|Walt (left) and Art (right) Arfons.|
Their father, a Greek immigrant, came to America at the age of 14 and settled in Akron, where he operated a feed mill. The brothers’ natural ingenuity and mechanical skills found an outlet in working on cars, and though Walt was ten years older than Art, they forged a common bond in their desire to go fast.
|One of the Arfons Brothers' first Green Monster Drag Racers|
Using surplus aircraft piston engines at first, the brothers raced throughout the 1950’s. They were the first drag racers to hit 150 mph in a quarter mile, and continued to do so using subsequent versions of The Green Monster.
Around 1960, the brothers parted amicably and followed their separate paths, although they continued to compete with each other on a friendly basis. Art headed to Bonneville with an Allison aircraft engine powered car that hit over 313 mph in 1961.
Being no slouch, brother Walt became the first to introduce a jet-engine dragster in 1960, utilizing a parachute to slow the car down at the end of the run. In 1967, Chrysler Corporation gave Walt a Dodge Dart, Plymouth Barracuda and Dodge Charger to convert into dragsters. Walt simply strapped jet engines onto all three stock cars and went racing.
|Need more speed? Just find a jet engine and strap it to the back of the family car.|
|Art Arfons with his 1966 edition of The Green Monster.|
A little bit crazy? Maybe. What we can say for sure is that when it comes to “life in the fast lane” — no one showed the way better than the two brothers from Akron.