The first "Green Monster" made it’s
debut in 1952, then as a three wheeled 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'
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
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 schemes where 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 powered by an 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). It competed against his
brother Walt's “Wingfoot Express”,
as well as Craig Breedlove’s “Spirit Of America”.