Five Facts You Didn’t Know About The Challenger II

Speed Week was cancelled but that didn’t stop Danny from going for the record again at Mike Cook’s Land Speed Shootout. Here’s some fast facts about Danny Thompson’s Challenger II:


  1. It’s a 4WD.
    That’s right, that sexy off-road beast in your garage has something in common with Danny Thompson’s blue bullet. Each of the Challenger II’s nitro-burning Hemi V8s drives one set of wheels, with twin three-speed gear boxes linking the two engines together and counterbalancing output.
  2. It loses 225kg after every run.
    If Danny Thompson was a personal trainer, he would be more hardcore than the Commando. The Challenger II loses almost 10% of its body weight after Danny takes it for a single run, so if he ever starts a body transformation program he’ll put Michelle Bridges out of business.  The Challenger II’s engines are waterless, meaning that all the cooling is provided by the fuel – in one run, it consumes around 190 litres of nitro/methanol blend.3
  3. Just like the Tardis, the inside is bigger than the outside.
    Looking at the slender, needle-like Challenger II, it’s amazing how much Danny and his team have crammed into it. reports: “When you see how much safety gear, how many mechanical items (the jacks, engines, transmissions, transfer case, etc) are stuffed into the tight confines of the chassis…your eyes will bug out.”
  4. Its skin is lovingly crafted by hand.
    The Challenger II’s striking electric blue skin is made up of 68 hand-formed aluminium panels – the very same panels that adorned Mickey Thompson’s original Challenger.Not only is this frickin’ cool (how many of us can brag that our vehicle’s panels were not just custom-made, but also by a pair of skilled hands instead of a machine?), it’s also a touching reminder that Danny’s doing this for his legendary dad – yet another reason to get behind the bloke and cheer him on.
    going back is not an option
  5. Going back is not an option.
    We mean this quite literally: there’s no reverse or neutral for this baby, once the Challenger II is in motion you can’t shift down. Not that this is an issue for Danny: “When I run the Challenger II, it will be entered as an AA Fuel Streamliner… but I don’t really care about winning the class. I just want to be the fastest person out there on the salt, period.
    final photo

The shootout happens this weekend (12 – 16 Sep). Stay tuned for updates!


Danny Thompson LSR images by Holly Martin

Tardis image by Greg Kumparak


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