When I was wandering the streets of Salt Lake back in ’99 I came across a fellow by the name of Greg Breedlove1 who was part of the Spirit of America team. He told me about how he had helped on the second version of the jet car and how his dad was the driver that set many land speed records on the Salt Flats near the Great Salt Lake. He offered to send me some photos of the car if I gave him my address which I happily provided.2 I’ve often thought about what it would be like to drive a car that fast.
Driving the Spirit of America might be the impossible dream, but today I came across an ad for a different jet powered car on Craigslist — this one is a Jet Powered VW and though it might not set world records, it’s definitely faster than I would want to go.
The car has two engines: the production gasoline engine in the front, driving the front wheels, and the jet engine in the back. The idea is that you drive around legally on the gasoline engine then, when you want to have some fun, spin up the jet and get on the burner (you can start the jet while driving along on the gasoline engine). I built the car because I wanted the wildest street-legal ride possible. I was able to use some stuff I learned while getting my fancy engineering degree with this project (I have a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University). It was great to design this street-legal jet car without distractions from other people’s projects, solely because no one has done it before. I have no idea how fast the car will go, and probably never will. I built the car in order to thrill me, not kill me. That said, I do enjoy the occasional blast down the highway.
He’s asking $550,000 USD.
1. At least I think his name was Greg, it could’ve been Craig. I have it on a note somewhere but I don’t know where it is.
2. Promises made, promises broken. I never heard from him, but photos are a lot easier to come by nowadays, so it’s no big deal.