Mechanical engineer Ron Patrick driving his dream car, a street-legal jet powered car made of  a 1,350 HP helicopter jet turbine engine fitted onto a factory Volkswagen Beetle car.

The Jet Beetle Car

Ron Patrick had a dream to combine a car with a jet. Dreams can come true, even wild ones. Patrick attached a jet engine to a factory Volkswagen Beetle.

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Forty-nine year old Patrick, a mechanical engineer with a Phd from Stanford University, created a street legal jet powered beetle. “The car was built because I wanted the wildest street-legal ride possible,” said Patrick.
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Patrick outfitted his Beetle with a $270,000, 26,000 rpm, 1,350 horsepower Navy surplus helicopter jet turbine engine.

This street legal vehicle – under California law – retains the normal gas powered engine. However, the jet engine has an afterburner that can be ignited “for a little extra fun”, not to mention speed.
Patrick isn’t sure just how fast his supped up beetle can go. It was “built to thrill me, not kill me.” Patrick has combined his love of the automobile with the engineering feat of creating something new.

“With this project, I was able to use some stuff I learned while getting my fancy engineering degree to design a street-legal jet car without the distraction of how other people have done it in the past - because no one has.”

Patrick chose the Beetle for its looks and fact that it shows off the jets well. First, he bore a hole in the back of the beetle in order to accommodate the jet engine. The back was left visible in order to look “techie” and show-off Patrick’s handy work.

Yet, according to Patrick, his handy work has failed to turn the heads of import car shows because the car looks too ordinary. Patrick has opted to not to sacrifice performance for the sake of style. He refused to “put on some flimsy wheels that won't take a curb and don't center on the hubs, lower the car so the tires rub and get cut by the body using springs that bounce me all over the road, and advertise for companies that couldn't engineer themselves out of a paper bag.”

U.S. hot rod magazines interest in the car has also been luke-warm. They favor vehicles that support the products they promote. But the response on the streets is fantastic. “This car attracts crowds better than any '32 Ford, '69 Camaro, or decaled Honda,” said Patrick.

The police are also attracted by the jet-powered beetle. Patrick, said police love to stop him, but never know what law he is actually violating. Since the car has two engines, it is technically classified as a hybrid vehicle – which are currently very popular - in the state of California.

An insider at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) told Patrick that “the DMV has made a formal request to a federal agency to rule if my Beetle constitutes a threat to national security based on what could happen if it got into the wrong hands.”

Patrick’s next project is attaching jet engines to wife’s motor scooter so she can go faster than 40 mph.


Text by Mimi Rohr
© 2007 Mimi Rohr

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Mechanical engineer Ron Patrick driving his dream car, a street-legal jet powered car made of  a 1,350 HP helicopter jet turbine engine fitted onto a factory Volkswagen Beetle car.
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The Jet Beetle Car
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November 11, 2006
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Mechanical engineer Ron Patrick in his home garage in San Mateo, CA, where he built his dream car: a street-legal jet powered car made of  a 1,350 HP helicopter jet turbine engine fitted onto a factory Volkswagen Beetle car.
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Mechanical engineer Ron Patrick's home garage in San Mateo, CA, where he built his dream car: a street-legal jet powered car made of  a 1,350 HP helicopter jet turbine engine fitted onto a factory Volkswagen Beetle car.
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Mechanical engineer Ron Patrick working in his home garage in San Mateo, CA, where he built his dream car: a street-legal jet powered car made of  a 1,350 HP helicopter jet turbine engine fitted onto a factory Volkswagen Beetle car.
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Mechanical engineer Ron Patrick working in his home garage in San Mateo, CA, where he built his dream car: a street-legal jet powered car made of  a 1,350 HP helicopter jet turbine engine fitted onto a factory Volkswagen Beetle car.
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Mechanical engineer Ron Patrick  in his home garage in San Mateo, CA, working on his dream car: a street-legal jet powered car made of  a 1,350 HP helicopter jet turbine engine fitted onto a factory Volkswagen Beetle car.
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Mechanical engineer Ron Patrick's dream car: a street-legal jet powered car made of  a 1,350 HP helicopter jet turbine engine fitted onto a factory Volkswagen Beetle car.
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Mechanical engineer Ron Patrick's dream car in his driveway : a street-legal jet powered car made of  a 1,350 HP helicopter jet turbine engine fitted onto a factory Volkswagen Beetle car.
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Mechanical engineer Ron Patrick's dream car in his driveway in San Mateo, CA. It is a street-legal jet powered car made of  a 1,350 HP helicopter jet turbine engine fitted onto a factory Volkswagen Beetle car.
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Mechanical engineer Ron Patrick's dream car in his driveway in San Mateo, CA. It is a street-legal jet powered car made of a 1,350 HP helicopter jet turbine engine fitted onto a factory Volkswagen Beetle car.
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Inside mechanical engineer Ron Patrick's dream car. It is a street-legal jet powered car made of a 1,350 HP helicopter jet turbine engine fitted onto a factory Volkswagen Beetle car.
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The trigger to the fire extinguisher inside mechanical engineer Ron Patrick's dream car. It is a street-legal jet powered car made of a 1,350 HP helicopter jet turbine engine fitted onto a factory Volkswagen Beetle car.
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The throttle for the jet engine located next to the gear selector inside mechanical engineer Ron Patrick's dream car. It is a street-legal jet powered car made of a 1,350 HP helicopter jet turbine engine fitted onto a factory Volkswagen Beetle car.
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The helicopter jet engine inside mechanical engineer Ron Patrick's dream car. It is a street-legal jet powered car made of a 1,350 HP helicopter jet turbine engine fitted onto a factory Volkswagen Beetle car.
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Some of mechanical engineer Ron Patrick's drawings when he built his dream car. It is a street-legal jet powered car made of a 1,350 HP helicopter jet turbine engine fitted onto a factory Volkswagen Beetle car.
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Mechanical engineer Ron Patrick's dream car in his driveway in San Mateo, CA. It is a street-legal jet powered car made of  a 1,350 HP helicopter jet turbine engine fitted onto a factory Volkswagen Beetle car.
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November 11, 2006
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Mechanical engineer Ron Patrick's dream car in his driveway in San Mateo, CA. It is a street-legal jet powered car made of  a 1,350 HP helicopter jet turbine engine fitted onto a factory Volkswagen Beetle car.
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November 11, 2006
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Mechanical engineer Ron Patrick's dream car in his driveway in San Mateo, CA. It is a street-legal jet powered car made of  a 1,350 HP helicopter jet turbine engine fitted onto a factory Volkswagen Beetle car.
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The Jet Beetle Car
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November 11, 2006
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Mechanical engineer Ron Patrick's dream car in his driveway in San Mateo, CA. It is a street-legal jet powered car made of  a 1,350 HP helicopter jet turbine engine fitted onto a factory Volkswagen Beetle car.
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The Jet Beetle Car
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November 11, 2006
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Mechanical engineer Ron Patrick in his home garage in San Mateo, CA, where he built his dream car: a street-legal jet powered car made of  a 1,350 HP helicopter jet turbine engine fitted onto a factory Volkswagen Beetle car.
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The Jet Beetle Car
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November 11, 2006
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Mechanical engineer Ron Patrick in his home garage in San Mateo, CA, where he built his dream car: a street-legal jet powered car made of  a 1,350 HP helicopter jet turbine engine fitted onto a factory Volkswagen Beetle car.
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The Jet Beetle Car
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November 11, 2006
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Mechanical engineer Ron Patrick's dream car on full afterburner. It is a street-legal jet powered car made of  a 1,350 HP helicopter jet turbine engine fitted onto a factory Volkswagen Beetle car.
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