Real-Life JATO Car
Status: Strange, but real
The JATO (jet-assisted take-off) car is one of the most famous urban legends of all time. (Man attaches JATO unit to the top of his Chevy Impala, fires it up on a deserted Arizona highway, and launches himself into a nearby cliff at 300 mph.) But the San Francisco Chronicle
reports about a man, Ron Patrick, who has built a real-life JATO car. It's a silver Volkswagen with a huge jet engine sticking out the back. It's very cool. I want one. Patrick gave this description of turning on the jet engine while driving:
"You drive the car up to about 90 miles an hour and you spool up the jet, then hit it W.O.T. (wide-open throttle)," he said, fondly recalling one of his rides. "It's one of the finest feelings you can have in your life. In the rear view mirror, all you see is light and hear the thunder of the jet. It's like you're going down the largest hill you've ever been on." 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 -- the car will start lifting off the ground, but "the fun is not necessarily how fast you want to go. The fun is the sound of the thing. Just starting it up, it's like a (Boeing) 747 landing in your front yard."
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