A new Craigslist listing has appeared in the California area for a jet-powered Volkswagen Beetle. The vehicle retains all of the stock components of it’s 2000s model year, save for one addition: a large jet engine taking up the back seat and protruding out of the hatchback door. Best of all? It’s still street legal.
Ron Patrick, the owner of the vehicle and man responsible for it’s modification, explained the reasoning for making the bizarre choice. Utilizing his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, Patrick wanted to find a way to bypass certain California automotive laws.
"In California, new cars have biennial smog inspections so if you modify the engine, it is likely to fail and you won't be able to drive it on the street. There are some exempt engine modifications, but none that will allow you to add 1,350 horsepower to a new car."
Patrick’s clever answer was to make the jet engine separate from the vehicle’s actual powertrain. Under the hood remains the stock four cylinder gas engine and automatic transmission. The vehicle is fully capable of running without activation of the jet engine. In turn, the jet can also run without needing the vehicle to be running (though we don’t recommend that).
So what about the jet itself? It’s a T58 Jet Engine (often used in beefy helicopters) that has been attached to the vehicle chassis and modified for control at the steering wheel.
When asked how fast the Rocket Bug can go, Patrick responded that they didn’t know, nor will they find out. They stated that "the car was built to thrill me, not kill me. That doesn't stop me from the occasional blast on the highway, though."
The Rocket Bug might not be for everyone. Namely, it might not be suitable for anyone that isn't willing to drop $550,000 to cover the sale. A heavy price to pay for a 2000 Volkswagen Beetle. But can you really put a price on being the coolest guy at any auto show you go to? Unfortunately, the listing is now about two weeks old, so there’s a fair chance someone already put in an offer.