Walt Arfons, Land Speed Record innovator and half-brother of fellow LSR legend and drag racer Art Arfons, passed away Tuesday at the age of 96. Along with Art, who died in 2007, Walt was a pioneer in the use of aircraft jet engines in LSR cars.
The Arfons brothers began building dragsters in 1952 with a three-wheeled Oldsmobile finished in an ugly green tractor-like paint scheme. It was dubbed the Green Monster, and the name soon became associated with the brothers’ joint projects, although they also competed against each other on occasion.
Walt introduced the first jet-engined dragster in 1960, and also came up with the idea of using a parachute to stop the car like contemporary jet fighters. He went on to build a variety of memorable machines, including the jet-powered Wingfoot Express2, which reached 605mph, although it did not qualify for an official record.