Pioneering drag racer, jet car driver, and land-speed record holder Art Arfons died Dec. 3, 2007. He was 81. Arfons was a three-time land-speed record holder and a champion tractor puller. Arfons is survived by his wife of 60 years, June; son and daughter-in-law, Tim and Shari; daughter and son-in-law, Dusty and Randy Spraggins; daughter-in-law Patty Arfons; brother, Walter (Gertrude) Arfons; sister, Lou Wolfe; grandchildren, Sean, Bryan, TJ, Lane, and Jake; and several great-grandchildren.
The Green Monster was the name of numerous vehicles built by
Art Arfons and his half brother Walt Arfons. They were initially Dragsters,
the dragsters developed into jet powered vehicles built to break the land
speed record. The first "Green Monster", in 1952 was a three wheeled
dragster powered by an Oldsmobile six cylinder engine, and painted with left-over
green tractor paint. The name was applied on the car's first outing by the
track announcer, who laughingly said "Okay folks here it comes; The Green
Monster", and it stuck to all Arfons' creations. Green Monster Number
2, a 20 foot long six wheeled car powered by a 2000 horsepower Allison aircraft
engine, was hitting 100 miles per hour in the quarter mile. Green Monster
Number 2 was painted by Arfons' mother to resemble the World War II Curtiss
P-40 Flying Tigers fighter airplane, with an open mouth showing large teeth.
This car, painted in red and blue, won the land speed record three times during the close competition of 1964 and 1965 with 434, 536 and 576 miles per hour in the flying mile. It competed against Art's brother Walt's Wingfoot Express cars and Craig Breedlove who eventually won the record with 600.601 miles per hour.
In 1966 Arfons returned once again to Bonneville, but reached
a two way average speed of only 554.017 miles per hour. On November 17, Arfons
crashed his vehicle travelling 610 miles per hour when a wheel bearing froze.
He subsequently built another Green Monster land speed record car, but sold
it to California rancher Slick Gardner without ever driving it.
Art Arfons turned his talents to turbine powered tractor pulling with great success, fielding a series of Green Monster pull tractors along with his son and daughter.
In 1989, Arfons returned to Bonneville with Green Monster Number 27, an 1800 pound 22 foot long two wheeler. The car left the ground at 350 miles per hour, and Arfons rebuilt it into a less radical four wheeled vehicle for 1990, but could manage only 177, 308 and 338 miles per hour.
Left to right: Richard Nobel, Craig Breedlove, Andy Green, and Art Arfons.