A packed Olympic Stadium roared the Nottingham athlete around the bend and he came through to win by more than a second, smashing his own world mark.
The 36-year-old only took up sprinting last year after the International Paralympic Committee ruled that he was ineligible for his preferred event, the T46 marathon. He tried, and failed, to reverse that decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
That left the 100m and 200m as the only events in his category. He now has six days before the 100m heats and finals on September 7.
"It's all about guts and determination," he said after his stunning gold medal-winning run.
"Today I came and saw and conquered. That's why I gave the two-gun salute at the end.
"Yesterday I didn't feel too well. I had a headache and a bit of a temperature. But I overcame that; I've overcome so much in my life.
"Today was about giving back everyone here a performance. I've got all the support around me and that is why I'm successful. I'd like to dedicate the gold to my mum and dad and my girlfriend.
"I've still got the 100 to come which will be about putting my foot down."
Whitehead was born without the lower part of his legs.
His fiancee Valerie Davies, who is expecting their first child in January, tweeted after the race: "Love u baby. At finish line! We are all so proud of u! Love val, bump, mum & dad!!! #proudmoment."
In those moments his name was trending worldwide on Twitter.
Whitehead's medal ceremony was then delayed as he accidentally left his prosthetic legs at the warm-up track, according to a tweet from official broadcaster Channel 4 (@C4Paralympics).
American Shaquille Vance took silver and German Heinrich Popow bronze in a race which saw all eight athletes run at least a PB.
It was Britain’s second athletics gold at the Games after wheelchair racer Hannah Cockroft’s T34 100m victory on Friday.