10 Vehicles You Won’t Believe Are Street Legal
Today’s car shopper has an array different car models to choose from. However, for some of the most enthusiastic backyard mechanics, only a custom-built vehicle will be enough to satisfy their desires. For some, mass-produced vehicles hold no appeal, and other custom car builders are simply motivated by the challenge of building something unique. We’ve gathered some of the strangest vehicles to present to you today; although all of these vehicles are road-legal, most of them are one-of-a-kind vehicles that can’t be purchased.
1. Jet-Powered Beetle
Ron Patrick, 48, a mechanical engineer by trade, wanted to see how far he could push the limits of the New Beetle. Rather than beefing up the engine or installing a nitro system, he decided that the most logical step was to install a 1500-horsepower jet engine in place of the rear seats in his Beetle.
The car, which retains the standard Beetle engine and powertrain, can reach speeds in excess of 140 mph when the jet engine is fully engaged, and sports a 50-foot long tail of fire as an added bonus.
Mr. Patrick spent more than 6 years and $200,000 on creating this magnificent machine.
2. Tramontana R Edition
The Tramontana R Edition, which takes its name from a Spanish wind thought to carry the seeds of madness, borrows ideas from Formula 1 racecars and fighter jets to create its own blend of madness. Resembling an insect, this fighter jet on wheels sports a 720-horsepower engine that screams from 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds. The passenger compartment is designed to look like a fighter cockpit, with the passenger seated directly behind the driver. This must be one of the cool street legal vehicles we’ve ever see.
Underneath its beastlike design, the Tramontana is loaded with comforts that make driving a pleasant experience. Unlike many of the other cars on this list, the Tramontana is available for purchase if your wallet is heavy enough. The car starts at $550,000, but some of the options can bring the final purchase price up to around a million dollars.
3. The Flatmobile
True to its name, the Flatmobile is the world’s lowest street-legal car at an impressive 19 inches tall. Its father Perry Watkins, a veteran builder of offbeat cars, constructed the car in 2007 from a 1963 Hillman Imp.
Watkins kept the Imp’s standard 875cc engine, so the Flatmobile won’t win many races; the engine only produces 42 horsepower, and it tops out at 75 mph. However, the Batmobile er… Flatmobile does possess an appropriately miniature homemade jet turbine which provides a bit of extra power. The one of a kind Flatmobile was sold for around $15,000 at an auction in 2012.
4. Il Tempo Gigante
Il Tempo Gigante is a full-scale replica of the roadster featured in Ivo Caprino’s “Pinchliffe Grand Prix,” one of Norway’s most beloved films. True to the fanciful car from the film, this vehicle measures nearly 22 feet in length and includes a number of special features, including in-dash television screens, a radar, and two engines.
The Il Tempo Gigante features a 550-horsepower big block Chevy engine. It tips the scales at over 6,000 pounds and accelerates from 0-60 mph in about six seconds. The car is also outfitted with an auxiliary jet engine, but EU regulations prevent the jet engine from being used outside of promotional events. The car took twelve months and an undisclosed fortune to build.
In 2004, a group of ambitious engineers at Japan’s Keio University set forth to demonstrate the potential of electric cars. Their goal was to exceed 230 mph, and their vision was the Eliica, an eight-wheeled supercar with 80 lithium-ion batteries wired up inside of it. Each wheel features an 80-horsepower electric motor, giving the Eliica a total of 640 horsepower.
It boasts a 0-60 mph time of just under four seconds, and it breezed right by its 230 mph goal. Each of the Eliica prototypes cost around $350,000 to produce, but don’t expect to buy one; the Eliica was created as a research project and never made it to full-scale production.
6. Radio Flyer Car
When Judy Foster and Fred Keller of Wasilla, Alaska, attended a car show in 2009, they found a use for their old 1976 Mazda truck, which had been unused for years. Inspired by a similar hot rod at the car show, the couple decided to convert their truck into a car-sized replica of a classic red Radio Flyer wagon.
The vehicle retains most of the internal parts of the old Mazda truck, including its engine, but the eight-foot-tall steering tiller mounted to the front of the vehicle is definitely not stock. It took Keller, who also builds airplanes, about 11 months to transform his Mazda into an oversized Radio Flyer wagon.
You’re probably familiar with gas-electric hybrid vehicles, but have you ever heard of human-electric hybrid vehicles? The Twike is one such vehicle, a three-wheeled vehicle that combines an electric battery pack powered motor with foot pedals to produce a hyper-sustainable street-legal vehicle. The Twike has been on the road for more than 20 years in both the UK and North America, offering its owners a unique driving experience with its joystick controls.
While driving the vehicle you control the speed by pedaling, as you would a bicycle. This foot power also drives a generator allowing you to extend the range of your Twike. Though, if you’re feeling lazy, you can simply drive the Twike in full electric mode. The Twike has a top speed of about 50 mph and a range of about 200 miles. A basic Twike starts at around $40,000.
8. ParaJet SkyCar
Flying cars have been promised for decades, but the ParaJet SkyCar is one of the first vehicles to deliver on the promise. The SkyCar is a cross between a dune buggy and a paraglider, with a rear-facing propeller mounted to the back. With a three-minute conversion, the 140-horsepower Yamaha motorcycle engine provides power to the propeller, providing lift when paired with the specially designed asymmetrical paraglider wing.
On land, the SkyCar can go from 0-60 mph in about 4.5 seconds; when airborne, it has a top speed of about 70 mph and a range of about 180 miles. Getting a SkyCar of your own will set you back around $80,000.
9. WaterCar Python
If you’re struggling to decide between splurging on an expensive sports car or a luxury powerboat, the WaterCar Python will simplify things. For around $220,000 total, you can have an amphibious hot rod with a Corvette engine. On land your Python can go from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds; once you arrive at the marina, you can drive directly into the water and retract your wheels with a push of a button.
Your Corvette engine will power a water jet capable of dazzling your nautical neighbors with a top water speed of 60 mph.
10. Batmobile Replica
In 2011, Casey Putsch built an accurate and street-legal replica of the Batmobile from the 1989 “Batman” movie. The car, which was stitched together from military and racecar surplus parts in just five months, features the same slinky styling of the iconic superhero vehicle.
Even better, Putsch’s Batmobile is powered by a jet engine salvaged from a surplus military drone. The engine outputs 365 horsepower, which is mated to a semi-automatic transmission to give this Batmobile a 0-60 mph time of 3.9 seconds and a top speed of more than 185 mph.
There are plenty of bizarre vehicles on the roads these days; as long as you follow a few simple safety regulations, the sky is the limit when it comes to a custom vehicle – sometimes literally.
Have you ever seen a head-scratchingly strange vehicle on the road? Do you have any pictures? Share them with us!
If you had your own chance to build a unique vehicle, what would you make?