The Mile-long Jump

Obviously, this is not Kenny Powers jumping the St. Lawrence River in his 1976 Lincoln Continental. It's Taiwanese stuntman Ke Shouliang jumping a Mitsubishi across the Yellow River at China's Shaanxi province in north China.

AP Photo/Xinhua HO

In 1976, stunt driver Kenny Powers attempted one of the most extreme car stunts ever performed. Powers stepped in for stunt driver Ken Carter, who was originally supposed to make the jump, but couldn't. An eight-and-a-half story ramp was constructed above the St. Lawrence River in Morrisburg, Canada. Powers planned to jump his rocket-powered Lincoln Continental over the mile-wide river that separates Canada from the United States. It was the longest jump ever attempted and would have shattered all the records -- that is, if he had made it across.

Five years of planning and more than $1 million was spent in preparation for the jump. Powers' car, complete with small wings attached to the doors, reached a top speed of 280 miles per hour (450.6 kilometers per hour) before launching off of the end of the ramp. Just as the vehicle was in the air, several pieces of the car flew off (even the tiny wings) and a parachute deployed seconds before the car crashed into a shallow area on the Canadian side of the river. Powers survived, but broke his back in the failed attempt. Despite all the time and money put into this stunt, most people say the impossible physics of the jump doomed it from the very beginning.

To find out about a stunt that cost significantly less, but raised the stakes even higher than the mile-long jump stunt, go on to the next page.