Walter Charles Afrons is one-half of a pair of half-brothers that took on the Bonneville Salt Flats with insanely powerful space-age thrust. Once partners, they became longtime bitter rivals, refusing to speak to one another. Walt Arfons passed away on June 4, 2013 at the age of 96, six years after his step-brother, Art.
In the 1950s, during some point late in that decade, the brothers became less cordial and began to see each other as bitter rivals, even refusing to speak to one another. The reason for their fallout is uncertain, but it is known that it was one of the longest and most intense rivalries in motorsports history. Afron’s amazing feats of speed caused the NHRA to outlaw aircraft engines. Their reason was that they feared auto manufacturers may withdraw from the sport.
Walt Arfons will be remembered for designing, building and racing the first jet-powered dragster and for adopting drogue parachutes, previously used in aircraft, to act as racing car brakes.
Walt Afrons was a champion and an innovator, one which the world is a lesser place without and a greater place because of his legacy of speed.