Good Deal Tyres’ Angelo Halacas with the Mickey Thompson off-road racer. Photo: PAUL MENSCH

A PIECE of motorsport history is currently standing proud in Mildura.

On display at Good Deal Tyres Mildura is an off-road race vehicle, LEFT, driven by automotive legend Mickey Thompson and his son, Danny, in the 1970s.

The Thompson name may be familiar to some, but his background is perhaps less well known to those in Australia.

Yes, his name adorns his own brand of tyres and racing products, but Thompson was a true automotive pioneer.

His name became synonymous with speed in 1960 when he became the first American to break the 400 miles per hour mark on the famous Bonneville Salt Flats. His top speed of 406.6mph is equivalent to 654.4 kilometres per hour!

He would go on to race in almost every four-wheeled motorsport category up until his death in 1988, posthumously being inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

As a Mickey Thompson Tyres retailer, Good Deal Tyres Mildura is displaying one of Thompson’s many race vehicles for a limited time.

Good Deal Tyres’ Angelo Halacas, a racing driver and motorsports expert, believes the ‘funny truck’ is the only Mickey Thompson vehicle on display in Australia.

“This is now owned by the importer of Mickey Thompson Tyres into Australia, and he bought it from Mickey’s son, Danny, who used to race this with him,” Angelo said.

“Danny wanted to break his old man’s land speed record, and to be able to fund it, he had to sell a few items. This truck was one of them.

“The Australian importer said he would buy it, and he took ownership under the proviso that the car would stay in it’s current condition.

“It is exactly the same as it was once they finished racing it. A couple of lights are missing, bits of the body are missing.

“As far as I know it’s the only one of his cars that is now permanently in Australia. It’s a really cool piece of motorsports history to have in the country, let alone here in Mildura.”

A printed quote on display next to the vehicle from its builder, John House, is worth a read.

It says: “It was a real challenge to build a car that would stay under Mickey. He was full throttle all the time – the kind of guy who could break an anvil with a feather. And no matter what kind of harebrained idea he would come up with it was my job to manifest it.”

MITCH RODD