||There are some conflicting sources on this, but some sources say that Kesey or Neal Cassady referred to Alpha-methyl tryptamine (AMT or IT-290) as "the Rolls Royce of Psychedelics". Although one visitor wrote in saying that the quote was from Kesey's "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test", it does not appear to be in that book.|
We do know that Kesey was given AMT as part of a government research program he volunteered for at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Menlo Park, CA. In addition to AMT, he was also given LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline. All of these substances would have been available to Neil Cassady as well. Around the time when Kesey and the Merry Pranksters drove across country, AMT went missing from a safe at the Menlo Park research center and there are rumors that AMT was available 'on the bus'.
In Michael Valentine Smith's book Psychedelic Chemistry (1981), Kesey is cited as describing AMT (IT-290) as the Rolls Royce drug: "Ken Kesey has reputedly said that alpha-methyltryptamine, in oral doses of ca. 30 mg, peaks in about 12 hours, produces a trip similar to psilocybin, but nicer, and is the 'Rolls Royce of psychedelics,' but others find it unpleasant."
Yet, in at least one published account, the "Rolls Royce" comment appears to be have been made by Neal Cassady in reference to Psilocybin, quoted in Timothy Leary's book Flashbacks. In the 1983 paperback version of "Flashbacks", chapter 7 (pages 51-55) is titled Secrets of the Beatniks. It describes Leary's turning on Neal Cassady in New York in December 1960 (this would be before either had experienced LSD-25). While Neal and his two female friends are coming down:
Neal leaped to his feet and began pacing the room. His face was flushed, radiating beneficence.
"This stuff is incredible! Are you sure it's legal?"
Salinas opened her sloe-eyes and smiled enigmatically. "It does seem too heavenly to be true. Admit it man, its addictive."
I shook my head.
"You wanted a report on this experience?" asked Neal.
"Well, I'll give you one expert's opinion. This combines the good sides of every other drug with none of the bad. This is the ultimate luxury, the flawless wisdom-pleasure hit. More mellow and cozy than heroin, but you don't nod out. I feel more alive and wired and energetic than with speed, but not jangly. Its got the blast of cocaine, but it lasted ten times longer."
"It must cost a fortune," said Salinas.
"It's spacey like the best hashish," continued Cassady, "but also light and bouncy."
"I've never been so horny in my life," said Patty-Belle.
"It's philosophical," added Cassady. "I could write a book about the cosmic thoughts I had. This is the Rolls Royce of dope. The ultimate high."
Waves of affection rippled around the room.