• This 1958 VW Bus Took a Huge Dose of Top Gun Steroids

And by that we mean a jet engine

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The Top Gun: Maverick premiere might have been pushed back all the way to December due to COVID-19 but thanks to this video, you can still get a taste of that jet fighter engine flavour.

Sure, Tom Cruise has nothing to do with what you’re about to watch as the main character here is a Volkswagen Bus that now uses a jet engine to destroy every moving vehicle on the drag strip.

This is what Top Gun would look like if a hippie directed it


“Jet power is great fun. Just one of the most incredible things you can ever experience.”

That’s what Perry Watkins, the man behind this audacious contraption, has to say about his modded VW Type 2 (aka Volkswagen Bus in the US of A). Believe it or not, this thing is road legal because it still packs the original engine. Of course, the road-legal aspect stands unless you decide to fire up the jet engine, which could bring all sorts of issues to your door.

This 1958 VW Bus Took a Huge Dose of Top Gun Steroids
- image 894564

That aside, the Rolls-Royce-sourced Viper 535 jet engine that sits high and mighty where hippies used to do their flower power things in the ‘60s packs no less than 5,000 horsepower. Overall, the ridiculous Bus weighs 6,600 pounds (around 2,990 kilos) and thanks to its newfound source of motivation can pull a top speed of 300 mph (483 kph). Of course, you’d need real cojones because as Watkins himself admits, “things begin to get hairy at 160 mph (260 kph).”

Engine Rolls-Royce-sourced Viper 535 jet engine
Horsepower 5,000 HP
Weight 6,600 Lbs
Top Speed 300 mph

How doesn’t it fall apart under such stress?

This 1958 VW Bus Took a Huge Dose of Top Gun Steroids
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Shoehorning a jet engine on top of your humble VW Bus requires a handful of extra mods. Watkins needed six years to finish the project: two years went into prepping the engine, installing the afterburner took another six months, and the build itself with all the strengthening and securing (you don’t want the engine to fly off mid-acceleration, obviously) lasted for three more years.

On that note, make sure you skip to Barcroft Cars’ video below and see what sort of straight-line bursts can this VW Bus pull off on the drag strip. We promise you won’t be disappointed. Not one bit.

Tudor Rus
Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read full bio
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