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This record-breaking 1800-HP land speed car is coming up for sale

Road & Track logo Road & Track 4 days ago Brian Silvestro

a person sitting on a beach: Mecum
In 1968, Micky Thompson, famous race car driver and the first American to break the 400-mph barrier, decided he wanted to best his personal best speed of 406 mph. So he built this car, the Challenger II. A successor to his first land speed car, it made 1800 horsepower thanks to a pair of two 427 cubic-inch Ford V-8s driving each axle.

Thompson never got the chance to drive the Challenger II at full speed, but that didn't stop his son Danny from pulling off the feat in 2018 after a seven-year restoration process. The younger Thompson took the car to the Bonneville Salt Flats, where he set the record for fastest ever piston-driven car on earth. Laying down speeds of 446.605 mph and 450.909 mph in either direction to account for wind resistance, the two numbers averaged together for an official record of 448.75, beating the previous record by nearly 10 mph.

a blue and white plane flying in the sky: The 1968 Challenger II set a 448-mph speed record last year, and now, it can be yours.© Mecum The 1968 Challenger II set a 448-mph speed record last year, and now, it can be yours.

The car itself is 32 feet long, 36 inches wide, and 37 high at the top of the cockpit. Its chassis was built by Quin Epperly of IndyCar fame, while the bodywork was hand-formed. The engines get their power to each axle via a pair of three-speed B&J Big Boy transmissions. Curb weight comes in at a hefty 5800 pounds. There's also carbon-ceramic disc brakes, custom Kar Kraft suspension, and two 30-gallon aluminum fuel tanks.

The car will come up for auction at Mecum's Kissimmee, Florida event in January 2020. Considering the car's remained in the same family since new, there's no telling what it's worth, especially given its illustrious history. Mecum doesn't list an estimate, and we know one thing's for sure: it won't go for cheap.

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