What's the story with the car jump stunt?
January 7, 2009 7:12 PM   Subscribe

I am interested in more background regarding this video of a car attempting a jump over a river. It's a yellow car (I think an older Lincoln Mark series) with with stubby wings, a semi-functional parachute system, and what looks like rocket assist.

To the extent I could deal with reading any of the 2,500+ youtube comments (and using with the "show" quality filter), they were the useless.
posted by exogenous to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
All the details here: http://www.webtvhub.com/one-mile-car-jump-attempt-video-youve-got-to-give-the-guy-credit-for-trying/

"This clip about a 1976 attempt to jump the St. Lawrence River in a car is truly amazing. The stunt did not work out as planned, but you’ve got to admire all of the planning that went into it. And the guy in the car must have had some major cojones.

The jump involved over four years of planning, more than one million dollars in expenses, an eight story ramp, and a rocket-powered Lincoln Continental with wings. Kenny Powers, the brave soul behind the wheel, was an experienced stuntman with the injuries to prove it and the desire to break a world record.

Everything might have worked out as planned had the car not flown apart shortly after leaving the ramp. Luckily Mr. Powers only suffered a broken back. No biggie, because he had already been there and done that seven times over."
posted by bluefrog at 7:19 PM on January 7, 2009

This was featured on the Discovery program "Destroyed in Seconds." And it's on youtube.
posted by dead cousin ted at 7:27 PM on January 7, 2009

I saw this on Destroyed in Seconds the other day. I'll try and recall the details as accurately as I can.

Apparently, the car started porpoising from the poor road surface on the run up to the ramp, and the car was damaged enough that it's launch speed from the ramp was about 90-100mph low (170 as opposed to 270?), and the parachute was prematurely activated (before it left the ramp, even) which caused the early screw up.

Mind you, it doesn't really look like the parachute would have been much use if he'd actually managed to get proper airborne, from the size of it.
posted by Brockles at 7:31 PM on January 7, 2009

A more detailed story is here, including the fact that the wrong driver was in the car.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 7:35 PM on January 7, 2009

The NFB documentary Devil At Your Heels is the complete and totally amazing story of Ken Carter and that jump, including the Shakespearean levels of betrayal behind Powers being in the car rather than Carter. It's one of the best documentaries ever made in this country, and almost impossible to find. Your best bet, if you live in Canada, is to find a VHS copy in your library system. I'm one of a handful people in Canada that have a DVD copy because I ordered it direct from the NFB, but apparently you can't do that anymore.
posted by Bobby Bittman at 9:00 PM on January 7, 2009

That's why the Lord invented Bittorrent, Bobby Bittman (woah... eponysterical).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:49 AM on January 8, 2009

I remember seeing this in one of the Faces of Death movies (number II)
posted by phirleh at 7:18 AM on January 8, 2009

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