• Mickey Thompson and his wife Trudy were shot and killed in 1988.
• The gunmen have never been found, the man behind the deaths has been sentenced.
• Mickey Thompson tyres are the preferred choice for many high-performance drag cars.
• For more motoring stories, visit Wheels24
Many petrol heads (including myself) know the name of Mickey Thompson because of high-performance drag racing and off-road rubber, but that is often as far as it goes.
Peel back the layers, and the man holds numerous auto speed records and is exceptionally smart with an IQ test revealing he was near genius. In addition, his tyres were used on fast attack vehicles in the Gulf War - not many can boast about such a unique set of accomplishments.
Unfortunately, the automotive legend is no more, and that is not due to old age or natural causes but cold-blooded murder. The racing legend and his wife Trudy were shot execution-style in the driveway of their home by (hooded) men.
Gone too soon
According to a 2007 Reuters report, Michael Goodwin, Thompson's former business partner was convicted of the pair's 1988 murder. As for the gunmen, they've never been found and identified.
Both Goodwin and Thompson entered a joint business venture that eventually turned out to be unsuccessful and then resulted in a bitter legal battle, where Goodwin (ultimately) came off worse. According to the LA Times and court documents, Goodwin told two friends at a 1988 dinner: "He's taking everything I've got. He's destroying me, I'm going to take him out."
Those threats ultimately proved true, even though he wasn't the one that pulled the trigger.
Just like many other court cases, it was delayed and ultimately went cold for almost 20 years - until 2007 - where Goodwin was found guilty of two counts of murder and sentenced to two consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole. Justice was eventually served for the mastermind behind the murders.
Can you think of any other automotive icon(s) whose deaths went somewhat under the radar? Email us, or comment below.
Legacy lives on
The man himself might not be around anymore, but the Mickey Thompson legacy is still well and truly alive. The M/T brand is synonymous with various applications like drag racing and dirt off-roading, backed with a rich automotive legacy.
Most petrol heads and enthusiasts alike will argue that Thompson was taken too soon - just like other racing greats like Ken Miles and Bruce McLaren. Despite his violent demise, he will always be remembered for his contribution to motorsport.