Rocket Car

The amazing thing about this email is that there are sctually multiple versions of it. This was one that went around like clockwork in the '90s as everyone we knew got their first email addresses. Invariably, they would, one after another, sent this email to everyone they knew. But the strange thing is, there are in fact many slightly different versions of the text. The differences are slight, and not simply an addition at the top or bottom. Why would someone change just a few words of the text before sending it out? It's a mystery.

Anyway, we don't see this story much anymore. But here is...

Date:    Thu, 13 Jun 1996 10:03:06 PDT
To:      jsexton
Subject: Don't try this at home

You all know about the Darwin Awards - It's an annual honor given to the
person who did the gene pool the biggest service by killing themselves in
the most extraordinarily stupid way. Last year's winner was the fellow who
was  killed by a Coke machine which toppled over on top of him as he was
attempting to tip a free soda out of it.  And this year's nominee is:

The Arizona Highway Patrol came upon a pile of smoldering metal embedded
into the side of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve.
The wreckage resembled the site of an airplane crash, but it was a car. The
type of  car was unidentifiable at the scene. The lab finally figured out
what it was and what had happened.

It seems that a guy had somehow gotten hold of a JATO unit (Jet Assisted
Take Off - actually a solid fuel rocket) that is used to give heavy military
transport planes an extra "push" for taking off from short airfields. He
had driven his Chevy Impala out into the desert and found a long, straight
stretch of road. Then he attached the JATO unit to his car, jumped in, got
up  some speed and fired off the JATO!

The facts as best as could be determined are that the operator of the 1967
Impala hit JATO ignition at a distance of approximately 3.0 miles from the
crash site. This was established by the prominent scorched and melted asphalt
at that location. The JATO, if operating properly, would have reached maximum
thrust within 5 seconds, causing the Chevy to reach speeds well in  excess of
350 mph and continuing at full power for an additional 20-25 seconds. The
driver, soon to be pilot, most likely would have experienced G-forces usually
reserved for dog-fighting F-14 jocks under full afterburners, basically
causing him to become insignificant for the remainder of the event. However,
the automobile remained on the straight highway for about 2.5 miles (15-20)
seconds before the driver applied and completely melted the brakes, blowing
the tires and leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface, then becoming
airborne for an additional 1.4 miles and impacting the cliff face at a
height of 125 feet leaving a blackened crater 3 feet deep in the rock.

Most of the driver's remains were not recoverable; however, small fragments
of bone, teeth and hair were extracted from the crater and fingernail and
bone shards were removed from a piece of debris believed to be a portion of
the  steering wheel.


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