Have a blast in these jet powered VWs

Forget the usual twin-carb kits, wild cam conversions and big-valve heads – there’s a totally radical school of thought that reckons taking the engine from an aircraft or helicopter and plonking it onto the back of a car is the only way to go when it comes to performance upgrades. Here’s a few whacky jet-engined VW creations that literally go like a rocket…

If you’re seeking the ultimate brown trouser moment, jet engines offer the perfect opportunity to transform your otherwise flaccid pride and joy into a high-speed missile. Incredibly, some jet powered cars are street legal so you could turn heads on the school run or on your regular journey to the shops. Although, let’s be honest, such conversions aren’t for the feint hearted!

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A particularly neat jet powered Dub creation is this Caddy-Jet belonging to Willy Müller which has a Ru19A-300 helicopter jet engine fitted in the back. Despite living in Germany, Willy’s managed to get round the strict road regulations to make this wild machine road legal by leaving the Caddy’s original engine in place. Believe it or not, the purposeful looking control lever for the jet engine is from a Russian MiG aircraft…

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The noise from the jet engine is, we understand, almost unbearable without ear defenders, so it wouldn’t be any good if you’ve got sensitive neighbours. Understandably, with the engine revving at 90% of its rated RPM, the original VW handbrake has difficulty keeping the car on the spot… You can see a video of it firing up here.

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Ron Patrick’s 1350bhp jet engined new Beetle (above) is just as impressive. With its original engine up front and a jet engine fitted in the back, it’s a technical masterpiece and goes to show just what can be done if you’ve got the know-how.

Said Ron, “The idea is that you drive around legally on the petrol engine and when you want to have some fun, you spin up the jet and get on the burner (you can start the jet while driving along on the petrol engine). I wanted the wildest street-legal ride possible – it was built to thrill me, not kill me, but that doesn’t stop me from the occasional blast on the highway.”


Then, of course, if you’re familiar with the shenanigans at Santa Pod’s Bug Jam and drag racing at York Raceway, you’ll already know about Ronnie Picardo’s Blue Max jet powered Beetle…

So what’s the drill if you want to convert your own Dub to rocket power? Well, tantalisingly we spotted a suitable Garrett GTP-70 jet engine for sale recently on eBay that would do the trick…

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According to the seller, it makes approximately 160bhp at 6000rpm and because it was being sold with a custom built adaptor plate enabling it to be used with a VW gearbox, also supplied in the sale, it would be suitable for any air-cooled project, assuming the correct mounts are fabricated. It failed to meet its $4500 starting bid, but you can get an idea of the possible costs of doing such a conversion. Given it’s compact size, you might even get away with taking out the back seats on a Beetle and simply having a huge hole in the bootlid for the thrust to escape, thus making it the ultimate ‘sleeper’. Now, wouldn’t that be a blast!


The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of VW Heritage


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