Launching a Buick Roadmaster 165 Feet Takes Nerves of Steel
Stunt driver Jim York set out to recreate the wagon jump from National Lampoon’s Vacation and went even bigger.
We’ve had decades of crazy stuff happening on the internet now, and there are precious few things that truly drop your jaw to the ground. Hell, we all collectively yawn at most things that would’ve caused a riot a few years ago. But one stunt driver with an LS-swapped Buick Roadmaster went and made all of our jaws fall off with one of the biggest real jumps we’ve ever seen.
Jim York is a daredevil from Utah who grew up thrashing cheap cars on dirt roads. His antics caught the attention of Travis Pastrana, who York teamed up with to form a new YouTube channel called Channel199. The channel is exactly what you expect: Insane stunts from folks with nine lives. For this jump, he was inspired by a scene in National Lampoon’s Vacation where Chevy Chase (playing Clark Griswold) jumps the Family Truckster station wagon 150 feet. His goal was simple: “Go farther than Clark Griswold.”
The Roadmaster was bought for $1,200 on Facebook and built by Moorespeed Performance in Ohio in just 10 days. With the help of Dixxon Flannel and Travis Pastrana, York took it to Holley LS Fest East to jump it off of a colossal, pre-built dirt ramp. Armed with nothing but a fire suit and HANS device, a basic roll cage, and a five-point harness, he flew the big wagon for 165 feet before landing hard, tacoing the front of the Roadmaster, rolling twice, and jumping out to celebrate his victory before the dust could even settle.
When speaking to The Drive about the jump, York said he was nervous, but not because of the jump. He “just doesn’t want to disappoint a crowd.” Before the jump, he wasn’t even sure he could make 150 feet. Two days prior, he had the ramp reprofiled to be more aggressive based on an eyeball assessment, citing that “we know enough to be safely dangerous.” The jump went from eight degrees to 12.5 degrees, with a target jump speed of 80 mph.
An hour before the jump, he realized that the run-up to the ramp was too bumpy. Right up until stunt time, York was digging rocks out of the ground to give himself a smooth jump. It wasn’t until he made his first real run that he finally felt it all click, saw 55 mph on the digital speedometer, and committed to making the jump at full speed. While he was in the air, York felt like he “could’ve called my mom and written some emails” with the airtime he had. He flew past the finish line flags set up at 150 feet and knew he made it in mid-air, but the nose of the Roadmaster pitched down at the last moment. He braced and described the landing as “violent, with glass shattering everywhere.”
But York did it and beat Clark Griswold’s 150-foot fake movie jump with a real-life, daredevil 165-footer that was spectacular. With the adrenaline still rushing through his body, he looked at the wreckage of the Roadmaster and thought, “I survived that. This is amazing.”
That, folks, is nerves of steel.
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