Arthur Eugene "Art" Arfons (February 3, 1926 – December 3, 2007) was the world land speed record holder three times from 1964 to 1965 with his Green Monster series of jet-powered cars, after a series of Green Monster piston-engine and jet-engined dragsters.
He subsequently went on to field a succession of Green Monster turbine-engined pulling tractors, before returning to land speed record racing. He was announced as a 2008 inductee in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame three days after his death.
Art Arfons' father, Tom, was born in Greece and came to the United States at age 14. He settled in Akron, Ohio, where Art was born. Tom died in 1950, at age 52. His mother, Bessie, was half Cherokee, and died in 1984 at age 84. Arfons had two half brothers by his mother — Walt Arfons, ten years older, who was to become his partner and later competitor in motor sports, and Dale, eight years older, as well as one sister Lou, eighteen months older.
As penance, Thao's mother makes him work for Walt, who has him do odd jobs around the neighborhood, and the two form a grudging mutual respect. Thao's sister Sue (Ahney Her) introduces Walt to Hmong culture and helps him bond with the Hmong community, who soon become more like family to Walt than his actual family. Walt helps Thao get a job and gives him dating advice. Meanwhile, Walt gets a medical diagnosis that is not good.
Arfons' family operated a feed mill in rural Ohio, where the Arfons brothers exercised their mechanical skills and ingenuity. After his junior year of high school, at just under 17 years of age, Art joined the United States Navy. He was sent to diesel mechanic school, then assigned as a mechanic to a landing craft in the Pacific Theater.
This was a very good job for Arfons to utilize his mechanical talents. He participated in two battles including the invasion of Okinawa, and then was discharged after three years, as a Petty Officer Second Class. He returned to Ohio, was married, and had two sons and a daughter.
In 1952, he and his half-brother Walt became fascinated with drag racing and built their first Green Monster. In this endeavor, they were supported by their mother, who was also fascinated by the sport. Art and Walt continued their drag racing partnership with a series of Green Monster cars until the late 1950s, parting amicably but competing against each other.