This site is for my father, Bobby Tatroe and his involvement in the Drag Racing world, both 1/4 mile and Land Speed.
It is also for and about the Arfons Family, including Walt, Craig (Walt's son, may he rest in peace) and Art. It is also about the beginning of the Jet Powered Drag Racing era, which is still happening, BIG TIME !!
My name is Chip Tatroe and I'm attempting to piece all of this together myself, as Dad passed on Nov. 27 1998. May he rest in peace.
I used the name American Jet Cars because that is what Dad was calling his jet car business after he bought it from Walt.
Although I don't know if it was ever made official.
There are a lot of pictures and newspaper articles to look at and read, along with a few records and bio's.
Of course I have to give thanks and praise to Gert & Walt Arfons, if not for them none of this would have happened. They treated Dad like a son and he thought the world of them also.
" Walt is one of the Original Pioneers of Drag Racing. He is the
Greatest as far as I'm concerned ! "(Bobby Tatroe)
I also wish to thank Doug Rose, Bob Motz, Fred Sibley, Craig Breedlove, Art Arfons and countless other people across the USA and
Canada that knew and accepted Dad for what he was and did.
If you knew Bobby and or Walt and have a story or any info about them I would be more than happy to hear from you.
One last thing, I've seen the TV programs, video tapes and the interviews with the jet car people of today and have heard some of
them say that the early jets were death traps and unsafe to drive. To that I say if the car said Walt Arfons, or Bobby Tatroe on the side
you were safer than in your family car. Safety was always first and foremost. Dad averaged 80 to 90,000 miles a year taking these cars
all over these United States and Canada for almost ten years and only got injured once. That injury was in an experimental steam car and
required only two or three stitches ! Compared to the jets of today they were heavy and cumbersome, but they also were just exhibition
and the fastest thing on the 1/4 mile ! Just ask Don Garlits or Tommy Ivo or any other Top Fueler of the same time period.
All of these jet cars, including the first "Wingfoot Express", used a J-46 Westinghouse Turbo-Jet Engine taken from the F 7U-3 Cutlass
USN Carrier Plane. They had 7,000 lbs. of thrust with 10,000 hp and used full military afterburners.
They made a lot of noise and smoke !!!
If you would like to see what one of their shows were like, read this four part article, it appeared in Dragworld 9-29-67. Count how many runs Bobby made that night in two different cars, plus burning a car !
Say what you will, to us who were there, they will always be the best because it was just for fun and show.
I will be adding to and updating this site whenever I can, so pick an area from the new
menu at left (or the old menu at the bottom) and enjoy a bit of history.
Walt "Poppy" Arfons & the 1st successful Jet Dragster 1960-61
"The Green Monster"