Green Monster – Art Arfons

Bonneville is sort of an eerie place. You feel all alone when you’re on the salt. You look down that emptiness and it’s just eerie as hell. It makes me uneasy. Art Arfons

Art Arfons poses with Green Monster at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

576.553 mph – Green Monster’s final record-breaking speed for the measured mile (927.847 km/h) on November 7 1965.

8 days – the length of time that Green Monster retained her last Land Speed Record crown, before Craig Breedlove reclaimed the title by being the first man to achieve 600 mph in Spirit of America Sonic 1.

3 – the number of World Land Speed Records set by Art Arfons during his LSR career, all achieved with Green Monster.

$5,000 – the cost of buying the car’s engine, a J-79 jet engine (the same unit that powered the Hustler bomber and F-104 Starfighter). The engine was the single biggest cost to Arfons, his own expenditure coming in at less than $10,000, having used scrapped parts such as a rear axle from a 1947 Ford truck, front axle from a 1937 Lincoln, and steering from a 1955 Packard (“the only thing I had in the backyard”).

$50,000 – Firestone’s contribution in tyres and wheels.

Did You Know?
To show their gratitude to the car, Art Arfons insisted that his crew members gave Green Monster – “the most beautiful thing in the world” – a kiss each day.

536.710 mph – the previous record breaking speed that Green Monster had set for the measured mile (863.727 km/h) on October 27 1964, during an intense period of competition with Craig Breedlove (see ‘Did You Know?’, below).

$25,000 – the reward from Firestone upon setting the new 536 mph record.

434.022 mph – the first record breaking speed that Green Monster set for the measured mile (698.468 km/h), on October 5 1964. This was subsequently beaten 8 days later by Craig Breedlove in Spirit of America, with a speed of 468 mph.

Did You Know?
It was tit-for-tat for a while. After upping Arfons’ 434 mph to a new record 468 mph, Breedlove set yet another record (526 mph) just two days later, before being beaten by Arfons (536 mph) 12 days after that. Breedlove reclaimed the crown in November of the following year (555 mph), was eclipsed once again within a week (Arfons recording 576 mph), before Breedlove took the crown once again 8 days after that, with his landmark 600 mph success (a record that would not beaten for another 5 years – by Gary Gabelich in The Blue Flame – and never again by Arfons).

Every time we scheduled a press conference to exploit a new land-speed record on Goodyears, Art Arfons would go out and break our record for Firestone. Every time we’d run a big ad about a record, Art would break our record while the ad was still on the streets. Goodyear spokesman, reviewing the 1964 season rivalry between Arfons and Breedlove

Green Monster Videos

Blowouts don’t bother Art…he didn’t panic. He hit the kill button on his steering wheel; this shut down the engine and he coasted to about 500 miles an hour. Then he popped his first chute, and it went all to pieces and jerked the car real bad. He just held onto the steering till the car straightened out, and then he popped the other chute at about 400 and it tore in two, but it slowed him down and at 350 he hit the brakes and burned them out, and he just rode it down on three wheels. Harold ‘Humpy’ Wheeler, from sponsors Firestone, on Art Arfons’ 600 mph+ tyre blow-out (during the 2nd run of his 536 mph record).