Craig Breedlove, who set land-speed data by topping 400, 500 and 600 mph in jet-powered automobiles nicknamed Spirit of America, has died. He was 86.
Breedlove died at his house in Rio Vista, California, on April 4. His spouse, Yadira Breedlove, stated the reason for loss of life was most cancers.
Breedlove battled Tom Inexperienced and Artwork Arfons on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah to set after which break one another’s velocity data in the course of the freewheeling Nineteen Sixties, a golden period of American motorsports. Breedlove’s closing velocity report was 600.6 mph (966.5 km/h) in 1965.
The mark has been topped since, with the present report sitting at 760.3 mph (1,223.6 km/h) — quicker than the velocity of sound — however Breedlove helped make the land-speed mark a cultural phenomenon starting in 1963.
He was an American hero to some and was even immortalized within the Seaside Boys’ music “Spirit of America,” which refers to him as a “daring younger man” taking part in a “harmful recreation.”
Born March 23, 1937, Breedlove was a firefighter whose childhood love of automobiles impressed him to race. He additionally labored at Douglas Plane in Santa Monica, California, as a technician in structural engineering, a background that helped gas his work with jet-powered automobiles.
His early designs included a missile-shaped car with three wheels, a jet engine and a rear fin; it was extra fighter airplane than passenger automotive.
In Spirit of America, Breedlove clocked 407 mph at Bonneville to set a brand new land-speed report on Aug. 5, 1963. The report modified arms eight occasions within the subsequent two-plus years, culminating with Breedlove’s closing mark set on Nov. 15, 1965.
Throughout considered one of Breedlove’s record-breaking runs, he misplaced his brakes and his parachutes. Unable to cease for greater than a mile, his automotive slammed into phone poles earlier than touchdown in a salt pond. Breedlove escaped unscathed.
Breedlove deliberate to attempt to break the land-speed report of 633 mph in 1996, however he crashed and needed to abandon the endeavor.
Breedlove was inducted into the Motorsports Corridor of Fame of America in 1993, the Dry Lakes Racing Corridor of Fame in 1995, Worldwide Motorsports Corridor of Fame in 2000 and the Automotive Corridor of Fame in 2009.
He was married six occasions, together with his closing one lasting 20 years. Along with his spouse, he’s survived by two kids from his first marriage, a half-sister, 5 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.