It might seem crazy to think of a Chevy truck capable of outrunning an airplane, but then we are not talking any old regular Chevy truck. What this shows is the multi-year creation of Neil Darnell. The project appears to take a Chevy S-10 truck and then adapt it to hold a Pratt & Whitney J60 turbo engine lifted from one of the Navy’s T-2 Buckey jets. The reality is slightly different but here is a closer look at what occurred.
Building the Jet Powered Chevy Pickup Truck
Over the span of two plus years, Neil Darnell and his son Chris built a frame that would hold the J60 turbojet engine. The frame was constructed so that the body and frame of the Chevy S-10 could fit around the jet engine. That is an important consideration for such a project, because the standard frame and assembly of the Chevy S-10 pickup truck would likely not hold up to the force of such a powerful engine, or the G-force exerted on the entire vehicle as it reaches its maximize 375 MPH. To put that into perspective, that is past the half-way mark for reaching the speed of sound. An F-14 Tomcat hits the speed of sound and can easily cause a sonic boom. This truck is halfway there and still appears stable while driving.
What We Know about this Jet Powered Beast of a Chevy Pickup Truck
- Powered by a single, Pratt & Whitney J60 Turbo jet engine from a T-2B Jet
- Total Horsepower equals 12,000 HP
- Top Speed 375 MPH
- Moves from 0-60 MPH in 1.5 seconds
- Produces a driver G-force of 6
All That Crazy Pratt & Whitney Horsepower
12,000 horsepower is a lot of force to contain. The T-2 Buckeye’s were equipped with two of these turbojet engines. To contain that power, Darnell had to create a truck version of what is essentially a jet frame. To achieve that, he used Molly Chrome Steel because of its amazing strength. Molly Chrome Steel is created using a cold-drawn process that produces tubing that is seamless. The process makes the frame light-weight, which improves speed, but also strong enough to handle all of the thrust from the turbojet engine.
NOTE: For those of you building supped up car projects, consider using Molly Chrome Steel. What this shows us is that it works to hold the vehicle together under harsh conditions, but does not add a significant amount of weight. For drag cars and trucks, that is a winning combination.
As it plays out, you get to watch the Flash Fire Chevy move from a standing start to a point where it overtakes an old-school aircraft. That statement makes such a feat sound dull, but it is anything but dull. It takes an amazing amount of skill to convert a pile of steel, engine, and parts into a vehicle that acts like an aircraft on the ground without flipping over. We watch high-powered drag cars tilt their nose towards the sky from all the power, but this Chevy pickup truck does not budge. That is because as they built the truck they considered the aspects of weight ratios and torsion as a means of overcoming traditional torque. It is also important to realize that the truck is pushed and that power is not routed through the wheels, but rather the acceleration occurs by direct force. That is the idea behind how and why jets fly so fast. They are pushed through the air. It is also important to realize that as an object moves through the air, the air around the object becomes a greater force from which the object must pass. It requires more effort to move at higher speeds, but the Flash Fire Chevy handles it well. What do you think is the weakest link on this vehicle?