Rob Dyrdek's "kick flip" stunt in a Chevrolet Sonic effectively sealed his place in the hallowed halls of stunt driver lore. As it turns out, actually pulling off a 360-degree barrel roll in a vehicle is one of the most challenging stunts one can perform. Driving on two wheels? Cakewalk. Knocking down a series of buses stacked on their ends? As easy as sucking pea soup through a crazy straw. The barrel roll requires stacks of mathematical calculations to account for everything from the vehicle's weight to its speed and the exact rotation angle of each ramp.

But Dyrdek wasn't the first guy to successfully execute such a bit of insanity. He's one of a select few stunt drivers to do the deed, and Popular Mechanics has taken a look at those who have tackled the automotive barrel roll in the past. Dyrdek's stunt was actually an almost exact replica of the Astro Spiral Jump as performed in 1972 at the Houston Astrodome. That exercise used a significantly classier AMC Javelin, however. Head over to Popular Mechanics to check out the video series and click past the jump for a clip on the Astro Spiral Jump.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      TahsinZ
      • 3 Years Ago
      Now, that's what I would call a "javelin"
      bobgailmax
      • 3 Years Ago
      If you think it looks impresive being done with an AMC Javelin, check YouTube for "Man with the Golden Gun car jump". They did it with a Hornet in that 1974 James Bond flick. And they did it across a river. Back when movie stunts were more than just CGI nonsense.
      SteveM
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's funny, but seeing the Grem and Javelin in that video I realized that AMC was aesthetically ahead of it's time by about 4 decades. That "C Pillar" design looks strikingly similar to the Muranos and other SUV/CUV designs on the road right now.
      NC1
      • 3 Years Ago
      Did you notice the little rear bogey wheel next to the rear differential at 2:37? I wonder why that was needed. perhaps in case the left rear wheel came down off the ramp on landing.
        1guyin10
        • 3 Years Ago
        @NC1
        My guess would be that it there to help carry the load and keep from breaking the rear axle.
      1guyin10
      • 3 Years Ago
      I miss my old Javelin!
      Clock
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm fairly sure ever used car I've bought from a dealership has done a barrel roll
      Josh
      • 3 Years Ago
      pour some out for SpeedVision.
        budwsr25
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Josh
        RIP speedvision and the lost drive in.
          Groagun
          • 3 Years Ago
          @budwsr25
          HAHA, that's funny" I don't care about the barrel role stuff but what caught my eye was the old Speed Vision logo, I'm sad it's gone to never return.