Posted Dec 30th 2011 1:30PM
Rob Dyrdek's "kick flip" stunt in a Chevrolet Sonic effectively sealed his place in the hallowed halls of stunt driver lore. As it turns out, actually pulling off a 360-degree barrel roll in a vehicle is one of the most challenging stunts one can perform. Driving on two wheels? Cakewalk. Knocking down a series of buses stacked on their ends? As easy as sucking pea soup through a crazy straw. The barrel roll requires stacks of mathematical calculations to account for everything from the vehicle's weight to its speed and the exact rotation angle of each ramp.
But Dyrdek wasn't the first guy to successfully execute such a bit of insanity. He's one of a select few stunt drivers to do the deed, and Popular Mechanics has taken a look at those who have tackled the automotive barrel roll in the past. Dyrdek's stunt was actually an almost exact replica of the Astro Spiral Jump as performed in 1972 at the Houston Astrodome. That exercise used a significantly classier AMC Javelin, however. Head over to Popular Mechanics to check out the video series and click past the jump for a clip on the Astro Spiral Jump.