6,000 Horsepower WARbike Motorcycle!

Disclosure: This site may receive compensation from some link clicks and purchases.

In May of 2022, Larry “Spiderman” McBride made the fastest pass in NHRA Top Fuel Motorcycle history. He ran 5.61 seconds at 268.38 miles per hour. Well, forty years ago, the bike seen here was designed to run 5 seconds at 275! That was quite a goal back in 1984. This bike is a Turbonique, rocket-powered, 6,640 horsepower, six-figure motorcycle called “WARbike.” It can be found here on Facebook Marketplace with an asking price of $40,000. Let’s dig into the history of this amazing engineering marvel and take a closer look. Thanks to Al R. for the tip on this beast!

Here you can see the bike with the full skin that covers the mechanics and tries to limit as much aerodynamic interference as possible. Compared to modern drag bikes, this one looks radically different. Modern bikes feature less cladding around the engine but have a long ladder/wheelie bar system that almost doubles the length of the bike. They also have a super-wide rear tire that is basically a drag slick from an automobile. That’s the main difference with jet bikes, there’s no transmission and drive system to the rear tire…The bike is pushed forward with thrust so there is no need to limit tire spinning.

This photo shows some of the amazing engineering and design that went into the bike. It was built by Bill Wildt who raced all sorts of cars and motorcycles over the years. He was also the host of Motorsport Unlimited on television. According to the ad, Bill spent around $100,000 on the bike, not counting design, engineering, and build times.

Here is Bill on the bike once it was built and skinned. I can’t imagine having that much jet power pushing me down a track at over 200 miles per hour. Overall, this is a really cool bike that probably belongs in a museum or showroom. Hopefully, it will find a good home. What do you think of this one?

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. alphasudMember

    A true crotch rocket. I personally don’t have what it takes to light the fuse on this thing.

    Like 44
    • leiniedude leiniedudeMember

      I hear you alphasud, The second thing that comes to my mind is “death wobble”

      Like 20
      • Jim ZMember

        Actually Leiniedude, my thought runs to “Organ Donor”…..

        Like 1
    • Jay E.Member

      Probably a good thing it never ran, they were pretty deadly as there was no part throttle operation.
      https://www.motortrend.com/features/1960-buy-mail-order-1300hp-rocket-engine/

      Like 0
  2. scooter8

    WOW! hadn’t heard of Bill Wildt since late 80s? when i watched Motorsports Unlimited religiously! he was quite large by then, had plenty of hot babes with plumes. very entertaining! guess he didn’t wilt under pressure. LOL

    Like 9
  3. Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

    Some people are amazing and this is a prime example. Here’s a guy who loves bike racing so much that when he was very badly hurt on his XR750 he began his recovery while in his hospital bed designing a bike using rocket turbines to be Don Garlits. Though it was never raced it was a showpiece to bring focus on the racing world as it was slowly dying at the time. Though I’m not sure it’d been in one piece at the end of the 1/4 mile (tires especially, the aerodynamics maybe) it was a brilliant and outrageous way of saying “check us out!”

    Like 3
  4. HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

    These “mishuga” drag bike riders usually have a short career. While nitro Harleys are incredibly fun to watch, I have yet to see one actually make it the whole 1/4 mile. I’ve seen rocket powered drag cars, one burned down the control tower at Union Grove once, and are a handful. They are slow to start, but mid track must be a rush. Rocket power is nothing new, and a staple for RoadRunner cartoons, but use a lot of fuel, and 1/4 mile is about all you get.
    BTW, the name “WAR-bike was an acronym for “Wildts Astro Racer bike, and if that is his real name,,Bill Wildt,,,like Wildt Bill? Neat post, but like Kurt sez, it was never raced.

    Like 7
    • Kim in Lanark

      I haven’t heard Union Grove in a while. Several whiles, actually. Wasn’t their tag “Where the Great ones Run”:?

      Like 5
      • Mark

        Not their Slogan. “Where the great ones run” would be US 30 drag strip which was located in Merriville, Indiana and closed permanently in 1984

        Like 5
      • Mercury Man

        Actually around here, ( I’m about ten miles from Union Grove) it’s known as “Da’ Grove”.

        Like 7
      • Maggy

        It’s the oldest operating dragstrip still remaining in the U.S. Been going there for 40 years now. I’ll never forget when Broadway Bob came out past the tower straddling a rocket car drinking a beer. Used to always go to high school drag night and cops vs.kids night. School bus drop nights too off a 2 story or so crane and a rocket car would start up and roast it.Crowd would go nuts! Raced 3 cars there in my time over 40 years. It’s about 45 min.N.of Chicago.

        Like 2
  5. Howie

    Fuel consumption 1 gallon a second!!

    Like 7
  6. Jay E.Member

    The videos in the ad are really a treat. No commercials, and full of interesting information about drag racing. The first one talks about the Widowmaker V8 powered drag at bout 16:00 and should have been part of The Pickers show when they bought the bike.
    Anyways, this is a really neatbike! There should be someone there that has the skill and balls to run it. Compared to the life threatening things ( jumping out of a plane without a parachute comes to mind) that people do today, this seems pretty tame.

    Like 3
  7. Tony T

    “rocket” bike or “jet powered”? Which is it?

    Like 0
    • moosie moosie

      Does it have a motor or an engine ? would be the better question.

      Like 0
    • FrankDMember

      not jet powered! I see no Cold section (Compressor) or Hot (turbine) section

      Like 3
      • Dave

        You forgot the combustor section

        Like 1
  8. Chris Cornetto

    It has always amazed me how cool it must be to have resources and well insanity to make things like this happen. Slim pickens, Dr Strangelove comes to mind. I feel dwarfed with my Hyabusa compared to this. At 180 the helmet is being sucked off your head unless your glued to the tank. I think an ejector button and parachute would be needed on this crotch rocket as your head and helmet would be sucked off….

    Like 6
  9. Gerard Frederick

    As an aside, the first rocket powered bike was the 1928 OPEL with a frame by Neander. It was prohibited from being used due to the insane power and subsequent speed, otherwise it would doubtlessly been a world record bike in its time.

    Like 2
  10. Skid

    Only $49k? This thing has Jay Leno written all over it. And he’s drive it too!

    Like 4
    • Skid

      $40k. Read it right. Typed it wrong. Fat fingers!

      Like 4
  11. Mark

    Feat of engineering but now a restaurant display. Price is high but on the flip side near zero upkeep…….an old t-shirt and a can of Pledge.

    Like 2
  12. hugh crawford

    That takes a lot of Thermolene , where does one buy isopropyl nitrate these days anyway?

    Like 3
  13. Terry Bowman

    I keep hearing Jet and Rocket engines, what about the real BAD BOYS, Hydrogen Peroxide power cars back in the 70 and 80’s (Sammy Miller as one). I have a photo of me sitting in his last car with him standing next to it at the “LAST DRAG RACE”, at the Miami-Hollywood Speedway, around 1990. KOOL!!!!

    Like 3
    • Gary

      From what I was told military grade hydrogen peroxide is extremely dangerous and is no longer available. Can anyone confirm this?

      Like 0
      • Howie

        Gary, i think they sell it on Craig’s List.

        Like 4
  14. Shan_Paramus

    needs a basket to put groceries in

    Like 1
  15. FrankDMember

    Belongs in the Barber Motorsports Museum.

    Like 2
  16. Mark Tilton

    We lost Bill about a year ago, I was on his Automotive Cable Access TV Show out of Chicago several time and watched about 10 years. Bill knew automotive, racing history, motorcycles, boats and tried to explain it to his “Ladies” ! on the show. Always entertaining. This was his several year project and only mentioned it once or twice a year ! A Great Automotive Mind.

    Like 4
    • jwaltb

      May have been a great guy but this is a piece.

      Like 0
  17. jwaltb

    And are comments moderated now and removed if “ someone” doesn’t like them? What are the criteria? I left BAT because people there couldn’t handle real opinions.

    Like 4
    • TomP

      Someone at Barnfinds removes my comments all the time. I guess the comments occasionally hurt someone’s feelings.

      Like 2
    • HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

      To be clear, the “BarnFinds Comment Police” was just a joke, and I know a writer personally that tells me some of the comments would make Redd Foxx blush. Even as a member, I’ve had comments that I got too carried away on, like once( cough) removed too. I’ve gone head to head with the “blog-Nazi” on another site, and public sites like this have to be very careful not to slander or offend someone, something my old man didn’t care less about and I wouldn’t take it personally. I frequent several automotive sites, and THIS is the best one. I know, it’s easy to get carried away with feelings on a site like this, Lord knows I have, but I’ve tried to tone it down, as complaining only makes things worse. Angries up others blood, who are just as pissed off. I try and think of this site as an oasis amongst the crap.

      Like 2
    • Jesse Jesse MortensenStaff

      The new system actually lets more comments through so hopefully you all won’t abuse it and make us go back to manually moderating everything. Also, your comments probably weren’t deleted. They were most likely in moderation until we had time to check them. Hundreds of comments to review everyday is very time consuming. If everyone would just follow the rules and try to not act like jerks, our job would be a lot easier!

      Like 5
      • Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

        On the subject of comments…..suddenly now, new comments that show up in my inbox require that I go to the writeup, rather than just opening the email and seeing the comment. Any possibility of going back to the old way?
        And by “jerks” you mean intelligent, insightful, knowledgeable fellows (and fell-ettes)?

        Like 1
      • Jesse Jesse MortensenStaff

        We changed the email because many people were trying to reply to it rather than going to the site to comment. The good news is that we fixed the link so it now goes directly to the comment. No, we mean jerks. Some people like to use the comment section of websites to complain or be rude to their fellow readers. The site needs to be enjoyable for everyone and we won’t have a few old grumps ruin things.

        Like 2
  18. Ed

    It says it was designed to do the 1/4 in 5 secs at 275 mph. How close to that did it get?

    Like 1
    • T. MannMember

      The WARBIKE was never raced.

      Like 5
  19. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    TomP, sorry to hear they remove your comments, yet somehow chrisful’s get through.

    Like 2
  20. Charles

    Bill Wildt was a strong backer of Chicagokand Toys for Tots

    We miss him.

    Like 5
    • jwaltb

      As I said, he may have been a great guy, but this “bike” is a fake POS. Put a piece of glass across the top and it might make a good bar.

      Like 0
      • Jay E.Member

        I don’t know how it could be called a fake. It certainly had the power to do the speed. It never ran because Thermolene became and is unavailable. Whether it wold be stable enough is an entirely different question. The builder certaily put a lot of engineering into it.

        Like 1
  21. jwaltb

    Let me rephrase. It is a show piece, don’t know if it ever ran, and hyperbole about what it might do in the quarter is talking smack.

    Like 0
    • T. MannMember

      The WARBIKE was never raced.

      Like 2
  22. Jay E.Member

    Plus the NHRA banned turboiniue rocket powered motor and jet powered dragsters.

    Like 2
  23. Maggy

    Does it come with a life insurance policy?. Driving this contraption ain’t for the faint of heart that’s for sure.I’d watch guys doing 8’s at Union Grove on modded crotch rockets with wheelie bars when I was a teenager and I thought they were nuts.

    Like 2
    • Angus Mustang

      I could see this as a daily driver…

      Like 2
  24. UBSLK350

    Back in the ’60s you could actually buy a Turbonique and order the fuel through the mail !!!! Arctic Cat built a rear engine snowmobile called Boss Cat with one of these in it. It blew up sending pieces everywhere nearly killing the driver Dale Cormician. Very close call and they were quickly banned from snowmobile speed run events.

    Like 2

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds