Art Arfons was famous for his ‘scrapyard approach’ to land-speed record-breaking. When others spent $250,000 on a car, he managed to beat their speeds by spending as little as $10,000. His ‘Green Monster’ was made by that philosophy: the parachutes were released by two shotguns, while the J79 jet engine he found on a scrap heap for $625. A day after calling General Electric to ask for a manual, a Colonel from Washington arrived at his door to tell him it was classified and he couldn’t have it. Unperturbed, he stunned the military by rebuilding the engine unassisted; he went on to create a car that helped take the land-speed record from 400 to 600mph.
Arfons was buried in his home town of Akron with a spanner in each hand, a jar of salt from the Bonneville salt flats and a J79 manual.