Craig Breedlove (born March 23, 1937) is an American professional race car driver and a five-time world land speed record holder. He was the first person in history to reach 500 mph (800 km/h), and 600 mph (970 km/h), using several turbojet-powered vehicles, all named Spirit of America. Beedlove set his first record on September 5, 1963 at Bonneville, the first man to set an average speed of over 400 mph (640 km/h) during a land speed record attempt.
The Spirit of America was the first of the modern record breaking jet-propelled cars, built with a narrow streamlined fuselage, three wheel chassis, and most significantly, turbojet engine. Like most of the other competing vehicles the engine was ex-military, the first Spirit had a General Electric J47 engine from an F-86 Sabre and was tested at Bonneville Salt Flats in 1962, where difficult handling resulted in failure. Before trying again, a new stabilizer and steerable front wheel were added.
Both FIA & FIM records were broken in October 1964 by Tom Green and further extended by Art Arfons. Breedlove returned to Bonneville with Spirit and pushed the record over 500 mph (800 km/h), setting it at 526.277 mph (846.961 km/h) on October 15, a record that stood for almost two weeks. In setting the new record, at the end of his second run, the Spirit lost its parachute brakes, skidded for five miles (8 km), through a row of telephone poles and crashed into a brine pond at around 200 mph (320 km/h). Drenched but uninjured, Breedlove climbed out of the cockpit and declared "And now for my next act I'm going to set myself on fire. This feat earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for longest skid marks. Spirit was recovered and taken to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago as an exhibit