It is time for a change of pace in my Legends Series, so how about something on a car that has become a legend in drag racing. The Green Monster #5 was a creation of the legendary Arfons Brothers, Walt and Art in 1955. The brothers on Pickle Road in Akron, Ohio, put together one of drag racing's unique race cars of its time, a war surplus Ranger aircraft engine stuffed into a home built frame. The 770 cubic inch engine was mounted upside down and backwards which enabled it to function in the "monsters chassis. This is the way the Green Monster #5 appeared at the first NHRA Nationals in Great Bend, Kansas where it turned the heads of all who passed by it.
One of the best Allison powered race teams in the USA was owned by Lee Pendleton who was based in Ashtabula, Ohio and made the Akron, Ohio Arfons Brothers an offer they couldn't refuse. So in late 1957 the Green Monster #5 went home to veteran racer Lee Pendleton. Lee owned the car until 1959 when he sold it to Charlie Hall of Tucson, Arizona. Just before sending the Green Monster #5 to its new home in the desert around Tucson, a young teen aged drag fan named Jon Rowley visited Pendleton's shop and admired the awesome Green Monster. However, the monster was headed to Arizona and Rowley figured he would never see it again.
Years later Rowley was attending the University of Arizona in Tucson and ran into Charlie Hall and he went to work with him. Now when the Green Monster had been sold all those years ago, Rowley had no idea where it was going. Imagine his delight when he found out that his Arizona friend Charlie Hall owned the famous Arfons Brother's creation. From that day when Rowley "found" the Green Monster, forty-eight years passed and on June 22, 2008, John Rowley purchased his favorite drag car of his youth from his friend Charlie Hall. Hall had carefully cared for and stored the car for all those years so when Rowley took delivery, the car was in beautiful condition. Jon then did his homework and researched his prize and came to the conclusion that this was the only Arfons piston driven aircraft engine still in existence. So for the past five years, Rowley has made the Green Monster #5 a true museum piece. If you ever get the chance to check out Rowley's "baby", it is a great piece of drag racing history.
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Green Monster #5 between 1955-1957.
The cockpit is simple and to the point.
1710 cubic inch P-51 fighter plane engine.
Liquid cooled and supercharged.
in Akron, Ohio. The first engine was a Ranger aircraft engine.
Walt drove the car to top gas class with a top speed at 131 mph.
Kansas City, Kansas, then again at the 1957 Nationals in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
They finished 1957 with a 157.89 at the first International Drag Meet
in Chester, South Carolina.
Halibrand 3.57 quick change gears with a tug boat marine wet clutch.
The dually slicks didn't help and caused some handling problems.
1958 and 1959 Nationals in Detroit, Michigan.
The official team was Pendleton, Eskelin and Snyder out of Ashtabula, Ohio.
race cars. When aircraft powered was relegated to exhibition classification or
match racing but could not race in Top Eliminator at the national events.
and restore his all time favorite race car, the Green Monster #5.
Jon and crew keep the car fresh and correct down to the original nuts, bolts and parachute.
Jon thanks Lee Pendleton, The Chrismans, Yancey's Allisons, Jon Lundberg and all
those in the drag racing community for their support.
The Green Monster #5 debuted at the 2009 NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion
at Bakersfield, California.