No, this isn’t the infamous Kenny Powers you’re thinking of. Although with as crazy as the stunt was, it wouldn’t surprise us if the Eastbound and Down Kenny Powers character was somehow influenced by the real Kenny. Back in 1979, Kenny came up with the wild idea that he was going to launch a rocket-powered car over the St. Lawrence River, a gap that was nearly a mile wide. That’s more than three times the distance that Evel Knievel attempted with his famous Snake River Gorge jump. If Kenny was successful it would be the longest car jump in history, by a large margin if I might add. The “super jump” took roughly four years of planning and apparently cost more than $1 million to set up. The ramp stood nearly 9 stories high and looks like it belongs in a cartoon rather than real life. And when you add the rocket powered car into the mix, the whole thing sounds almost too ridiculous to believe it really happened.
According to reports, the car would have to be traveling at approximately 280mph when it hit the top of the ramp in order to complete the jump. So you’d think it would be a car that was streamlined and essentially shaped like a plane, or rocket actually. But no, not even close. Instead, they used a Lincoln Continental, the giant boat from the late ’70s. You know, the ones that have roughly the same aerodynamic efficiency as a school bus. In an attempt to make car handle flying through the air, it was fitted with these short stubby wings on each side that almost look more comical than functional. When you look at the big picture of the “Super Jump” it just seems so far-fetched and completely unrealistic. But when you have the name Kenny Powers, unrealistic means nothing to you. Fortunately, Kenny lived to jump another day and he worked as a stunt driver on iconic films like Smokey and the Bandit. But nothing would ever compare with the spectacle performed on the bank of the St. Lawrence River.