Evel Knievel’s stunts seem relatively quaint now that viral videos are just a few clicks away. However, he’s an enduring icon whose stunts are no less impressive today.
The first stunt is the one that helped rocket Evel Knievel to fame while also nearly killing him in the process. We’re, of course, talking about the Caesar’s Palace fountain jump which was originally attempted in 1967.
While Pastrana was able to successfully complete the jump, Knievel wasn’t as lucky as he crashed at approximately 90 mph (144 km/h). There have been conflicting reports over how seriously Knievel was injured, but the History Channel says he broke his left hip, right ankle, hands and wrists. He also crushed his pelvis and reportedly spent nearly a month in a coma.
The second clip shows Pastrana jumping over 52 cars. This is a tribute to Knievel’s jump over 50 cars at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1973. Pastrana also jumped over 16 buses in a nod to the 14 buses that Knievel jumped in 1975.
While the stunts don’t seem quite as grand as they did decades ago, Knievel played an important role in popularizing extreme sports and stunts. As the History Channel noted, Knievel “opened the taps to lucrative film and merchandise deals, and set the table for the billion-dollar extreme-sports industry that would follow decades later.” In essence, Knievel helped pave the way for Gymkhana and other types of extreme motoring events.