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Stealth Muscle Car comes to THHS

A transparent windshield is not necessary for Supercar navigation. Photo: Tammy Francois1 / 2
The onboard screens and 360-degree camera see more than a driver can.2 / 2

Last Monday the U.S. Air Force arrived in Two Harbors, but not in a jet. Instead, they rolled in towing a trailer containing the ultimate project vehicle --the $200,000 Dodge Challenger Vapor Supercar.

Eric Brown, the U.S.A.F.'s civilian tour director said that the car was built by seven U.S.A.F. airmen with the help of the folks at Galpin Auto Sports in Van Nuys, Calif. If that name sounds familiar, it's probably because GAS is one of the premier auto customizing companies in the country, made famous by MTV's Pimp My Ride. GAS's "Mad Mike," who also appeared on the show, is a U.S.A.F. veteran and helped upgrade the vehicle from American muscle car to every gear-head's fantasy.

"Most people associate the Air Force with flying, but it's about technology," said Brown. "The car has a 360 degree surveillance camera, infrared, thermal vision and biometric design." In other words, the car doesn't need a key, it recognizes Brown's thumbprint.

From the outside, the vehicle looks like an ordinary car, except for the matte black finish of the paint. The inside, however looks like the Batmobile. A row of monitors has been installed in the dash, eliminating the need for a transparent windshield. From the inside of the car only a small rectangle allows the driver to see to the outside. The Supercar, of course, is not just a bucket of fancy gadgets, it's also fast. Brown said the car has a gas powered engine, but also uses nitrous oxide to boost speed.

"We've had it up to 150 mph," he said," and it will go faster." But the cost of repair or replacement make high speed experiments unwise, he quipped.

The Supercar was at Two Harbors High School for just a few hours before it was to be re-trailered and hauled to Duluth for another event. At first Brown said that the reason the U.S.A.F takes the car from place to place--over 45 schools, car and air shows, and concerts per year--is to make people aware of the Air Force's emphasis on technology, but he later admitted that it is also a recruiting tool.

"We put the technology in the car because some of these kids are already working on cars," he said. While many students may not have had an opportunity to see a stealth bomber up close, the car is a portable analogue in some respects, he added.