THE ONE AND ONLY JET-ENGINE-POWERED CORVETTE.
Make no mistake about it. Starting this car feels like starting up your own private jet. Turn on the igniters. Engage the starter to draw power and begin spinning the turbine. Push in the T-handle to inject fuel into the combustion chamber of the engine. When the engine reaches operating speed, turn off the igniters and starter motor. Now, you’re ready for take-off!It’s the stuff of legends. One man set out with a purpose to do something unheard of, and in the process, he forged a beast of modern engineering. Vince Granatelli, son of Andy “Mister 500” Granatelli, had the vision in 1978 of bringing his father’s turbine engine to a modern muscle car. Enter the Chevrolet “Jet-Vette” Corvette—the world’s only turbine-powered Corvette.
In the late 60s, Andy Granatelli had challenged the conventions of the Indianapolis 500 by installing a Pratt & Whitney ST6B turbine engine into STP’s race car. It shook the racing world and proved to be a successful experiment, with the #40 STP car coming within 7.5 miles of winning the Indianapolis 500. Over a decade later, Vince would see to it that the turbine engine wasn’t finished in the auto world.
THE JET-TURBINE ENGINE.
A jet-turbine engine in one of the most beautiful car chassis ever created is everything you would imagine. According to Motor Trend Magazine, this one-of-a-kind car does 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds, but according to its creator, Vince Granatelli, it has been recorded going from 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds. It tears up the pavement while howling the sounds of a Learjet, creating enormous public enthusiasm everywhere it goes. Today, such a car would cost millions to build. Its past is in the rearview, but its future is a wide, open road.
Vince Granatelli’s idea was unprecedented. He wanted to convert a ST6B turbine engine to fit into a street-legal Chevy Corvette—the only consumer vehicle capable of housing the length of the engine. What he didn’t know at the time was that his work would lead to the world’s fastest Corvette, nicknamed the “Jet-Vette,” capable of doing 0 to 60mph in 3.2 seconds. Even to this day, there isn’t a faster street-legal Corvette.
The world’s fastest Corvette, capable of doing 0 to 60mph in 3.2 seconds. Even to this day, there isn’t a faster street-legal Corvette.
There’s supercharged…and then there’s this turbine-powered 880hp machine capable of hitting 60mph while idling. But Granatelli didn’t just snap his fingers to achieve this. He put his racing pedigree and extensive knowledge into building this car. He started by disassembling the brand new 1978 Corvette and fabricating a sub-frame, replacing the factory structure. He installed NASCAR oversized disc brakes in order to handle the unusual power of the car, and then needed to account for the turbine engine’s massive torque. Granatelli solved the problem with a special transmission with a fortified drive shaft and 3.03:1 gearing. The next challenge was bringing down the engine’s 37,500 RPM with a reduction gearbox, which set the RPM at 6,230.
Granatelli also installed extensive wiring, gauge modifications, an interior dash that looks like an airplane instrument panel, fuel lines and a muffler system—all built from the ground up. The result is a successful conversion from a stock 1978 Corvette to an entirely unique engineering masterpiece.