Sunday, June 16, 2013

Walt Arfons, designer, builder...

...and racer of jet-powered dragsters, died at age 96. From his obit in the Times (my emphasis):

His more advanced jet-propelled car, Wingfoot Express — named for the symbol of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company of Akron, which was sponsoring him, and driven by Tom Green of Wheaton, Ill. — set a world land-speed record of 413.2 miles an hour at Bonneville on Oct. 2, 1964. Mr. Arfons had sustained a heart attack while watching another driver crash his car during testing. Mr. Green was an engineer with limited race-driving experience, but he had helped Mr. Arfons rebuild the car.

Three days later, Art Arfons, who was sponsored by Firestone, a major competitor to Goodyear also based in Akron, broke that record in a car powered by a General Electric J79 turbojet aircraft engine, clocking 434.03 m.p.h. About a week after that, Craig Breedlove, a California hot-rodder, surpassed that mark in his jet-powered Spirit of America car. Then Art Arfons and Mr. Breedlove took turns breaking each other’s records. 

I only bring this up as an excuse to post an old favorite song of mine by the Beach Boys, "Spirit of America."

No comments: