Tailgating this car carries a heavy penalty

This hack seems simple enough:

  1. 1. Open hatchback
  2. 2. Insert jet engine
  3. 3. Profit

Actually, the guy who added a jet engine to a VW Beetle has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford. He claims this is street legal, and even has a snapshot of the police trying to figure out what to charge him with after stopping him on the road. There’s plenty of details and we’re not questioning [Ron Patrick's] competence, but having the intake for the turbine inside the cab of the vehicle seems a bit insane. He remarks that “it’s a little windy but not unbearable”… yeah.

One the same page you’ll find his dual-jet modified scooter. The starting cost there is considerably less, especially if you build your own ram jets.

[Thanks Goldscott]


  1. Mattj says:

    Not to be funny, but this has been around for quite a while, I can’t believe you haven’t seen it!

  2. The DON says:

    The Beetle-mobile

  3. osgeld says:

    mmm toasty

  4. Dan Fruzzetti says:

    seems to me that DRIVING THAT ON A STREET would also carry a heavy penalty

  5. caps says:

    ramjets would not operate well at all at the speeds a VW Beetle would go.

  6. KittyKat says:

    @Dan Did you miss the part that said Street legal? or just ignore it?

  7. Eddie says:

    Don’t forget to roll down the windows.

  8. Cynyr says:

    If you turn it on there, sure, otherwise why would it be different that hanging some wood out the back.

  9. medix says:

    Ever see the one built inside a minivan? (not this guy). You had to keep the side doors open, or it would suck the windows in.

  10. hpux735 says:

    It seems like a beetle is about the strangest choice for a hack like this. A 80’s muscle car would be more fitting, I think.

  11. AridTag says:

    Want a video of it in action!

  12. Jason says:


    They are useless for anything else

  13. Wolf says:

    Greatest. Hack. Ever.

  14. Tommy Faze says:

    I am thoroughly unfazed, while it’s a hack the working on the beetle fitting that engine was amateurish, and the actual metal works for the body rather raw. Same goes with the throttle installation and instrumentation.

    I rate this a C-

  15. zool says:

    yeah 3+ years old or so

    i like the jet powered scooter on his page though, hadn’t seen that one before

  16. Jack says:

    I think you meant to say “On the same page” not “One the same page”

  17. acoq says:

    Waiting for NFS: Jet propulsion

  18. Alex M. says:

    @medix: This is a jet engine, the minivan is powered by a helicopter turbine that drives the rear wheels (gas engine drives the front wheels). This provides thrust while the minivan’s turbine doesn’t.

    Still cool though.

  19. asdasd says:

    ramjets cannot work without an engine:
    they need a LOT of air to work so it’s usable only on planes(also it’s an old and unused concept).

    It’s better to have a pulse-jet that cost almost nothing and it’s evene simplyer!

  20. bfsgbvsd says:


  21. Hirudinea says:


    Nah, he should have used a Smart Car!

  22. Jason says:

    @Tommy Faze

    so wheres your jet powered car? since you have done so many and all.

  23. xorpunk says:

    How is this even remotely street legal? It literally incinerates the vehicles behind it..

  24. cmholm says:

    Back in the early ’90’s, an older Honda Civic passed me on the Simi Valley freeway, headed towards Moorpark College. It included an air scoop on the roof, linked to a duct dropping behind the front seats, and a CA license plate was cut in two, each half hinged to swing open and expose a large diameter tailpipe. After the car passed, the plate halves swung shut.

    Unfortunately, I had the radio on too loud to notice if there had been a turbine sound, and I didn’t opt to be late to work and follow the car to its destination for a better look/explanation.

  25. biozz says:

    did it really have to be a beetle? … the joke among cars? XD

  26. Erwin says:

    “has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford”
    So what? his still a dumb4ss

    What to charge him with maybe killing the driver of the car behind him. Also that car is a piece of …

  27. Draco says:

    So that is where our research dollars go!!

  28. 60's stuff says:

    “did it really have to be a beetle? … the joke among cars? XD”
    Well, yeah, for the colors/flashbacks.

  29. Taylor Alexander says:

    Guys, I think part of the reason he chose a Beetle was for exactly the reason that you’re all saying he shouldn’t have… Because its totally the wrong car… and that makes it funny!

    Get a sense of humor people!

  30. vonskippy says:

    “has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford”

    Unless he spent more time in the Crown Quad then Building 560, it doesn’t make him a law expert.

    No WAY is that street legal.

    Lets see him site the law that allows that on the road.

  31. pogyhauler says:


    We’ve seen rockets/turbojets/ramjets/pulsejets
    of any size shape or description attached to anything that moves. Including a couch on casters.

    Nobody remembers Mad Max?

    The notion was already old and boring before ‘Hooper’. The movie sucked but at least they had the grace to use a Camaro.

    I guess even Stanford Grads can have more money than sense.

  32. Skitchin says:

  33. bob says:

    Nice work if not new nor practical.

    He’s lucky he wasn’t stopped by “Ponch” & “Jon”.
    Those CHiPs guys kick ass.

  34. zing says:


    It is street legal, but only as long as he doesn’t turn on the jet while on public property. It still has a regular gas engine.

    They could get him with a noise citation, though.

  35. Josh says:

    Wow! I remember seeing (hearing!) this in person a few years ago. The owner is a unique (nice) individual.

  36. JB says:

    Great hack. Nice to keep tailgaters at the right distance :P

    If the picture is 1/20th the fireball, I want to see a video (zoomed out). Cool stuff. It is nice to have money.

  37. Zac says:

    Not Street legal in the US.

    US DOT requires a little thing called a “bumper” capable of absorbing low speed (2 MPH) impact damage on passenger vehicles. I don’t see a bumper on the end of that jet.

    He gets away with it because California doesn’t have a comprehensive safety inspection (only emissions).

    Or if he classifies it as a non “passenger vehicle,” that doesn’t have to meet bumper standards. Maybe if he carries around a loaf, he can try and pretend it’s a bread truck.

  38. nubie says:

    I am guessing that “Tommy Faze” hasn’t had a look at the extensive aluminum frame attached to the body underneath the bumper skin.

    The metalwork inside (did you mean bodywork? That is likely polyurathane), is pristine.

    This is pretty old, I have seen it in Mags and David Letterman had it in a segment for his show (he said the visibility was “10 miles, or nearly infinite”, here in California’s great Valley that isn’t really a long distance, 30 miles would be a much clearer day.)

  39. Spork says:

    You forgot the step “????” That should be step 3 and 4 should be profit.

  40. D_ says:

    Oh my God! The dude could be sent to Gitmo to be water boarded, to reveal his terrorist connections. That or on BSer was BSin another BSer Anyway in many States any thing extends 3 feet past a vehicle taillights has to have a red flag during the day and a red cluster light at night. God dammit I forgot to take the cluster light off before lighting it up again, gotta buy a new one,again. Driving that thing down the road in cattle country ma set off a stampede.

  41. erica says:

    My solution for tailgators isnt that extreme.. though I am impressed.

    I just start washing my windsheild with fluid. If they are too close, it smears the tailgators windshield. he smears it wiping it,. learns a lesson

  42. This thing is great. His site is funny. You can really pick up on his humor as he describes some of the tech details.

    I’d love to see that scooter with dual mounted jets.

  43. John says:

    1) Someone mentioned to quote the law that says that’s legal… I think the idea is to quote the law saying that it isn’t legal.

    2) Even if a cop does flash his lights, if he catches you to give you the ticket… then you’re doing it wrong.

  44. Space Cowboy says:

    A Honda Metropolitan with dual jet engines? Pardon me while I cringe, but that looks like an awfully good way to get oneself or one’s wife killed. It looks awesome, but many suicidal things look awesome until they’re removing you from the pavement with a spatula

  45. nicco says:

    lol, and the old air-cooled vw guys thought they should be concerned with a fire in back!

  46. PolyJetter says:

    Where else would the air intake reasonably be located except inside the vehicle? He could have used a longer jet engine and located it outside of the car but I think that is about the point where this mod (from like 1995) would have gone from extreme to bordering on pointless. Still, a fun exercise though.

  47. nicco says:


    as cmholm mentioned, there is always the possiblity of an air scoop on the roof. he might be able to cut a circle in his windsheild and run a straight-through intake. although that would probably make reaching the glove box from the driver’s seat a real bitch.

  48. mike says:

    Totally awesome, though he should channel the intake to some side scoops or something.

  49. EquinoXe says:

    Forget the beetle, check the WIFE’s scooter on his page!!

  50. SuperSparky says:

    OK guys, this is a very old story (more than five years). However, back when it came out there was an interesting following. I live in California and do know that this car is street legal. It’s true, the DMV has tried to make it illegal, but due to the inconvenience of something called the US Constitution, they cannot do anything about it, except make rules for new cars.

    It is illegal for any government in the USA to make a law that is retroactive (a legal term called “Ex Post Facto”). The laws that apply to this vehicle are the ones in effect at the time the car was manufactured. This means it qualifies as a hybrid and an alternative fueled vehicle.

    This engineer was smart. He didn’t modify the original drive train at all and therefore cannot be used as an excuse to remove it from the road. It is smog legal, according to the law. It is a hybrid, according to the law. It qualifies as an alternative fuel vehicle, according to the law (although he doesn’t make any attempts to exploit the exceptions given to such vehicles). It is mechanically safe, according to the law, as it retains all of its factory safety features and has additional ones added to strengthen that requirement.

    The fuel is expensive and he rarely fires it up, except in a controlled area. It’s mostly functional eye candy.

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