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Re: Airplane powered cars - was bad taste

Subject: Re: Airplane powered cars - was bad taste
Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2002 19:05:23 EST
In a message dated 12/17/2002 5:21:32 PM Central Standard Time, 

> Those things may be bad taste, but the power is pretty awesome.  My dad 
> knew Art Arfons - he was the first guy to put a jet engine in a car.  He 
> held several records in his lifetime, and still holds one for some odd 
> thing like fastest drive in an open car.  I've heard some pretty odd 
> stories on Art - and I think he is still around and kicking (but no longer 
> driving jet powered cars).
> This may actually belong on the british cars list, not mgs, but I thought 
> I'd contribute to the discussion.  It is a british team that currently 
> holds the land speed record, just over mach one.
> Phil Bates
> '58 MGA
> '67 MGB
Hi Phil,

  Just a little info you might be interested in. I met Art Arfons in the late 
60's (Summer of 1967) when he appeared with his jet powered car the "Green 
Monster" at the Springfield/Ozark Dragway just south of Springfield, Mo. At 
the time it was the only American Hot Rod sanctioned dragstrip in southern 
Missouri or northern Arkansas. I was the announcer there for three seasons. 
It was a weekend job for me as I was a full time announcer at the areas top 
40 rock station "KICK". We had a ball at the dragstrip, and I remember quite 
a bit about the jet car. It sported a Westinghouse J-100 jet engine and had 
10,000 pounds of forward thrust (with the afterburner kicked in). Arfons made 
several appearances at the dragstrip over several seasons, and was certainly 
a big draw to the fans. He usually ran over the 200 mph mark with each pass 
(which was a big deal in those days, but certainly not by todays standards). 
One weekend during a night run we turned off the strip lights (with Arfon's 
permission), and the afterburner with its long tail of flame made quite an 
impressive sight going down the track at high speed.  During a land speed 
record attempt in 1971 at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, Arfons lost 
control of his "Green Monster" at just over 600 mph while trying to beat 
Craig Breedloves' record, and parts of the broken vehicle flew through the 
air and killed three spectators. Arfons survived the accident, but never got 
behind the wheel again. With all the hoopla and horsepower displayed each 
weekend at the dragstrip, I was perfectly happy to drive my 1964 MGB roadster 
to and from the strip. It didn't compete with, or set any speed records with 
those "muscle cars", but believe me I certainly didn't go without my share of 
"babes" in the passenger seat every weekend. Maybe that just goes to show 
that the old adage is true "its not necessarily how much you've got, but how 
you use it !!! " UH..Hmmm - Horsepower that is !!!

                   Bill Dillstrom
              Southwest Missouri
          1962 MKII MGA Roadster

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