Books

Mickey Thompson: The Fast Life and Tragic Death of a Racing Legend

Publication Information
ISBN: 9780760331781 
RRP: £15.99 $25.00 
Photos/Illustrations: 75b&w 
Subject: Motorsport, People
Publisher: Motorbooks 
Author: Erik Arneson
Mickey Thompson: The Fast Life and Tragic Death of a Racing Legend by Erik Arneson

On March 16, 1988, motorsport legend Mickey Thompson and his second wife, Trudy, were gunned down by hooded assassins in the driveway of their Bradbury, California, home. This shocking and brutal double-murder brought an abrupt end to one of the most extraordinary careers in the history of motorsports, a career that has never been completely profiled—until now. Author Erik Arneson delves into the life and career of one of racing’s greatest innovators and most successful businessmen, while also chronicling the story of his tragic murder and his family’s relentless quest to bring his killer to justice. This is a fascinating account of an amazing life that ended too soon.


Review by Gordon Hamilton

Mickey Thompson. The fast life and tragic death of a racing legend. Not exactly a transport book but a good read nonetheless. The car scene on both sides of the Atlantic followed a similar path populated by similar people.Balwin were throwing big block motors in camaros (amongst others) over here Savage were dropping V6s into cortinas. Shelby was building two seaters and helping Ford with the mustang,we had Lotus building sports cars and helping Ford with the mk1 and mk2 cortinas. Keith Black was building and designing some very special engines,we had another Keith:Keith Duckworth (the Worth from Cosworth fame) building and designing some very special engines. You get the picture,The car scene was exactly the same,just different. There has to be an exception to prove the rule. What or who we didn’t have was someone who did it all. What do I mean by ‘it all’? How about: hundreds of speed records at Bonneville (land speed,endurance etc.) Set a 406mph record when he was a teenager. Sending Campbell and the $4.5million Bluebird home with a365mph bloody nose. Then designing and building Indy 500 cars. NHRA cars and records,Baja racing,power boat racing,developing engine and speed parts for factories. The legendary record braking Mustangs. Growing a thriving business. Today you will see M/T stamped on many valve covers on American hot rod and performance engines. And worldwide Mickey Thompson wheels are seen on off road performance and racing vehicles. And go to any drag race and you are guaranteed to see a racer running M/T race tyres. Erik Arneson wrote this book with support from Mickeys family,and tells the story from Mickeys youth through all the engineering and record breaking successes,chronicles Mickeys career with the factories and his own business and finishing up with Mickey and his wife’s murder. The book is illustrated throughout with 75 black and white photos,many from the family. While the quality of the photos is amateur they capture the mood and era just fine. Erik Arneson received a bronze award at the 2008 International Automotive Media Awards for Excellence for this title.

The hardcover book is printed in the USA and the paper used is not the highest quality.If you are used to American novels you will be familiar with the paper they used.While not really affecting anything you might be aware of the page feel and quality.

There’s very little technical descriptions in the book. And Mickeys sometimes lack of preparation in the racing cars is glossed over. Overall a well written story about a Talented individual whose work probability influences the way your car runs today.

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