In 1968, Art Arfons built the first rail-type jet dragster,
a little J-34 car later driven for many years by Bob Motz.
This car remained the only rail-type jet dragster until 1977 when in May the first J-85
car, the Gustin/Palamides "Daily C II", was given approval by NHRA.
Third of the Gustin/Palamides jets, the "Daily C II" weighed 1,300 pounds
ready to run as compared to 2,400 to 2,800 pounds for the J-34 powered
"Daily C" and "For Special" cars (under different sponsorship the
"For Special" became the "Sherbits" car). Handling problems prevented
the "Daily C II" from showing the real potential of the J-85. At Napierville Speedway
in Montreal, Gustin was forced to shut-off early, running a 7.19 e.t.
with a 128.38 mph speed. At York U.S. 30 Dragway, Gustin again shut-off
early to record a 6.72 e.t. with a 181.04 mph speed.
In March of 1979, NHRA approval of Craig Arfons J-85 "Green Monster" dragster
was announced in National Dragster. It would be this car, together with Wayne Knuth's
simultaneously constructed but more conservatively designed J-85 "Odyssey" rail-type
dragster, that would revolutionize jet car racing. Initially, Arfons was limited to single runs
only. Also in March of 1979, NHRA announced approval of the rail-type "Avenger"
J-34 jet dragster built by Lee Austin and driven by Dan Sullivan. In September of 1979 at Great
Lakes Drag-A-Way, Arfons ran a 6.08 second 277.77 mph pass.