This April, 1962 black and white television program “Adventure Tomorrow” was hosted by actor Peter Hansen (:28), interviewer Dr. Martin Klein, Director of Research, Communications Control Corporation (:49), and was produced by George Van Valkenburg. This broadcast is titled “The Fastest Man of Wheels.” It features Mickey Thompson, who on September 9, 1960 became the first American to break the 400 mph barrier at 406.6 mph. He did so in his 1959 Pontiac Challenger 1 at Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats. The footage shows bringing the car to the Salt Flats, inspecting it, Thompson entering the car, the push car, and a test run of the 11-mile drive, including some filmed from the car itself through the 2” windshield as he follows the black line painted on the salt (:33-6:09). Back in the studio, Dr. Klein interviews Mickey (6:17-8:56). We return to footage following the test drive. The salt is rough and so the crew works over three weeks on the race path to smooth it out, using water (8:56-10:20). Back at the shop, yarn is attached to the vehicle to study the air flow and a spoiler is added (10:21-10:33). The footage moves to September 9. Members of The United States Auto Club calibrate their electronic measuring instruments in the official timing stand (10:34-11:00) as everything on the car is tested (11:01-11:13). The braking parachutes are checked (11:14-11:25). The rims and specially-built Goodyear tires are mounted (11:26-11:53). Back at the studio, Dr. Klein and Mickey talk about this hand-built car, using an exact kit model (11:58-14:42). They look at samples of the special Goodyear tires. The results of proving they can go 400 mph has allowed this technology to be applied to jet tires and to improve automobile tires (14:43-15:55). The footage returns to September 9 as Thompson decides the timing is perfect to try for the record. He wears a special rubber fire-resistant suit and a small breathing mask as he is locked into the car (15:56-18:05). The epic run is now shown as he achieves 406.6 mph on the outgoing run. A broken drive shaft prevents him from getting a two-way record (19:06-20:00). Back at the studio, Dr. Klein mentions Mickey and his wife Judy both won in their classes in the Mobilgas Economy Run the previous week, which they did in 1962 (20:01-20:30). Mickey’s next plans are to design a car to race in May at Indianapolis (20:31-21:42). [Tragically, Mickey and his wife were murdered in their driveway in 1988, orchestrated by a former business partner.]
We encourage viewers to add comments and, especially, to provide additional information about our videos by adding a comment! See something interesting? Tell people what it is and what they can see by writing something for example: "01:00:12:00 -- President Roosevelt is seen meeting with Winston Churchill at the Quebec Conference."
This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com