In case you haven’t heard of a wheel-stander, its a drag car that has been designed to ride a wheelie for long periods of time. Usually the floor is plexiglas so the driver can see where he is going and because the front wheels are in the air you can’t steer the vehicle, in the conventional sense of the word. Most are set up with individual brakes on the rear tires so the driver can brake one or the other to help keep them straight. Others just go for it.
One of the original wheel-standers was known as the “Hemi Under Glass” because it had a massive Hemi engine that had been rear mounted on late 60’s Plymouth Barracuda and you could view the engine right through the glass fastback. To get the front wheels of a car over six feet in the air, you need a lot of power, the Hemi under glass for example produces 2500hp. Driver of this wicked car was Bob Riggle, a long time stuntman that has been driving it over 50 years. So taking a big time TV star and hardcore gearhead like Jay Leno on a ride for Jay’s show should be just another day at the office for Riggle, right?
Well things started out fairly normal with Jay being strapped into the passenger seat as Riggle makes his first pass. I don’t to ruin the end but lets just say things take a very interesting turn.
I have been attending local drag races since I was a kid and there was a guy by the name Ed “the Outlaw” Jones that drove two different wheel-standers he would bring out. One was a firetruck and that was pretty cool. The other was a stagecoach that had this huge motor with a big old blower sticking right out the back of this thing. It would shoot flames out the back like a jet car and then it would run the 1/4 mile in 11 seconds at 140+ mph while on two wheels. Jones has been running since the early 80’s all over the U.S. so its possible you’ve seen him as well.
I found a few videos of Jones running but the quality isn’t that great. I did find one that interview where he goes through more of the details of the vehicle.