Ultimate Speed

Ultimate Speed
Ultimate Speed

Ultimate Speed

The Fast Life and Extreme Cars of Racing Legend Craig Breedlove
By Samuel Hawley, Foreword by Craig Breedlove


304 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth, EPUB, Mobipocket, PDF

Cloth, $30.00 (CA $40.00) (US $30.00)

ISBN 9781641600200

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Oct 2018)


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The exciting, true story of an ordinary guy building extraordinary machines in his garage and racing them in the most dangerous game in the world
An L.A. hot-rodder with a high school education, a family to support, and almost no money, Craig Breedlove set out in the late 1950s to do something big: harness the thrust of a jet in a car. With a growing obsession that would cost him his marriage, he started building in his dad's garage. The car's name was Spirit of America. Through perseverance and endless hard work, Craig completed Spirit and broke the land speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats, setting a new mark of 407 mph in 1963. He went on to be the first person to drive 500 and 600 mph, breaking the land speed record five times. In the early 1970s he turned to rockets and set an acceleration record at Bonneville that stands to this day. He built a jet car in the 1990s, Spirit of America–Sonic Arrow, to go head to head against Britain's ThrustSSC to be the first to Mach 1. Craig's subsequent crash at 675 mph remains the fastest in history. Even today, at the age of eighty, he is going strong with plans for yet another Spirit of America racer. The ultimate goal: 1,000 mph.Ultimate Speed is the authorized biography of Craig Breedlove, with a foreword by Craig himself. A candid revelation of one of motorsports' most interesting figures, the book is based primarily on countless hours of interviews with Craig and dozens of people connected to his life.


"Ultimate Speed tells the amazing story of how Craig Breedlove became a household name, setting land speed records in jet- and rocket-powered cars. While he and the records became famous, few have known what was required to hit 400 mph and more to gain entry into the record books. Breedlove was really an explorer, heading off into uncharted and dangerous territory, and this book reveals the exquisite and intimate details of his story." —Steve Lehto, author of Preston Tucker and His Battle to Build the Car of Tomorrow and Chrysler's Turbine Car  

"Breaking the outright world land speed record is a huge task. It's not just about having the fastest-ever car, it's also about the people and the money to pay for it all, something that Sam Hawley has captured very well. This is a thrilling tale that illustrates the immense challenges faced by Craig Breedlove and his tremendous achievements in overcoming them." —Andy Green, land speed record holder, 1997-present (763 mph)

"Craig 'For my next trick, I'll set myself afire' Breedlove officially remains my coolest man on earth. Craig has always built beautiful cars and driven them at fantastic velocity, as the record books attest. To be chasing speed still at eighty is not just a measure of an extraordinary man, but confirmation of the courage and commitment that won him five land speed records." —David Tremayne, author of The Science of Formula 1 Design and The Land Speed Record

"Above all, though, the great appeal here comes from looking closely at an individual with the singular drive to do something no one else has ever done." —Booklist

Author Biography

Samuel Hawley has an MA in history and spent 18 years teaching in East Asia before becoming a writer. His books include Speed Duel, The Imjin War, I Just Ran and The Fight That Started the Movies. Craig Breedlove is a five-time world land speed record holder, the first person to drive 400, 500, and 600 miles per hour.