Stunt Drivers Perform at 1964 World’s Fair
The 1964 New York World’s Fair was an American car lover’s dream, the likes of which we aren’t likely to witness again. GM, Ford, and Chrysler were at their peak, and since the 1960s was an extravagant time, no expenses were spared. In addition to filling their pavilions with the latest production models, the Big 3 pulled put on a show for the world. General Motors had produced the legendary Futurama exhibit at the 1939 World’s Fair, which had set the bar high for future pavilions and events, so in 1964 they reprised it with their Futurama II exhibition. Ford hired Walt Disney to help with their pavilion—they came up with the Magic Skyway, where you could ride in one of the 135 Ford convertibles. Chrysler’s pavilion featured gigantic cars. Its “fair-within-a-fair” displayed the world’s biggest car, a huge walk-in engine, and a giant robot made of car parts. Visitors could even take a ride in a Chrysler Turbine Car on a small track.
On top of this, Chrysler provided the vehicles for the Hell Drivers auto thrill show at the fair. Thanks to these daring drivers, World’s Fair visitors enjoyed death-defying stunts in a 7,500-seat stadium. The Hell Drivers performed a one-hour show daily on weekdays and eight per day on weekends and holidays. Despite the danger that stunt drivers experienced, in 1964 the Hell Drivers boasted a zero-fatality rate for the previous 18 years of national shows.
Jimmie Lynch’s Death Dodgers also performed at the World’s Fair. They crashed their Dodges at break-neck speed through flaming walls, hurtled 55 miles per hour off of ramps, and raced side by side, inches apart, flying through the air as a third Dodge jumped between them.
The Death Dodgers and the Hell Drivers weren’t the only stunt drivers in North America—there were many others, including the International Auto Daredevils, who performed all around the country. The Daredevil’s clown, King Kovaz, won over crowds and relieved the audience’s tension between each dangerous stunt with his humorous antics.
We hope you enjoy the images and programs below from a couple of the driving teams and their performances.