Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

VW Beetle Fitted with a Jet Engine 283

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the solid-gold-houses dept.
6031769 writes "Ron Patrick has decided to go that little bit further by souping up his VW beetle with a jet engine, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. Serious planning went into the project. Patrick said, 'We did (computerized) structural analysis and we did stability analysis. And by God, you know what happens? It works!' Contrast with the Rocket Boy to see how it should not be done." Yes, the Darwin award winner was found to be bogus, but unlike the myth, Ron still lives!
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

VW Beetle Fitted with a Jet Engine

Comments Filter:
  • Prior art (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 04, 2006 @10:30PM (#15267813)
    Hey i have prior art! I should have patented this...

    Signed,
    Batman
    • by bhtooefr (649901)
      I guess this was VW's prototype for the JETta? So, if it WAS a prototype, then would it violate any patents, seeing as they didn't put it into production? :P

      (OK, OK, OK, I know, Jetta's the name of a wind... but I couldn't resist. ;))
  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by talkingc (963431) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @10:30PM (#15267815)
    Is there a bumper sticker that says: How do you like my driving? Dial 1-800-EAT-SHIT.
  • VW Thunder (Score:5, Funny)

    by Metabolife (961249) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @10:31PM (#15267820)
    Ah.. finally, uselessness done right!
  • Zoom. (Score:3, Funny)

    by AlexanderDitto (972695) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @10:32PM (#15267828)
    In Soviet Russia, beetle get smashed on windsheild. In America, Beetle smash YOU!
  • Is it me (Score:5, Funny)

    by ad0gg (594412) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @10:35PM (#15267841)
    Or does combining a volkswagon bug and a tail pipe so large that it make goatse jealous seem very.. nevermind.
    • Re:Is it me (Score:2, Funny)

      by 1nsane0ne (607735)
      Is it just me or does seeing a car w/ a big exhaust and thinking of a mans ass seem very ....nevermind. And in regards to your sig, Have you ever seen a grown man naked?
      • Re:Is it me (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by ad0gg (594412)
        The temptation to change my sig to:

        I'm the most frequent slashdot poster at my jr high

        Is very great.

  • by CaptainCarrot (84625) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @10:39PM (#15267852)
    From TFA:

    Patrick says that once in a while he puts on a crash helmet (mainly as a sound muffler), takes the car out on nearby Highway 237 in the wee hours of the morning and fires it up for a brief and hopefully cop-free run.

    I frequently travel home from work on Hwy. 237 in Sunnyvale in the wee hours of the morning. I think I'd better watch out for this guy. I doubt my unmodfied Hyundai Accent could keep up, or even get out of the way for that matter.

    • I doubt it too. On the other hand, you'd see this guy coming from miles away - sky lit up with the flames and forty patrol cars on his tail.
    • I'm hoping he gets his direction straight . . . seeing as 237 T-bones into El Camino Real.

      Ouch.
    • I doubt my unmodfied Hyundai Accent could keep up, or even get out of the way for that matter.
      Hey, I drive an Accent too, and handling is the one thing it doesn't suck at!
  • by donaldGuy (969269) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @10:40PM (#15267858) Homepage
    German for nutcase
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @10:41PM (#15267860) Journal
    http://www.ecm-co.com.nyud.net:8080/jetbeetle/ [nyud.net]
    http://www.ecm-co.com.nyud.net:8090/jetbeetle/ [nyud.net]

    Coralizing the link doesn't seem to work for me, but YMMV.

    FYI - It's hosted on his business website, so try not to /. it.
    A mirror wouldn't hurt.

    -http://www.ecm-co.com/jetbeetle/
  • by ZachPruckowski (918562) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Thursday May 04, 2006 @10:41PM (#15267864)
    Yeah, I'd hate to see that speeding ticket. It'd cost twice as much as the rocket car.
    • Reminds me about a story I heard back in the 80's. This may just be urban legend, but apparently there was this guy in Europe who fitted a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine into a car. I think he got the engine out of a Spitfire fighter plane. Anyway, he'd go roaring up and down the autobahns in Germany at godawful speeds, but never got a ticket. As the story goes, there are a couple of places (not on the autobahn, I guess) where there are speed traps, with radar and cameras to take snapshots of speeding vehicl
      • "In the 1960s John Dodd of Kent, England put a Merlin engine (some say it actually was a Rover built Rolls-Royce Meteor, which was a de-tuned Merlin without superchargers and with steel components replacing some aluminium ones) in a car called "The Beast". Originally it had a grille from a Rolls Royce, but after complaints from them he had to change it. According to his own account he once drove by a Porsche driver on the autobahn who then called Rolls Royce asking about their "new model". The Beast was onc
        • by Flying pig (925874) on Friday May 05, 2006 @03:32AM (#15268687)
          I worked for a while in the 80s for one of the companies that were involved in the original Merlin development. I believe there has been more than one Meteor powered car (I really wouldn't want a full Merlin which would make the jet powered VW look pretty wimpy.) Our R&D people were involved in tractor racing, and one of the competitors had a Merlin powered tractor. We, on the other hand, had a turbocharged Diesel. They came back from one weekend somewhat elated having beaten the Merlin. Apparently the Diesel had been running at 5.8 atmospheres boost - that's about 85PSI.

          So I am afraid this jet car is actually a bit pathetic. It's no more powerful than the (street legal, normally drivable) VW Bugatti, which costs about the same, and it is less powerful than a suitable modded tractor engine.

          What I took away from that company was an in-dept knowledge of how to produce a hardened engine management system, and a lifelong passion for Diesels. As our Technical Director used to say, and history has proved him right, with the exception of power to weight ratio there is absolutely no measure on which a Diesel cannot be made to out-perform every other type of combustion engine.

          • So I am afraid this jet car is actually a bit pathetic. It's no more powerful than the (street legal, normally drivable) VW Bugatti, which costs about the same, and it is less powerful than a suitable modded tractor engine.

            The Bugatti Veyron retails for over a million dollars. This guy paid the cost of a VW Beetle and 250g more. So we're looking at under $300k for the whole deal. He could build three and still have enough cash left over for a more sensible car, like a Porsche, with the $$ it'd take to buy a
        • Doesn't sound quite so exciting now that the Bugatti Veyron is a "production" car with 1000 bhp.
          Of course that was 40 years ago, but still...
      • http://www.metacafe.com/watch/37523/speed_camera_ t est/ [metacafe.com]

        The guys at Top Gear went to an airstrip to test the speed camera 'myth'.

        Long story short: In their very unscientific test, the British version of the Speed Camera did not go off when you're going ~170MPH. No Flash, no picture, nothing.

        I imagine a 1980's speed camera wasn't designed to capture very high speed objects.
  • Sigh (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    At least he didn't decide to suprise the owner with this upgrade, like this guy did... [engadget.com]
  • by Tablizer (95088) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @10:43PM (#15267873) Homepage Journal
    "Darwin Express"
  • It's one thing to be tricking out a Honda Civic (ricer) or IROC (white trash), but adding a jet engine to a new Beetle in San Francisco is the tuner equivalent of Richard Simmons dancing in an Elton John music video.
  • This is CARBAGE.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 04, 2006 @10:47PM (#15267894)
    This is nothing NEW!! Jet engines all the time in TopGear..

    http://www.topgear.com/content/timetoburn/sections /carbage/pages/0412/ [topgear.com]

  • Fill 'er up (Score:2, Funny)

    by butterwise (862336)
    This guy must be pretty confident the cost of gas will eventually come back down.
  • but can it fly? and can you imagine the MPG on that thing? it would probably make jumbo jet sized SUV's jealous!
    • ...can you imagine the MPG on that thing?

      You've got it backwards. You mean GPM. Seriously.

    • My biggest question is, how efficient is this for forward motion of the car. A 1400+ horsepower engine that propels the car to 160 mph seems rather inefficient. A lot of production cars can reach this speed. A c6 corvette can easily achieve this speed. Hell, many cars with at least 300 horsepower and a reasonable weight can go this fast.
  • Turbonique (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cirby (2599) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @10:53PM (#15267923)
    Back in the 1960s, a company called Turbonique made (along with a rocket-powered turbocharger for "normal" engines), rocket engines for automobiles.

    One of these gadgets pushed a VW Beetle (the old, cool kind, not those new toys) to a 9.36 ET at 168 mph in the quarter mile.

    Later, someone built a rocket-powered go-kart which managed about 240 MPH...

    • Yep. Powered by Hydrogen Peroxide at torpedo fuel strengths. Bolted on back of a Halibrand race/custom diff for cars, iirc, think reaction engine only on go-karts though. I remember one person's complaint that at speeds over 150mph the front wheels of his kart tended to lift a bit.
    • Here's [typepad.com] a very funny and well written article about Turbonique history and the insanty of rocket dragsters. Found via Coop's blog with a comment along the lines of "If this doesn't make you tight in the pants, I don't know what will."
    • And back in the mid 80's there was another one that did shows in 1/4 mile races en Mexico, racing against a Mack Truck that also had a rocket...I don't remember the times, but the damn things were fast and noisy...and those of us on the pits at the local track (the pits in Monterrey's speedway used to be right besides the 1/4 mile track) would feel very uncomfortable heat when they sped past.

      It was lots of fun :)

      On the other hand, the rocket in this VW is a small one, at least compared to the one that Manau
  • by daemonenwind (178848) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @11:04PM (#15267962)
    Spinners, HID-headlights and a massive wing spoiler to go with that fat chrome tip.

    Time to pimp das Auto! Amerikan engineering in da Haus, ja.
  • by KarmaOverDogma (681451) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @11:06PM (#15267971) Homepage Journal
    covering the most awesome truth-is-stranger-than-fiction stuff where every geek looks and says in a Keanu Reeves voice: "Whoa..."

    What a great article!
    • wow, somebody on slashdot with actual blood running through their veins, reading the other posts on this thread, I was starting to worry!

    • Hmm... don't you think the SF Gate should get that credit?

      Sure, Slashdot lets us know about the articles, but if you got this link in an email, would you credit the guy who sent it to you with covering the story?!?
  • by Esion Modnar (632431) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @11:17PM (#15268020)
    for everybody pointing and laughing at his "chick" car with built-in flower vase. Now it's a jet-propelled chick car.
  • by beoswulf (940729) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @11:20PM (#15268034)
    Me "Punch buggy blue!"
    gf "Oww! Where? I don't see it..."
    me "Too slow!"
  • by Tablizer (95088) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @11:24PM (#15268049) Homepage Journal
    by souping up his VW beetle with a jet engine,

    Shouldn't it be, "adding a VW-beetle to his jet engine"?
         
  • by Toxicgonzo (904975) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @11:29PM (#15268076)
    'till Ron Patrick hits a speed bump
  • by colmore (56499) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @11:32PM (#15268086) Journal
    a partial guide to life:

    You can pretty much fuck around with your youth however you want. Dress crazy, sleep around, be poor, be rich, whatever. There comes a point -- let's say 30 -- when you need to get serious and start thinking about the future. I'm not talking about a job or investing or anything, I mean, do that stuff, but we're not covering that here. We're talking about identity and personality... who you are. There comes a time when reinventions of self are just tedious to your friends and family, so you need to pick a target for middle/old age, and then work, slowly, on gracefully transitioning from whoever you were at 29 into that guy.

    I think this is my guy.

    (idea cribbed somewhat from Vice magazine)
  • Sounds like a very uncomfortable place.
  • by Inoshiro (71693) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @11:44PM (#15268118) Homepage
    "Instead of cut and try, cut and try, cut and try, like the hot rod guys do, you have to do a whole bunch of computer analysis before you build it," he said. "We did (computerized) structural analysis and we did stability analysis. And by God, you know what happens? It works! Duh."

    I have to agree with him regarding hot-rodders. A lot of people seem to think the way to solve a problem is to frob at it until you get something that works. All the Motorola phone hacking kids, Xbox homebrewers, and PSP kiddies seem to think that the spackle approach (throw things at the wall until something sticks) is the best way to solve problems. You know, rather than solving them by understanding them :)
    • All the Motorola phone hacking kids, Xbox homebrewers, and PSP kiddies seem to think that the spackle approach is the best way to solve problems.
      Those are all things you can "frob at it until you get something that works" without dying in a fire.

      People who "frob" around with fire and/or explosives without knowing what they're doing often end up dead, disfigured, or missing digits/limbs.
  • That's Nothing (Score:3, Informative)

    by fm6 (162816) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @11:49PM (#15268137) Homepage Journal
    There's a guy that sells motorcycles powered by helicopter turbines. Jay Leno [popularmechanics.com] has one.
  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @11:55PM (#15268163)
    The infamous Rocket Car story always specifies a late 1960s Chevy Impala as the pilot's first choice...

    "But despite all these oversights, the story did specify that the car was a 1967 Chevy Impala. I think the reason this detail is always supplied is because it's critical to make the listener think the test pilot at least looked cool when he flew into the cliff. You'll never hear someone tell a story about a guy in a rocket-powered K-car or a Volkswagen Beetle. It has to be a car that deserves to have a rocket attached to it."

    The Rocket Car Legend [rocketcarstory.com]
  • Nothing new (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Rover built a number (about 50 or so IIRC) of gas turbine cars in about the 60's or 70's. They were intended as a proof of concept prototype and were placed with customers for a trial. Not intended as a high performance vehicle. They worked but would have been too expensive to run and were a bit thirsty...for cheaper fuel than petrol, but it still didn't compute.
    Fully street legal...
    • The turbine drove a gearbox and the wheels. This mod simply provides thrust.

      As for the attitude of the rest of British industry, I'm reminded of the memo that went out around British Aerospace to the effect that nobody was to have anything to do with that madman Richard Noble.

      _that_ Richard Noble. He of Thrusts 1 and 2, not apparently heard of by people who post on Slashdot.

  • by Bushcat (615449) on Friday May 05, 2006 @12:15AM (#15268248)
    Reading the article, it seems he wants to pop an ex-Polish SAM down a scale missile silo, so he can sit there at night watching the lid open and the rocket rise in some kind of son et lumiere armageddonette.

    I figure CHP pulling his volkswagon over will pale in comparison to the visitors he'll get about 10 minutes after the first satellite pass over his little display.

    If I remember (and I may be wrong in detail), when the silo outside Green Valley was decommissioned and turned into a tourist attraction, the decommissioned missile was hauled out, laid on its side and had a big chunk cut out to demonstrate to passing satellites that it was clearly non-flyable. Then it was popped back down the hole, the lid half-opened and huge concrete buffers placed across the rails to prevent the lid from opening fully.
  • direct video link (Score:2, Informative)

    by stevetures (656643)
    Hi all... here's a direct link


    http://cdn.sfgate.com/gate/av/movies/2006/04/30/je tbugv2_m4.mp4 [sfgate.com]

  • Jet-ta? (Score:3, Funny)

    by diggem (74763) on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:32AM (#15268584) Homepage
    Why wouldn't he have put one of those in a Jetta? It seems much more appropriate to me.
  • The Rocket Boy story may be a myth, but I can think of a reason why the Rocket Boy story may be even more farfetched.

    Consider a jet fighter designed to withstand afterburner forces and compare to any kind of car you care to consider, be it a 1967 Chevy Impala or not. If Rocket Boy weighted 175 pounds, which is more or less the average for a youngish adult US male, 8 G-Forces translates to the guy applying 1400 pounds of weight on the front seat.
    When a car is engineered, including front seat and seatbelt de
  • by Ancient_Hacker (751168) on Friday May 05, 2006 @07:26AM (#15269090)
    Nice project, but the article glosses over a few major problems with this idea:
    • This is a turboshaft engine. That means it puts out its intended power out a shaft, any thrust out the back is just incidental.. But in the VW installation, there's no way to couple this power to the wheels, so the 1,400 horsepower is just wasted.
    • A jet engine's thrust is least efficient at low speeds. Lots of velocity in the exhaust, but that's mostly wasted at anything less than jet plane speeds. The acceleration of this thing is unspecified, but I'd guess not much more than a fraction of a G.
    • Most of these older jet engines take a very looong time to reach 100% power, something like 20-35 seconds. Not suitable for impressive jack-rabbit-like starts. You'd basically have to jam on the brakes, hit the accelerator, and --wait-- 30 seconds for the power to build up. Not very impressive.
    • There's, ahem, a big safety problem for bystanders-- these early engines were not rated to contain their blades if something bad happens. if the engine intake ingests a small rock or loose bolt, the thing could disassemble in a hurry, with white-hot pieces of turbine blades heading out in all directions. Not a healthy environment to be standing around!
    • The rotational momentum of 10 compressor and one power turbine sections is going to be significant, and not in a good way. This car probably needs a very flat aqnd level and straight highway. Any bump is going to cause all kinds of gyroscopic precession around the center and axis of momentum, which is NOT a good thing.

    • It's a good thing you thought of all this stuff, and the Stanford Ph. D. holding owner of a firm called Engine Control and Monitoring didn't. Boy, you'd better call him before he goofs! Thank god for you!

      Everyone's an armchair expert. Also, RTFA, it says when he kicks in the engine, he first gets the car up to 90 miles an hour using the conventional engine in the front of the car.

  • Not very impressive. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Phanatic1a (413374) on Friday May 05, 2006 @09:42AM (#15269602)
    I mean, come on. He doesn't have the engine actually hooked up to any gears to turn the wheels. He just has it mounted on the back of the car, and he's relying on the engine thrust to push the car along.

    Trouble is that that kind of engine isn't designed to do that. It's a T-58 engine, a turboshaft engine off of a helicopter. While the engine on a jet is designed to shoot lots of hot air out the back, producing thrust to drive the jet forward, turboshafts are designed to, well, turn a shaft, to turn a rotor blade. In other words, they're torquey, not thrusty, and helicopters don't go fast because of the engine exhaust, they go fast because of the rotor.

    I was looking to buy a (ex-Soviet) MiG 15 or MiG 17 jet engine.

    He'd have been far better off doing that. The engine off a MiG-17 develops 6,000 ft-lbs of thrust.

    I mean, look what kind of performance he gets with his 1500-horsepower jet engine:

    He said that a jet-boosted run will "pin the speedometer and that's at 140." He thinks that when it hits 160 mph -- he hasn't seen that ... yet -

    140? My 300-horsepower Mustang GT is perfectly capable of hitting 140, and would probably do 160 if a governor doesn't kick in. 1500-horsepower is the power of the gas turbine in an M-1 tank; if he had this thing hooked into the drive wheels, he'd go like a bat out of hell. But as it is, all he's doing is making a lot of noise.

    Which I mean is fun and all, but fundamentally, he doesn't have a jet-powered car. He's got a car with a jet engine in the trunk.
    • by be-fan (61476) on Friday May 05, 2006 @11:33AM (#15270391)
      Trouble is that that kind of engine isn't designed to do that. It's a T-58 engine, a turboshaft engine off of a helicopter. While the engine on a jet is designed to shoot lots of hot air out the back, producing thrust to drive the jet forward, turboshafts are designed to, well, turn a shaft, to turn a rotor blade. In other words, they're torquey, not thrusty, and helicopters don't go fast because of the engine exhaust, they go fast because of the rotor.

      In a more detailed article, they reported that he converted the engine to a turbojet by taking out the shaft turbine, the gearbox, and sticking in a nozzle. Since a turboshaft is just a turbojet with these extra components, it's quite a reasonable conversion.
      • by Phanatic1a (413374) on Friday May 05, 2006 @11:39AM (#15270430)
        Since a turboshaft is just a turbojet with these extra components

        No, that's a gross oversimplification. The bypass ratio of a high-thrust jet engine and that of a high-torque helicopter engine are entirely different, and you don't change that significantly with the described modifications. He's still got an engine designed to produce a lot of shaft horsepower, and you don't get a lot of thrust out of that just because you remove the shaft.

Never invest your money in anything that eats or needs repainting. -- Billy Rose

Working...