From: Ron Rader aka PTM <emory!bbt.com!rlr>
Subject: natural selection atwork
Date: Wed, 27 Apr 94 17:02:09 GMT
I received this on one of my "humor" lists, and immediately thought
of our soon-to-be-kaput little hotrod community. Heck, I'll tell you
one thing: if I were gonna bump myself off, I'd much rather go at
300mph than putting a gun to my head ;) .
Ron "What A Rush!" Rader
----- Begin Included Message -----
> (forwards deleted)
> The Arizona (U.S.) Highway Patrol came upon a pile of smoldering
> metal imbedded into the side of a cliff rising above the road,
> at the apex of a curve.
> The wreckage resembled the site of an airplane crash, but it was a
> car. The type of car was unidentifiable at the scene.
> The boys in the lab finally figured out what it was, and what had
> It seems that a guy had somehow got hold of a JATO unit, (Jet
> Assisted Take Off, actually a solid-fuel rocket) that is used to give
> heavy military transport planes an extra `push' for taking off from
> short airfields. He had driven his Chevy Impala out into the desert,
> and found a long, straight stretch of road. Then he attached the JATO
> unit to his car, jumped in, got up some speed, and fired off the JATO!!
> Best as they could determine, he was doing somewhere between 250 and
> 300 mph (350-420kph) when he came to that curve....
> The brakes were completely burned away, apparently from trying to
> slow the car.
> Solid-fuel rockets don't have an 'off'... once started, they burn at
> full thrust 'till the fuel is all gone.
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[Guys!! First off, I'm trying my darndest to find a new home for
the hotrod list so it won't die unless EVERYONE sits on his thumbs
and does nothing!
I've seen a slightly different version of this. I wonder if it isn't
an urban legend based on what Andy Granitelli wrote about in his
autobiography. Seems he and his brothers bought a load of surplus
JATO bottles right after WWII. They fired one off in the parking lot
of their hotrod shop and unbeknownst to them, it was a dud. Based on
that experiment, they arrayed 12 of these besties up to the back of
one of their rods and wired them to all fire at once. Andy was driving
the car down a 2 lane highway with his brothers in another rod following
right behind so as to get a good view. He pushed the buttons and
then described the following events in language that had me rolling on
the floor. He describes flames reaching the telephone wires, a farmer
coming the other direction taking off across a corn field to get away
and how it crystallized the windshield and burned the paint off the other
rod. He managed to get the thing stopped without wrecking. He then
went on to describe how they rigged the car with a selector to fire
one bottle at a time. They then hit the carnival and barnstorming
circuit with the car running on fairgrounds short tracks. He vividly
describes how he fired a rocket exiting each turn which would shake
20 years worth of pigeon turds out of the overhead onto the spectators.
Andy's autobiography is kinda old ( I read it in high school) but is
a RIOT and contains lots of info on his turbine car. Recommended. JGD]
From: Pete Albrecht
Subject: Re: What aluminum was used in old Airstream trailers?
Date: 6 Sep 1998 03:28:26 GMT
Dick Brewster wrote
>How was it determined that the JATO Chevy was an urban legend?
1) Nobody can ever produce a time or place where it happened
2) Nobody can produce a police report
3) Nobody can produce a photo
4) If it really happened, (in Arizona as most versions go) there'd be a photo
of the scene in nearly every Arizona highway patrolman's locker
5) The physics are absurd. Consider the aerodynamics of the thing. It would not
so much fly as fart around like a baloon let go in a room. "Melted the brakes"?
Give me a break. er, brake.
6) The most likely source of this story is Andy Granatelli. In his
autobiography "They call me Mister 500" (how's that for humility) he says that
he and his brothers used to put on a show at coounty fairs in the late 40s or
early 50s with a low-powered rocket strapped to a car. Somebody probably saw
this and embellished on it.
7) go look at alt..folklore.urban This story has been done to death.
When I first heard it I thought it might make a great car magazine story -- if
it could be substantiated. After a bit of digging it became obvious that it was
a legend that had been around for decades. One guy reported hearing it in his
Navy days, back in the early 50s. So I dropped the idea. A couple weeks later I
saw it in Road & Track, posing as truth (they never check anything over there
as long as it fills the white space between the ads; I know, I used to be on