Craig Breedlove, 1937-2023

Photo courtesy of Samuel Hawley

Craig Breedlove, 1937-2023

Vintage Motorsport / Historic

Craig Breedlove, 1937-2023


Five-time world land speed record holder and the first person in history to reach 400mph, 500mph, and 600mph, Craig Breedlove, passed away April 4, at the age of 86.

Born in Southern California in 1937, Breedlove had a lifelong passion for speed and engineering which began at a young age. He was infatuated with building and flying model airplanes until he moved onto cars at 13 and bought a ’34 Ford Coupe for $75. From there it was all about speed on land, but the aerodynamics origins would play a major part of the equation throughout his life.

Breedlove’s first record-breaking run came in 1963 when he drove his jet-powered vehicle, Spirit of America, to a top speed of 407mph. He broke his own record several times, culminating in 1965 when he became the first person to exceed 600mph, driving his new car, Spirit of America – Sonic 1, to a top speed of 600.601mph.

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