James Paul Kelley is a retired GM engineer who has a thing for drag racing. He's worked with different teams since the early 90s as a crew member, and has always wanted to build his own machine. He had intentions of building a Top Fuel funny car, but learned that doing so was prohibitively expensive and instead decided to make a jet-powered monster. Interestingly, jet cars are cheaper to maintain and support (they require a smaller crew).

Kelley acquired a 2004 Corvette and a Pratt & Whitney JT12-8A jet engine and set to work. The end result is his Detroit Dragon funny car, which weighs in at a scant 1,800 pounds and generates roughly 6,000 horsepower from the aforementioned Pratt & Whitney. The way the jet's intake pokes through the middle of the bodywork brings the 1989 Anton Furst Batmobile to mind. Well, except for the green paint, which is more Joker than Batman, but we digress...

The Detroit Dragon (Kelley also calls it the "Corjette") hasn't been certified for official use as of yet. Test runs at Michigan's Milan Dragway are on Kelley's to-do list for the immediate future as he works to get the car approved.

Some of you may be surprised to learn that jet-powered cars such as this aren't used in competition. The ones that make the rounds at drag racing events nationwide are demonstration/show vehicles -- very popular ones, at that --- whose spectacular speed and astonishing pyrotechnics help draw in customers and keep them planted firmly in their seats. Still, despite the lack of an actual racing class, sanctioning bodies like the NHRA have very strict guidelines and regulations governing their use.

Once Kelley has all his paperwork in order, we're sure he'll waste no time getting the jet-powered 'Vette in front of an audience. It certainly sounds like it's quite a machine. One of the local papers in Kelley's area recounted the story of what happened when the Dragon's engine was started at a local garage. The din was apparently so ungodly that it knocked the shop owner's belongings off their shelves and broke a window in the building.

Sounds like a crowd-pleaser to us.

Kelley's website can be found at www.corjette.com.

(Additional photos after the jump)

{Source: The Tecumseh Herald]


James Paul Kelley's Detroit Dragon
James Paul Kelley's Detroit Dragon
James Paul Kelley's Detroit Dragon
James Paul Kelley's Detroit Dragon

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