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 When repairs were done, there was just time to reach Bonneville.To familiarize  himself with the car ,Green cruised carefully back and forth across a section of the flats known as "the parking area" . First time out on the course itself he ran 236mph but found the experience far from what he had expected "I hadn't fully anticipated that I'd have the feeling of rattling and banging down the black line like a rock in a can…the salt was a little rough….".There were other problems as the speed rose ,"at 250 mph the upholstery of the seat hugged me like a pressure suit, at 275 I had the weird feeling it was snowing in the cockpit!"  the cockpit was actually pressurizing as the air speed increased and filling with stray salt crystals which bounced around in a most disconcerting way. The problem highlighted concerns that the Plexiglas canopy might be blown out or ripped off at higher speed. Handling was OK until a serious oscillation built up in the front axle "because it was so short". Additional shock absorbers were fitted and from then on it handled a treat . Green recalls that he could quite easily steer with one hand, using the other to hover over power and chute levers" I never drifted more than 8 feet from the black line".

 The first use of the after burner produced a 300 mph run and when it was shut down it felt like someone had "slammed on the brakes, but the airspeed indicator showed that I was still accelerating under regular engine power". 335mph was clocked before the engine suddenly went off-song. Salt crystals were being flicked off the front wheels and back into the engine where they stuck to the turbine blades, throwing them off balence. Time was running short and although every effort was made to clean the blades, the job couldn't be completed in time. It was 1963 and the WINGFOOT team left Bonneville to Craig Breedlove - who promptly put the record above 400mph for the first time with his 3 wheeled Spirit of America only to run into controversy - but that, as they say, is another story!

  Returning in 1964, WINGFOOT EXPRESS  struggled to pick up speed.For a week the team ran it back and forth without getting nearer to 400 than they had the previous year.The engine lacked it's previous power and as the allotted time on the salt drew to a close a desperate last minute fix was sought.At one point 14 people simultaneously swarmed over the car, changing to a back-up engine but once completed the performance was still not what they had previously experienced. Finally Art Arfons took his brother aside and suggested opening the "clamshells" on the exhaust a touch.He figured the current 17 inch opening was maybe too small and back pressure was stifling performance."There had been a great rivalry between Walt & Art Arfons.but for the most part this had been healthy"says Green "it was a 1/16 turn of the idle adjustment on the engine and opening of the afterburner clamshells (to 19 inches) that brought the engine up to record performance". As a final tweek,Green took a snips to the bodywork and cut away some of the engine intake to help relieve back pressure when the throttle was shut down - only afterwards did he realise,to his horror,that he'd cut away part of a Goodyear logo in the process…

   Back out on course and WINGFOOT clocked 299mph without using the 'burner. Time was now getting very short.On October 2nd at 4.06pm the car recorded 406 mph with a few short stabs of afterburner.At the turnaround there was no time left to refuel as darkness was about to fall so in order to conserve what they had, the team rolled WINGFOOT up to a starting point just 2 miles away from the timing lights.Green gave the car it's head and turned a 420,07mph return run to grab the record  at an average 413.20 mph - a shade under 2% above Breedlove's  3 wheeled best. One hour of daylight remained on the last day they had booked on the flats.

  Sadly for the crew,they had little time to bask in the achievement for within 3 days the record had been hiked by none other than Walt's brother Art and  WINGFOOT EXPRESS was no longer the fastest car on earth.Despite the potential to run the car much faster on a longer run-in, Tom Green had no desire to risk his neck on getting the record back . He returned to his job and today sits as vice president of the company,producing wrenches for SNAP-ON. "I did offer to help Walt with his rocket car but the design was his own". Arfons went on to build the second WINGFOOT EXPRESS with solid fuel rockets but, despite fiercesome performance, it lacked enough sustainable power to maintain record pace through the measured distance. Reading between the lines, one feels the radical concept of the car was somewhat alien to Green and his involvement with Land speed records had reached it's conclusion.

.Of the current record,held by his namesake, Andy Green, Tom considers it "a tremendous breakthrough,which may not be surpassed for many years".One question remains unanswered : where is WINGFOOT EXPRESS today? 

Tom Green has no idea and neither,apparently does Walt Arfons! Any news would be welcomed.

  If,like the author, you wondered where the rather odd name for the car originated, take a look at a Goodyear tyre and as they say on American exam papers "go figure" !




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