Super-secret Area 51’72 Challenger revealed (against our better judgment).
By Scott Longman Photos by TheBruntBros
I had the first sense that something was really wrong when I showed up on the flightline. Everybody else there was sporting a high-and-tight haircut and wearing a uniform. I was sporting a mop of hair and a T-shirt showing the first page of the legendary “Dr. Eberg’s Weight Loss Diet” where we torched apart an Imperial piece by piece.
Our Air Force escort came down the door-stairs of the twin-prop commuter plane, looked at me and frowned, but didn’t say anything. He ushered us onto the aircraft, delivered a safety briefing, and we were airborne. The desert under us had craters in it big enough to hold Delaware. “The old Nevada Test Site. Not much radiation left. At least at this altitude.” He kept talking, about base in-processing, security restrictions, handing over cell phones and cameras, that kind of thing. While he was talking, I took a good look at the credentials they’d sent me. We get press passes all the time, so I hadn’t bothered to look before. Suddenly, I understood where things had gone wrong. See, we got the idea for this piece from the guys from JP Magazine. They make Jeeps to things that a gecko couldn’t, in places where gila monsters decline to live. Well, one day, they were out driving inverted on the bottom side of some ledge when they see this black Challenger streaking across the Nevada desert on the other side of the barbed wire. So they called us and we called the Air Force. We’d figured the Air Force had built it for recruiting, some kind of exhibition car. We rattled around the bureaucracy by phone, until I finally reached somebody who thought they could help me. I told ‘em: “We’re Mopar Action and we want to see the black project you’ve put together at Groom Lake.” The guy tapped a bunch of keys and then said: “darpa?” I didn’t know what that meant, so I just responded “hmmmm.”
Well, four days later, a FedEx shows up with a set of instructions and credentials. And I was now looking at them for the first time. They said: Property of the United States Air Force Groom Lake AFB Escorted Access Only Issued to: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Military Operations Planning and Research Advanced Computing Technology Institute.