In pursuit of better fuel economy, carmakers have created various forms of hybrids. In pursuit of a childhood dream, Chris Lentz created a wild hybrid.
The fifty-five-year-old electrical foreman from Jackson, Michigan, had longed for a jet-powered truck for decades. Two years ago, Lentz discovered a way to realize his dream when he met a pilot from New York who imported used turbojet engines. After watching an example run on a test stand, Lentz paid $10,000 for one. Obtaining a rolling platform for his new toy was a bit easier. Lentz bought a used 2005 Ford F-150 STX on eBay for $12,000.
Lentz's jet engine was designed in the mid-1950s by the Czechoslovakian company Motorlet to power the L-29 Delfin jet trainer. The Motorlet M-701 turbojet has a centrifugal compressor, seven combustion chambers, and a single-stage turbine. According to Jane's All the World's Aircraft, the powerplant weighs 728 pounds and produces 1962 pounds of thrust at 15,500 rpm.
To install the jet in the truck, Lentz fabricated a sturdy mounting stand, a twenty-gallon kerosene tank, and a control console from aluminum and stainless steel. His decorative touches include a red, white, and blue nose cone and a 2700 HP badge (not divulged is the 516-mph velocity needed to achieve that power level).
To light the burner, the pilot advances a red fuel lever and a blue throttle control while operating a two-stage electric starter.... Read full article