Friday, November 17, 2006


With Tony Schumacher winning the Top Fuel Championship again, I thought I would post about his first 300 MPH car.

The Odyssey in it many forms were built by Wayne Knuth. Some of the drivers were Larry Keisha, Aggie Hendricks, Toby Ehrmantraut, and Tony Schumacher.

The were of various engines and designs, but they all were very fast in their time periods.

Here are some of the cars.

TV Tommy IVO

In the 1980's, after a bad funny car fire, TV Tommy IVO built a jet car. This car was one of the most beautiful bodied cars of the time. No expense spared for this vehicle.

After a few seasons, TV Tommy retired from racing and sold the vehicle and it was renamed the Alien.

But the car was never to survive, it along with the transporter were destroyed in an accident.

Vampire & Hellbender

The Vampire and Hellbender were two Rolls Royce powered jet dragsters out of the U.K. In the 1980's they were the state of the art cars until the Hellbender crashed killing it's driver, Mark Woodley.

The Vampire continued to perform until this year, when Top Gear's Richard Hammond crashed during a segment. He crashed at over 280 mph, and survived with serious injuries. Currently looking to make a full recovery is testament to the safety and contruction of this vehicle.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Smith Family Racing

A newer family in the jet car ranks came a few years ago, Mark & Sheila Smith. Mark, Sheila and their two sons toured the U.S. based out of Missouri. The Wild Thing is a GE J-85 powered dragster. After running the car for a couple of seasons, they freshened it up with a new paint job and a new name, Air Force 1.

The beautifully painted car was not to be for long. At the Citrus Nationals in Florida, Ancel Horton driving the Mississippi Madman J-60 powered dragster and a failure. Ancel's car hit Mark's in the drivers compartment just past the finishline. Both cars were destroyed, Ancel had minor injuries, but Mark was severly beat up.

While recupperating, the Smith's were already building the new Air Force 1. By the time the season started Mark was recovered and back racing.

Green Mamba

Probably the most widely known jet car of all time would have to be the Green Mamba. Designed, built, driven, owned and just about anything else you can think of by Doug Rose.

Doug started out with the famous Arfon's family. Doug drove one of the Green Monsters for them. After a crash that Doug lost his legs in, He came back and designed and built the Mamba.

The Green Mamba has been running all over the USA since the mid sixtys. Today, Doug takes the Green Mamba out to the circle tracks and does his shows and car burns. Currently based out of Florida, The Green Mamba and Doug are definately worth the trip to see him in action.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


The Backdraft jet funny car was one of the early center sitting funny cars.

Like the more widely known Eastern Raider/Top Secret car of Al Hanna, or Roger Goring's Firestorm/Northern Flame cars from the UK, the driver sat in the center in front of the intake like in a dragster.

A beautiful looking car, but was damaged and rebuilt. Eventually it was parked, and might have been sold to someone in the UK recently.

Jet Force

The Pass - a- Fire car was a Charlie Hand/Tommy O'brien car that Chuck Haynes bought and ran.

He later sold this J-60 powered car to Jett Field. With a name like Jett, what else would he drive.

Jett was based out of Idaho, and ran funny cars for most of his carrer prior to switching to jets.

After repainting and renaming it became, Jet Force. Jett ran the car for a few years before a tragic accident in Spokane took his life.

Final Option

Jimmy Gonzales ran the Final Option jet dragster. It was a Pratt & Whitney J-60 powered car built by Jerry Segal.

He ran the car for about two seasons before selling the car to Mick Steele.

Mick then sold the car to Greg Nickelski in Illinois. Greg named the car Too Much and currently runs the car in the mid west area, with occasional trips to the west.

On a sad note, Jimmy sold the car to focus on his battle with cancer, which he later succumbed to.


Les Shockley's Shockwave. What more can be said. Built for the 1976 season, Les became a trend setter and inovator in the jet car ranks.

Developed the large fire ball, bright colored car, and fireworks on start up was always a crowd pleaser. And the car performed! Right out the gate, she was a mover!

After a few years, Les full of new ideas sold the car to Hayden Proffitt. Hayden renamed the car the Hot Streak. Keeping with the wild colors and performance through his time with the car.

Later the car was sold to Bill Carter who ran it for a number of years. Word has it, that the car ended up damaged and parked in the mid 90's.

The Avenger

Lee Austin from the Chicago area, built some of the 70's & 80's jet cars and bodies. He crafted the Emergency 1 body, as well as helping with the second Chicago Fire.

Here is the Lee Austin twin to the Chicago Fire, the Avenger.

The Avenger had a short life and crashed.

Fireworks U.S.A.

Here is the Fireworks U.S.A. Jet Funny Car. It was owned by Fred Spiezio. It was a J-34 Westinghouse powered Corvette Jet Funny Car. We ran the car for about a season out on the west coast. In the past year or two, I think it was sold. Very pretty funny car.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Emergency 1

To kick things off, I will post the history of our first jet car, The Emergency 1.

In the early 70's, my dad was driving an econorail dragster. After all his time running Stock, Junior Fuel, and Top Fuel, he wanted to just go out and have fun. At the time the econorail class was new and supposted to be economical. But with everything as you go faster, so does your spending. My dad was never one to go 7.90 if he could go 6.90.

After a few years, Bill Mattio would worked on the fuel cars with my dad, came and talked with my dad. Throwing out words like fun, fast, and putting money in the bank vs withdrawls sparked an interest in this "Jet stuff". Bill was already running the J-34 Westinghouse powered Chicago Fire, and wanted to build a second car. After more discussions, they teamed up and Bill's new car would be the New Chicago Fire, but what to call the old car. After some brainstorming the Emergency 1 "World's Fastest Fire Truck" was born.

The car was taking to Lee Austin to design and build the body to resemble a fire truck, and Dan Onate applied the candy apple red and gold paint to it. All it needed was the final touch, the red strobe on the roll cage!

After running the Emerency 1 for a few years, Bill wanted to build a newer car again. We had decided to sell the Emergency 1 and buy Bill's car. A man named Joe Donaldson bought the car, but not the body or the name Emergency 1. He had a new body designed by someone in Southern Califorina that was a cross between a ski boat and a space ship. He went through the entire car and rebuilt it all.

Unfortunately during the first test fire at Orange County International Raceway, something was wrong and the car was destroyed and Joe seriously injured.

The remains of the car and body was sold and eventually rebuilt into the transforming jet car known as the Vorian.

The Vorian is own by a man in New Mexico, and from what I was told currently in the process of being restored with some assistance by Doug Rose of the Green Mamba fame.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Sammy Miller

I should have made this the Jet & Rocket Archive. The two types of vehicles were always the step child of the racing associtations.

But growing up with the exhibition classes, They were always side by side. We hung out together, travel together, and helped each other.

Sammy was always fun to hang out with, even as a kid! When Sammy & my Dad went to England to run the rockets side by side, there were all kinds of stories coming home.

Sammy would do things just to see if it would work or if he could get away with it. I will post more pictures of him. Sammy is definitely missed by a lot of people all around the world!

Jet Car Archive

I wanted to create a spot for Jet Car history. A place where all the stories, photo, and memories can be posted for everyone to read.

I will be posting photo's of all the cars I can find and where a photographer's credit can be made I will. If you know who's photo it is, email me so they can get credit.

Send me any story, photo, graphic, press clippings from the jets and I will post it.

I want to create the most up to date link for the jets also.

Thanks and enjoy...