CHEVROLET SONIC COMPLETES RAMP TO RAMP JUMP ‘WITH A ROLL!’
This is how the emailed invite went:
Mike Ryan, Stunt Coordinator and owner of Picture Vehicles Unlimited is proud to announce that skate board champ and TV show host of Fantasy Factory, Rob Dyrdek will complete the first spiral jump seen in public since the mid 1970's.
Stuntman and friend James Smith and I studied the history and met with some of the folks that invented and performed the jumps in the '70's, including the one in the 1973 James Bond movie, "The Man with the Golden Gun". Rob wanted to do it and he let Elia at Jem Special Effects know about it. Elia told me and then Rob got Chevy involved.
Elia Popov and his crew at Jem Special Effects prepped the hero and test car, provided by sponsor and host, Chevrolet. The Picture Vehicles Unlimited stunt fabrication crew built the ramps and together, James Smith and I have completed 8 jumps into boxes and James landed one onto the catch ramp last Thursday. Now, we are ready to put Rob in the driver's seat.
Gates open at 9AM at the rear parking lot at Magic Mountain in Valencia. The jump goes off at 11AM, weather permitting. Please come out and see this very unique stunt. It is one of the most memorable and difficult to do automotive stunts ever.
Please come out and enjoy the day. Hope to see you there. Mike
Well, my ‘plus one,’ err, friend and aerobatic pilot, Torrey Ward, drove us to Magic Mountain to view the jump after a great breakfast. Upon our arrival, we garnered media passes which allowed us to mingle with the fellow technical and media types besides the production staff versus - the average spectator, haha. I was told the video footage from this jump will most likely be on the internet after a Chevrolet Sonic TV commercial airs during the SuperBowl.
The colder weather was somewhat windy but at least it was a ‘tail-wind’ if anything. This pilot, me, saw cloufd formations that I have never seen before with the winds blowing as such at altitude. Production crew that have been on-site since 5am said they have felt all four seasons as it was a milder 60 degrees earlier.
Driver Rob Dyrdek was given the go-ahead to make some acceleration passes after an extra hour of final preparations for what seemed like 20+ video cameras not including the massive sea of armed media types. A Life-Flight helicopter, a paramedic van and plenty of clinically lined ‘K rails’ were at the ready to ensure safety for all observers and for - the driver, Rob. The Chevrolet Sonic was thoroughly gone through regarding all the possible safety equipment including an ATL fuel cell and significant roll-cage besides the driver’s Hans device, helmet and full fire-suit with gloves.
The call was overheard on the many walkie-talkies that cameras were at speed and the next sound one will hear is Rob accelerating the Chevrolet Sonic to ~42 m.p.h. towards the very highly refined spiral’sh lead ramp. The Sonic left the ramp, rolled and stuck the landing with a significant ‘yaw’ out of the site of the spectators. But, given everything, any landing you can walk away from is a good one and - the crowd went wild. Their noise was commanding. Rob parked in front of the grandstands and climbed to the roof and thrusted his clenched fists above his head in victory.
I want to thank all of the production’s fine folks that put on a safe venue and allowed me to view such a magnificent and historical re-creation.
Paul T. Glessner
I am a journalist/member of AARWBA and an affiliate with Motor Press Guild. Oh, by the way, I am an aerodynamicist with 24 years of aircraft design and flight test experience. I am a commercial pilot and have a website aeroseminars.com where I consult on vehicle aerodynamics.