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. Tomasito says:

    “They are useless for anything else”

    Mexican Cabs.

  2. Ben R says:

    About the scooter — It isn’t done. Notice the milk crates? And yes, it is terrifying – I have a Metropolitan and going 40mph is scary, let alone what those engines could make it go. Still.. I clicked through excitedly when I heard them say it was done. Still not, though, after all these years.

  3. fartface says:

    Note: it does not take a degree in engineering to do that. A high school dropout can put a different engine in anything else. All it takes is mechanical aptitude. Jet engines are actually EASY to deal with if you take the time to understand them. A friend put a helicopter turbine engine in a car and that was actually quite easy, the hard part was coming up with a system to connect to the transmission, he gave up on a stick shift and went automatic transmission as that worked well with the turbine’s output.

    People try to show this stuff as if it’s difficult or requires an advanced degree. It does not. All it takes is a mechanical aptitude and being able to read and learn.

    Oh and the ever hard to get part….. Money. Jet engines are not cheap, Helicopter turbines are not cheap. Putting a GM LT1 into a mazda Miata is cheap if you know where to get the stuff for free or cheap….

    And yes, I have done that. It’s not hard.

  4. PolyJetter says:

    “as cmholm mentioned, there is always the possiblity of an air scoop on the roof.”

    That would have to be a huge air scoop though to meet the needs of this turbine!

  5. apollo says:

    C’mon Hackaday – i saw this YEARS ago.

    however at the same time, its very clever how he got that motor to do what it does now.

  6. Torque says:

    I think the point is that there isn’t a law disallowing it, which is how many laws work. Look up selling babies in MI in around ’97

  7. Myke says:

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

    You fucking fail at South Park humour, Mike.

  8. Edd says:

    @Mattj – +1

    It’s street legal for it to be there, not to be used, as with everyone else, I saw this a while back so I’m not checking this for clarity but I recall reading it and him saying it’s classed as a hybrid because of 2 engines, of course I’m sure that was tongue in cheek.

  9. Hacksaw says:

    While thing that gets me about it is the fact that he said it hadn’t been done before. Chrysler built jet cars in the ’60’s.They were never sold but there are still 2 around today.

  10. GCL says:

    Chrysler built gas turbine powered cars. They used the same style turbines that Jet Engines wear, and in fact chose the ones that GE makes for powering navy ships, and geared them accordingly.

    However they were lousy on milage, and ate fuel the way teenagers eat hamburgers. The ones that were built were largely museum pieces, I believe one might be owned by that dolt Jay Leno, and one other might be sitting in their museum.

  11. James says:

    There was a twin jet powered MR2 on ebay about 6 years ago IIRC.

    Here’s the link


  12. brad says:

    That must be **SO** loud in the cabin… Jeez!

  13. Bensawsome says:

    This brings a new meaning of “burn in hell” to tailgaters :)

  14. turbochris says:

    I’m the person who owns the van mentioned here.


    I challenge Mr.Patrick to a 1/4 mile grudge race.

  15. Bruce says:

    You guys are missing the point. The guy built this thing as an engineering exercise – not as any vehicle intended to be a daily driver in full compliance. I was a cop for 25 years, and I can tell you that in my state there is nothing there that would disqualify this thing from being on the road – safety inspection or otherwise – as long as the jet isn’t fired up. The ONLY possible problem I could see – at least in my state – is that the law prohibits anything extending 3 feet or more from the rear of any vehicle unless it has a red flag attached. Easy enough to remedy that!

    Get a sense of humor, for Christs sake – he did a great job engineering that thing. And any cop that would break his balls over it needs to seriously rethink his choice of occupation. I’d stop him for one reason – to admire how the hell he built it!

  16. turbochris says:

    Ron Patrick. I’m throwing down the glove. Grudge race. 1/4 mile. Heads up.

    Jet Beetle vs Turbine Minivan

    The first daily driver jet race.

    It will be epic……

  17. Ragnar says:

    I had considered putting one of those million candlepower spotlights on the back of my car for the tailgators, for when the “brake check” doesn’t work. Also useful for the people who get behind you with their brights on.

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