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September 25, 2005
 
Monster Garage
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Episode Guide/Car Specs
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See pictures of Jesse and the Flying Car.
Episode 62: Flying Car
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Monster Garage premiered on Discovery Channel in June 2002. Since then, Jesse James has led teams that have built vehicles that make beer, do wheelies, shake trees — even transport gorillas.

But all the while, Jesse had a dream: to build a car that flies.

Everyone said he couldn't do it (and the lawyers begged him not to do it), but Jesse James and his nine-man team managed to take a $100,000 Panoz Esperante sports car and create an airborne vehicle whose first flight matched the success of the Wright Brothers'.

After the team tore out the Panoz's plush interior to make room for a roll cage, installed a used propeller engine in the trunk, mounted 36-foot handmade wings to the car's exact center and secured a rear tail with a 15-foot fuselage, the flying car was taken to Kitty Hawk, N.C., home of the Wright Brothers' first flight. Under the power of the original Panoz engine, Jesse taxied the flying car onto the runway, started the propeller engine and, after hitting 80 mph, guided the automobile off the ground for 280 feet, landing safely without even a scratch to the Red Baron paint job.

Now, see pictures of Jesse and the Flying Car, and find out what airplane fabricator and parts supplier Ronnie Powers had to say about the build.

THE DESIGNERS

* Jesse James, custom-bike builder/designer, West Coast Choppers, Long Beach, Calif.
* Fireball Tim, artist and car designer, Malibu, Calif.
* Dan Panoz, founder and owner, Panoz Auto Development Company, Braselton, Ga.
* Ed Sweeney, aircraft mechanic, Black Forest, Colo.
* Neal Willford, engineer, new product development, Cessna Aviation, Andover, Kan.

THE BUILDERS

* Jesse James, custom-bike builder/designer, West Coast Choppers, Long Beach, Calif.
* Jason Barnes, vehicle engineer, Panoz Auto Development Company, Flowery Branch, Ga.
* Niclas Jancic, Panoz Auto expert, Georgia
* Mark Palmer, aircraft-design engineer, Peru, Kan.
* Ronnie Powers, airplane builder and owner, Atlanta Air Salvage, Griffith, Ga.
* Johan Ragnarsson, custom-car builder, Beuford, Ga.
* Chris Rusch, fabricator, Two Rivers, Wis.
* Andre Stowe, welder and metal-shop owner, San Diego, Calif.
* Ed Sweeney, aircraft mechanic, Black Forest, Colo.
* JD Terry, avionics/electrical engineer, Cessna Aviation, Wichita, Kan.
* Neal Willford, aircraft engineer, Cessna Aviation, Andover, Kan.

SPECS

Make: Panoz
Model: Esperante

Height: 80 inches
Width: 38 feet
Length With Parts Extended: 26 feet
Ground Clearance: 2.5 inches

 
 
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Pictures: DCI |

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