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Cars 'n' Stars: Breedlove Tells it Like it Is; Arciero CART Team on TV, Marconi Museum Goes All Out for Kids

8 December 1997

Craig Breedlove, bloody but unbowed as a result of his unsuccessful skirmish on the salt with the Brits and their 750 mph Thrust rocket ship, decided to tell the International Automotive Media conclave in Las Vegas just what it was like out there. In a word, what it's like is BROKE.

The former Southern California hot rodder--who once held the land speed record and operated the 1997 effort on a $2 million budget--said he watched in awe as Richard Noble's Thrust Panzer division landed at the Blackrock desert with its twin motored record car, 50 technicians, all inside a Russian built transport, the world's largest airplane.

Craig felt outnumbered and outgunned. He made some runs and got up to 600 mph, broke a wheel, and went back to L.A. to have new carbon fibre wheels made ($104,000, and the manufacturer wouldn't talk terms with Breedlove). Money up front, screw the U.S. record attempt against the force of the R.A.F. Breedlove went back to his sponsors (Shell, Goodyear, and others) and got some more dough, but then a 5/16" bolt sheared off a fairing and lunched the engine.

All the while, the British Thrust 11 was cranking up record runs, going to the speed of sound. Noble went through the "broke" stage in Britain, but then a nationalistic attitude of "beat America" was advanced and pleas on the internet for money, model sales, et al brought the English $500,000 per week; they met their $zillion goal for the attack.

Craig hasn't given up, and reminded the auto journalists that this type of speed racing was not akin to NASCAR or NHRA. There are no purses, no one is paying anyone for a record. He wants to bring it to the U.S., though, and says he has his Spirit of America programmed to go 800 mph, if he can find the $$$ to make it happen.

The Arciero CART race team that uses Toyota motors will be featured on the NBC TV show, "The Pretender" Nov 28.

The world famous Marconi Auto Museum For Kids in Tustin, California, U.S.A. will have a special open house December 14 as a benefit for the youth of Covenant House, California. Bring nice things for needy kids. If you are interested, call Bo Moore at 310 221 0747. Owner/Founder Dick Marconi has been a strong supporter of children's charities for many years.

Keep the Tach in the black.

Bill Maloney -- The Auto Channel