This Jet-Powered Homemade Ferrari Enzo Dragster Should Do 400 MPH


byChris Teague|
Ferrari News photo


Most of us will lean on the internet for quick answers to things like "why is the sky blue," or "what happens if my three-year-old eats a whole tube of lipstick," but it takes a special kind of bravery to Google your way through building an entire vehicle, let alone a jet-powered one. Ryan "Lightning" McQueen, whose name is perhaps the most fitting for someone of his ilk, did just that when he spent over a decade and nearly $100,000 building a working jet-powered, Ferrari Enzo-looking monster.

Something tells us the sonorous crescendo of Maranello's V12 isn't going to come out of those "exhaust pipes."

McQueen said that Google and YouTube were his best-friends over the years it took him to build the car, which is appropriately named "Insanity". “The car took 14 years to build because I had to teach myself all the skills required as I progressed in the project,” he told The Drive.

The results of McQueen's Googling speak for themselves as he's now the proud owner and builder of a jet-powered beast, complete with over 18,000 horsepower thanks to two Rolls-Royce Viper engines. The engines were originally designed in the 1950s and used on a number of experimental jets for the British Royal Air Force and America's own Air Force. 

At full tilt, the twin Vipers equate to about 14,000 pounds of thrust, according to McQueen. 

Part of that decade-plus build was due to the remarkable story behind the car’s body panels, too. McQueen took the body from a scale radio-controlled Ferrari Enzo and cut it into 26 carefully measured pieces. He then took them to an overhead projector to scale the pieces up by ten times. The larger template pieces were then used to cut panels out of plywood, which were then filled with Styrofoam before the bodywork was placed on top.

McQueen's calculations say that the car should be able to achieve a top speed of over 400 mph once it's completely dialed in. 

As you'd imagine with a jet-powered Ferrari Enzo dragster build, things didn’t go all that smoothly—case in point, it took 14 years. On the first test fire, one of the two starter motors failed, causing a “hot start”, which means that the amount of fuel in the combustion chamber prior to ignition was too great. That meant an entire rebuild of not just the starter motor, but also the turbines as well. 

Ever the optimist, McQueen did it and says he’s hopeful that the car will be ready to make some “slow speed” runs this May. If those runway passes are successful, they’ll bring the car back to McQueen’s shop for a full top-to-bottom diagnostic before it heads back out for higher speed runs. McQueen says that his plans for the car include plenty of drag races and exhibition runs at air shows. 

As for the final price of McQueen's fiery baby, he told The Drive that the project only cost around $90,000 to complete, which isn’t all that much when you consider it's a 18,000 horsepower, twin jet-propelled Enzo Ferrari that was built in a man's garage. Heck, we'd even call that a bargain. 

We’ll be watching for McQueen and Insanity to start making runs soon because there’s nothing we love more than homemade jet cars breaking the sound barrier at a county fair. Bring your earplugs. 

Got a tip? Send us a note:

Ferrari NewsNews by Brand