake City, the Bonneville Salt Flats certainly are a challenging, flat 30,000-acre expanse formed from a historical evaporated lake. In 1914, Teddy Tezlaff set a car speed record at Bonneville, driving 141.73 mph in a Blitzen Benz. By the late 1940s, Bonneville had become the normal spot for setting and breaking planet land-speed records and contains since attracted drivers from around the world who compete in a level of automotive and motorcycle divisions.

On November 2, 1965, Breedlove set a fresh record at Bonneville, driving 555.485 mph in the 4-wheeled, jet-powered Spirit of America Sonic 1. Shortly following that, on November 15 of the extremely same year, he set yet another new record having an typical speed of 600.601 mph at Bonneville. According to Salon.com: “At a time when drag racing was the fastest-growing sport in the United States, Craig Breedlove was a hero. While his speed records won him the kudos of his racing brethren, his matinee-idol good looks assured him photo spreads in national magazines.” The Beach Boys even wrote a song about Breedlove’s daring, named “Spirit of America.”

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In October 1970, Gary Gabelich broke Breedlove’s record with a speed of 622.4 mph. In the mid-1970s, Breedlove took a rest from racing and embarked on an occupation in real-estate, but he at some time returned to racing. In 1997, Breedlove tried unsuccessfully to leading the 700 mph mark. Instead, that year Britain’s Andy Green broke the sound barrier and set an archive of 763 mph. In 2006, Breedlove sold the Spirit of America to Steve Fossett, a wealthy adventurer. Before Fossett could set a fresh land-speed record, nonetheless, he died in a plane crash in 2007.

Source: History