The Green Monster was the name of several vehicles built by Art Arfons who was often described as the "junk yard genius".
They were either Dragsters or vehicles build to break the speed records on ground or water. The first "Green Monster" was a 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.
The car only reached 85 miles per hour (137 km/h), 20 miles per hour (30 km/h) short of the fastest car, but by 1953 the Green Monster Number 2, a 20 foot (6 m) long six wheeled car powered by a 2000 horsepower (1.5 MW) Allison aircraft engine, was hitting 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) 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. The top speed of the car was estimated at 270 miles per hour (435 km/h), and it could reach 140 miles per hour (225 km/h) in eight seconds from a standing start.
Running on passenger car tires, the car required four wheels on the rear drive axle to withstand the power. At the first World Series of Drag Racing at Lawrenceville, Illinois, it clocked the highest top speed at 132.35 miles per hour (213.00 km/h), and eventually a world record of 145.16 mph (233.61 km/h).
The later cars had various paint scheme were green was not necessary the dominant color. The six-wheeled Green Monster Number 6 became the first dragster to break 150 miles per hour (241 km/h) in the quarter mile. Green Monster Number 11, Art Arfons' favorite, hit 191 miles per hour to beat Don Garlits.
The Arfons brothers then split up, and each became interested in land speed record racing.
The most famous "Green Monster" was a car powered powered by a U.S. Government scrap F-104 Starfighter General Electric J79 17,500 lbf static thrust jet engine with four-stage afterburner, which Arfons purchased from a scrap dealer for $600 and rebuilt himself, over the objections of General Electric and the government, and despite all manuals for the engine being classified top secret. 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 (698, 863, and 927 km/h) in the flying mile (despite blowing a tire on the last record run). During this time Art Arfons was competing with his brother Walt Arfons and Craig Breedlove.
Built and driven by Art Arfons, Green Monster was a three-time holder of the World Land Speed Record. It was powered by a 15,000-pound thrust General Electric J-79 jet engine from a B-58 Hustler bomber that Arfons bought in damaged condition for $5,000. He set his final World Land Speed Record of 576.553 miles per hour with the car on November 7, 1965, only to lose it eight days later. When Green Monster was severely crashed in 1966, Arfons used many of the original parts to construct a similar car.
Green Monster, built and driven by Art Arfons, was a three-time holder of the World Land Speed Record. It was powered by a 15,000-pound thrust, 17,500 horsepower General Electric J-79 jet engine from a B-58 Hustler bomber that Arfons bought in scrapped condition for $5,000. He repaired the engine in his home workshop, then tested it. Upon firing, the engine rattled windows over a wide area and incinerated his chicken coop. The chassis and body were handcrafted to house the jet engine. At the Bonneville Salt Flats, he took the three-day-old World Land Speed Record in the Jet Unlimited Class (434mph, 10-5-1964) from his brother, Walt. He lost it eight days later to Craig Breedlove in his Spirit of America Sonic 1. Though Arfons recaptured it after only two weeks (536mph, 10-27-1964), he lost the record again the following year. He set his final World Land Speed Record of 576.553 miles per hour on November 7, 1965. When Green Monster was severely damaged in a 1966 crash, Arfons used many of the original parts in this rebuilt car, which did away with the adjustable front stabilizing wing. Unfortunately, Arfons was never able to race this vehicle and sold it to Slick Gardner, who made many high speed runs in the car including the 650mph pass in 1978.
Art Arfons (1926-2007), a native to Akron, Ohio, was a World War II Navy veteran who led the introduction of jet engines to Bonneville. A pioneer in this sport, Art has been inducted into the Motor Sports Hall of Fame of America, the International Motor Sports Hall of Fame, and the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame. From the 1920s through the 1950s the World Land Speed Records were held almost exclusively by the British. The 1960s brought an era of patriotism and innovation to Bonneville and, beginning in 1963, Art and other Americans introduced jet-powered vehicles to the scene. Replacing their internal combustion, wheel-driven predecessors, these rockets set the course for the future of land speed racing. In a span of just twenty-seven months, the land speed record went from 393mph, held since 1947, to over 600mph. In the forty-four years since, the record has only climbed to 763mph. Besides the impressive quantifiable achievements, Art was known as a humble genius, whose determination and brilliance made him an American hero.