Car enthusiast Joe Wilkins wanted to pull even more power out of his supercharged, Hemi-engined 1939 Ford Coupe Standard. So, he threw a jet engine in the trunk. The result is the Hemi Jet, a classy-looking vintage with some scary modifications.
Jet engines in cars isn’t a new idea. Still, it’s tough not to draw attention every time you see one. Especially when the custom-built jet turbine is sticking out of the rear trunk that’s just way too small to house it.
The shiny, red Hemi Jet is a veritable showcase of American automotive engineering, combining the body of a 1939 Ford classic with a Chrysler Hemi engine and a Chevrolet drivetrain. It supposedly pushes out 1,800 horses by default, with a flick of switch (to activate the rear-mounted monstrosity) adding another 1,000 to that number.
Of course, the 110-lb jet engine comes from a whole other industry. Wilkins isn’t sure what it was used for before he bought it, but says it was probably part of the Auxilliary Power Unit (APU) for an aircraft. A center dashboard console controls the jet engine, along with all the electronics and monitoring equipment it uses. The ride packs four afterburners and 15 gallons of jet fuel onboard.
Street-legal (provided you don’t fire up the jet propulsion) and sexy as all hell, the car is still being tuned in preparation to race at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Wilkins is hoping he can build it up to be the fastest street-legal car in the world, a lofty aspiration that he just might be able to pull off. According to him, he’s certain the car can go well over 300 mph, although they’ll have to make sure everything is safe before pushing it anywhere near that mark.
The Hemi Jet is currently being shown off at the Houston Autorama, which goes on until tomorrow.