Tuesday, May 17

Here’s How We Are Going To Jump A Ram TRX Over The U.S. Capitol

Image for article titled Here's How We Are Going To Jump A Ram TRX Over The U.S. Capitol

Illustration: Steve DaSilva

In a few weeks I (Andy) will be road tripping a new Ram 1500 TRX from here in New York City to our nation’s capitol in Washington, D.C. It’s gonna be a pretty sweet (an expensive) little drive in the 702 horsepower pickup. However, the 250 mile drive to D.C. is only a footnote in my true plans for the TRX.

You see, reader, the TRX is known for being able to jump… and jump high. So, last week while milling about in the Jalopnik office, we got to thinking. What would it take to jump a Ram TRX over the U.S. Capitol Building Evil Knievel style? We did just pass the 14 year and five month anniversary of his death.

As it turns out, it is somehow a lot while still not being as much as you’d think.

(FBI and Stellantis please look away now.)

I even drew up a little diagram for how it would all work. It’s very good, isn’t it. Exact proportions and everything.


Illustration: Andy Kalmowitz

We — and by we, I mean Steve — calculated that the total distance of the jump would be 1,238.3 feet long. Me and the TRX will have to clear not only the Capitol itself, but a Capitol Reflecting Pool. On that subject, did you know that there are actually two reflecting pools in D.C.? There’s the one we all know about and another one behind the Capitol. Weird.


There’s also a very big dropoff at the back that needs to be accounted for. You see, Capitol Hill is literally a hill, so while the ground may be flat on the approach from the east, it drops off dramatically at the back from the west.

First things first, we would need a ramp, and a big one at that. Just how big? Well, it’ll have to be 2,832 feet long. It’ll be placed at the east end of the Capitol down East Capitol Street. It’s honestly the perfect road for such a thing, as it’s nearly flat and dead straight a tick over 4,000 feet long. That should provide enough distance for the TRX to reach its electronically limited top speed of 118 mph. It’ll also have to be angled at about 30 degrees, yeah it’s a lot, but the TRX can take it, we assure you. The ramp will also be 1,635 feet high in order to clear the Capitol Buildings peak at 288 feet.

These are some of the basics we are dealing with. This is the stuff I can nearly handle. But, here is where I turn it over to Steve to really get into the nitty gritty of how this would all work. Steve, take it away.

Thanks, Andy. So, the first problem to deal with here is the car. Obviously, an enormous, heavy truck comes with limitations — a mass, size, and maximum velocity. For the TRX, that last one is a pretty major limiting factor — it’s electronically limited to 118 mph. With that as our optimal takeoff speed, and a mass of 6,439 lbs, our flight is less soaring than directed falling. That means we need a big ramp.

As Andy said, topographical maps of Washington D.C. (which we are definitely not on a list for Googling) show a substantial drop in height between the Eastern and Western edges of the Capitol property — 115 feet, to be exact. That gives us a bit of an advantage, since Andy will be jumping from that direction, and we can essentially shave 115 feet off of our necessary ramp height.

Unfortunately, my degree is in marketing rather than physics, so I can’t quite combine all these variables in my head to spit out a perfect simulation. Luckily, the Internet has my back, and calculators exist to determine the exact conditions of an automobile jump. What a world. The result?

Image for article titled Here's How We Are Going To Jump A Ram TRX Over The U.S. Capitol

Yeah, that sure is a graph. Let me paint you a little better picture.

We begin at Lincoln Park, the intersection between 11th Street and East Capitol Street. Andy shifts the TRX into drive and slams the pedal down, 702 horsepower roaring their way to life as all four tires fight for grip. He races down East Capitol, gaining speed as he approaches the intersection with Sixth Street — and the beginning of our ramp.

The truck bounces as it starts to ascend the 30-degree incline, but Andy doesn’t let the engine rest. The transmission shifts through each gear at redline, approaching its 118 mph maximum as the truck continues to climb. As he passes the Supreme Court on his right, the engine screams for mercy — not knowing that things don’t get easier from here.

Onlookers gawk as the TRX crosses onto Capitol property, still ascending the ramp until the last possible second — just before the stairs that mark the building’s entrance, Andy finds no more ramp beneath his wheels. He’s flying, truly flying, 1,500 feet above the Capitol and ascending further as momentum carries him upwards.

For just over two seconds.

Eighty feet above the top of the ramp, momentum can no longer carry the Ram skyward. It flattens out, then Andy’s heart jumps to his throat as the truck pitches back towards Earth. It falls faster, faster, rapidly approaching its terminal downward velocity of 152 mph — though still moving horizontally quickly enough to clear the building’s rear reflecting pool.

Andy lands 25.64 seconds after takeoff. His back is likely not in great shape. But he’s done something most can only dream of: He’s jumped the Capitol building in the world’s most American vehicle.

Steve, thank you for that. With this sound math in mind, I see no reason my feat cannot be accomplished. All I need is the TRX and someone to build the ramp.

Image for article titled Here's How We Are Going To Jump A Ram TRX Over The U.S. Capitol

Photo: Anefo via WikiMedia Commons

This will be a similar accomplishment to Bob Beamon’s record breaking 1968 Olympic Long Jump when he recorded an absolutely unprecedented jump length of 29 feet 2.5 inches. It shattered the previous record of 27 feet 4.75 inches.

After the jump, and being overcome with emotion, Beamon said on the jump, “I felt alone.”

I can only assume that’s how I will feel, right before Capitol Police, Metro Police, SWAT, the FBI, CIA, NSA, National Guard, NHTSA, FAA and Kamala Harris herself arrest me on the spot after my landing.


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