Detroit students get peek at rocket-powered VW Beetle

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Jet-engine powered VW visits Detroit
Jet-engine powered VW visits Detroit

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Ron Patrick spends a lot on gas for his customized VW Beetle, but he doesn't have to worry about tailgaters.

Patrick, a mechanical engineer with a doctorate from Stanford University, displayed his noisy, flame-belching car Monday to a group of robotics students at Cass Technical High School in Detroit.

The Beetle has a regular gas engine along with the special attachment of a converted turboshaft jet engine delivering a whopping 1,350 horsepower.

Patrick has no idea how fast the car goes but says it's "way more than 140 miles per hour," the limit on the car's speedometer.

The co-founder of ECM, a Sunnyvale, Calif., maker of pollution-measuring equipment, says: "The biggest challenge was making sure the jet engine wouldn't fly out — attaching it to the car."

The Beetle will be on display at the Automotive Testing Expo at Rock Financial Showplace over the weekend.