Breedlove's Back!Thu, 08 May 2014 00:00:00 -0700
Craig Breedlove, the land-speed racer who set records at over 400, 500 and 600 mph has a new race car on the drawing boards and is the feature of a couple other projects. We caught up with him recently in Los Angeles.
It seems Breedlove always had a car project in the works; most recently, he took the Spirit of America Formula Shell LSRV to almost 700 mph on the Black Rock Desert in 1996. The new car is in its fifth CAD iteration on the computer screen of engineer Neil Roberts, who works days as a chassis engineer at Honda Performance Development in Santa Clarita, Calif. (There's no official Honda connection to the LSR project). The car will be powered by two J79 jet engines, which each make over 17,000 pounds of thrust in stock form.
“Our stated goal is 1,000 mph,” Breedlove said.
Or Mach 1.4. Yow!
The car will not be driven by the 77-year-old Breedlove but by Bonneville veteran, and friend of Roberts', Mark Zweig. Zweig is a five-time record holder at Bonneville in a giant 1997 Freightliner diesel truck.
“The technical end of the program is pretty far along,” said Roberts. “We just need the funding.”
Roberts mentioned a funding goal then later corrected himself, saying the first number was too low. Suffice to say, they're looking at somewhere in the low eight figures, in case you have some cash.
Meanwhile, the movie is a feature film, now into its second script. We don't have as much info on that project, but we can certainly envision something done on Breedlove--the handsome American hero braving physics and failed parachutes as he approaches the speed of sound on land. The young Breedlove was inspired by John F. Kennedy's inaugural speech wherein the new president said, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” Breedlove knew what he could do.
“I can bring the land-speed record back to America,” he recalled thinking.
Spurred on by competition with archrivals Walt and Art Arfons, he did just that--five times, topping out with a record of 600 mph. We'd go see a movie like that.
And then there's the documentary, "Breaking Barriers." It starred Breedlove and two other racers: 92-year-old SO-CAL Speed Shop founder Alex Xydias and tuner John Hennessey, who make up a triumvirate of racers profiled in the doc, three generations of land-speed record breakers. That film aired May 7, 2014, on the National Geographic Channel. We saw it, and it was pretty good.
We hope the other two projects come to fruition. Wouldn't that be cool?
By Mark Vaughn