You may have seen the story we published recently on the electrically powered, split-screen VW Bus (original story here). While that recreation has low emissions output, this jet powered VW bus goes completely to the other end of the scale.

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Bar talk

The way this jet powered VW bus came into existence is the same way most good car modifying stories begin, in the pub. Perry Watkins the man responsible for building this unique creation explains: “We sit at the pub and come up with stupid ideas, I’ll then lock myself in the garage for five years and build it.”

Perry started this build with a 1978 Rolls-Royce Viper 535 jet engine that he bought second-hand. He then set about restoring the unit, which once powered a BAC Strikemaster, back to perfect condition and polishing it for show use. He then added an afterburner, you know, because a jet motor alone isn’t enough. The engine project alone took him over two and a half years. The result is an engine worth over 3 700 kW.

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Bussing it around

The next step was to restore a 1958 split-window VW. The VW pickup had spent most of its life on a farm in Oklahoma, hence its name Oklahoma Willy. The bus took another three years to finish. Even without its jet engine it would be a show-stopper. With the jet motor on its load-bed the VW tips the scales at three tons. VW’s original engine remains in place to help move the bus around at regular speeds. It also happens to be completely road-legal, provided you don’t fire up the jet. Perry says the theoretical top speed is in excess of 480 km/h, but that he’s taken it to a true 258 km/h. It’s not a racecar or drag car, but simply built for shows and display runs.

See the jet powered VW bus in all its flame-spewing glory in the video below.