Jet Powered 1989 Chevrolet Van

We post a lot of groovy vans here at Barn Finds, and I do my best to give them a just write up when the opportunity arises. This 1989 Chevrolet one ton van isn’t your typical track van, nor is it a standard issues shaggin’ wagon: somebody took it upon themselves to mount a jet engine in the back! Find it here on Craigslist in Colorado with an asking price of $25,000. Thanks to Pat L. for the tip! 

Though I’d be curious to see more of it, this photo shows that there is indeed a jet engine installed in the back of this van. According to the ad, it is a Walter 701 jet engine and it is fully operational. There is no clear mention of it being used to propel the van, but the addition of a parachute to the rear of the van and the suggestion that it be used as a race vehicle seem to indicate it can be. From the ad, “It can be used as an exhibition/show/race vehicle or you could make a nozzle and use it as a track drier also! Very reliable Jet engine, stock van, drive it to events, tow a trailer behind it.”

From this interior shot, it looks like the airplane vibe has been taken all the way to the cockpit. While this van can be driven under its own power on the original Chevrolet engine, it would be very hard not to think of firing up the jet engine when someone was tailgating! If you’ve ever wanted a jet-powered Chevrolet van, something unique, or like making fires at car shows, this just might be the van for you. If it can indeed be “safely” propelled by the jet engine, I think it would be fun to take down to the track just to see the look on people’s faces when you fire up the jet engine! What would you do with it?


  1. Michael

    I was a huge fan of Car-Toons magazine as a young man. Does anyone remember the “And we don’t have to tell you what happened next” section? If I remember correctly, one issue included a drawing of a 64 Galaxie in the foreground with a monster motor sticking out of the hood at a stoplight with two guys laughing at the beat up van next to them. The guy in the van had an (you have no idea what your are dealing with) expression on his face. With the van door partially opened, it showed an aircraft engine mounted in the back with ALLISON lettering on it. That cartoon immediately came to mind when I saw this jet powered van. I tried to find it on line but failed.

    I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night but remembered that.
    Good times.

    Like 28
    • Scot Douglas

      Spent many dollars of lunch money on that rag growing up. :)

      Like 4
    • Charles G Van De Sampel

      Call me a hoarder, but I’ve still got almost every issue I ever bought as a kid.

      Like 5
  2. Steve R

    No way would this ever be allowed on a track to make a run. There is no indication of a roll bar/cage in the interior. This is purely for exhibitions. In its day it probably made good money to show up at events. It’s interesting looking, but hard to see it getting close to the asking price.

    Steve R

    Like 3
    • Miguel

      The heat must be unbearable.

      Like 1
  3. Jimmy

    Didn’t Bud Light Have a Super Bowl commercial from a Town in Colorado it took over for a weekend ? Maybe this was for that party town. How could you use the jet engine, wouldn’t the back doors have to be open and that would defeat the purpose of the parachute since it is mounted to the back doors.

    Like 4
    • James

      Shouldn’t there also be some sort of air intake instead of the front windows??

      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

        The white box inside is the front air plenum, with the air intake in the roof. When not in use, it appears there is a red vinyl fabric cover, just visible in the shot of the engine thru the open door.

        Like 1
  4. Coventrycat

    The world does not need Bud Light delivered that quickly.

    Like 17
    • redwagon

      crap. read your comment and coffee went everywhere!

      Like 6
    • Charles G Van De Sampel

      Bad enough that if it’s the only thing to drink, it runs through me like a greyhound around a race track.

      Like 3
    • GP Member

      Quicker then Jimmy johns ??

      Like 1
  5. Rock On

    Seller should probably have provided a few shots of the rocket lit up if he hopes to get anywhere near 25 grand for this van.

    Like 4
  6. Mike

    Parallel parking must be an absolute b!tch.

    Like 7
  7. Howard A Member

    Well, 1st of all, it’s not in Colorado, it’s Arizona, and never ceases to amaze me, the cash some people put into things for just a toy. Tow a trailer? Whatever is behind you will be burnt to crisp. It would sure take care of tailgaters, tho, hey Scotty? I know, it’s America, where money flows like water, ( except in my direction) where you can buy 70 year old motorcycles that don’t run, and jet powered Chevy vans,,,,what a country!!

    Like 9
  8. Jeffro

    S’mores anyone?

    Like 2
  9. Jack M.

    That looks like a cover over the jet engine on the back door, not a parachute.

    Like 4
    • bobk


      Thank you for lighting the dim bulb that serves as my brain. I’m about 99.9% sure you are correct.

      I was about to question a) the lack of a jet exhaust, or b) how the parachute could possibly work when the rear doors were open to provide exhaust space for the jet engine.

      Just as a yardstick about the power of jet exhaust, I was at my hangar at a local airport one day when a corporate jet was rolled out of their hangar to do a post maintenance run up. They obviously didn’t give any thought to where their exhaust was pointed. When they ran up the engine, they flipped the Piper Cub that happened to be tied down behind them. About 200 feet behind them.

      Like 6
  10. Karguy James

    I wonder what the value of a running jet engine is these days with a Chevy carrying case. Can’t be a whole lot less than what he is asking

    Like 3
  11. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    I always thought it would be cool to build a downsized version of the starship Enterprise with wheels, steering setup, and brakes and jet engines on top to run on the Bonneville salt flats attempting a land speed record. Heh, heh, heh.

    Like 2
  12. John A

    Now if you had Elvis’s old plane….hunka hunka burnin van! Thank you, thank you very much!

    Like 1
  13. W9BAG

    Has anyone seen the video with the VW New Beetle with the jet engine in the back ? The builder was a retired JPL engineer, and did it right ! His wife used it as a grocery getter, with the VW engine. Some video of it shows the car during the hours of darkness, and he leans into the jet engine. Quite a sight !
    I’m curious how the back doors of the van are secured to withstand that much thrust ?

  14. Peter k

    Darwin Award candidate

  15. dyno dan

    put wings on it!

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