Craig Breedlove was born on this day in 1937 in Los Angeles.
After years of drag racing and building vehicles, on August 5, 1963 Breedlove set the "unlimited" land speed record in his Spirit of America, a jet-powered, 3-wheeled drag racer with a giant stabilizing tail of Breedlove's own design, at the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, with a speed of 407.447 mph. The previous record land speed was set by John Cobb in a non-jet-powered 4-wheel vehicle in 1947; Breedlove's record was classed in a different category by the Federation Internationale de L'Automobile, FIA, although the "unlimited" class became the dominant field of play after Breedlove's achievement.
After seeing 2 drivers beat his 1963 record (Tom Green and Art Arfons), Breedlove returned to Bonneville on October 13, 1964 to reclaim the land speed record with a speed of 468.719 mph, and raised the bar a few days later with a speed of 526.277 mph. He and Arfons traded the record back and forth throughout October and November 1965, culminating in Breedlove's 600.601 mph performance on November 15, 1965. His last land speed record stood for 5 years until it was beaten by Gary Gabelich in 1970.
Breedlove's achievement remains extraordinary, however: he managed to raise the land speed record by more than 200 mph in 2 years, and was the first driver to beat the 400, 500 and 600 mph marks on wheels.