8 Insane Vehicles You Won't Believe Are Street Legal
We've shown you the most unbelievable, badass and just plain stupid street-legal vehicles once before, but while the list was impressive, it was far from exhaustive. As long as there are wheels to spin and jet engines to slap on things that should not have jet engines, mankind's irrepressible need to go ungodly speeds while looking completely ludicrous shall not be sated.
The World's Smallest Car
That adorable little fella up there is Wind Up, a micro-machine that, yes, is somehow street legal, despite looking like a nervous cough would explode it into shrapnel. If Perry Watkins' ridiculous, 41-inch-high, 26-inch-wide car looks like a coin-operated children's ride, that's because it is a coin-operated children's ride -- with a chassis from a Shanghai Shenke quad bike and wheels from a Monkey motorcycle. This is what you look like driving it:
Seats one adult, or 15 clowns.
Oh, and you get into it like this:
There's something appropriate about opening it like a coffin.
To qualify this thing as street legal, Watkins and the folks at Perrywinkle Customs made sure that the Wind Up could hit speeds of up to 40 mph and came equipped with a windshield wiper. So never mind that you're barreling down the street in live traffic crammed into a fetal ball, protected from asphalt death by the shell of a kiddie ride -- you can see where you're going when it rains. Safety first.
The Jet Motorcycle
Ain't nothing cooler than fighter jets and motorcycles. Just ask Top Gun; Top Gun would tell you (if Top Gun could talk). Tony Pandolfo, from Orlando, Florida, understood this truth perfectly. That's why he did the most reasonable, logical thing any man has ever done: He put the jet fuel starter from an F-14 into a motorcycle. A Suzuki Hayabusa, to be exact -- a bike that is already as notoriously crazy as a bag full of wet cats. Tony looked down at one of the most arguably awesomely dangerous motorcycles in the world, and he thought, "Now, why on earth isn't that on fire?" So he corrected that error.
The Jet Hayabusa now fires 8-foot-long flames from the afterburner.
"Try tailgating me now!"
And though he won't go public with the exact specs of the jet bike (in general, the less the government knows about your ad hoc superhero vehicles, the better) -- he does say it "easily accelerates to 100 mph." It's supposedly pretty easy to ride as well. Since there are obviously no gears in a friggin' jet engine, the Jet Hayabusa operates more like an automatic scooter -- you only need a throttle and a brake. Hey, if the other bikers make fun of your overblown moped, guess who's got two thumbs, an unburned face and a flamethrower switch? Not those guys; not anymore.
So, somebody out there is riding around on the most ridiculously suicidal vehicle imaginable, just one pothole away from taking out the whole block in a literal blaze of glory. And that somebody could be you! The Jet Hayabusa is actually on sale to the public for about 60 grand. If you're interested in one, just head on over to the worst website ever designed: If you make it past the start up animation, you get a 20 percent discount on PTSD treatments.
More people have been killed by this than by riding the bike.
If you've ever wondered what the Batmobile would look like after going through a compactor at a junkyard, here's your answer.
"We don't care who you are; in Gotham City, 'No Parking' means no parking."
The world's most badass slot car is the brainchild of Perry Watkins, and it is the lowest street-legal vehicle on the road, at only 19 inches tall. Somewhere, a lone chollo is shedding a single tear at the unspeakable beauty of its lowness. Its top speed is only around 100 mph, so while it isn't the fastest thing on the road, it's still the only vehicle capable of passing without changing lanes.
"Toll booths can suck it."
The Flatmobile is so short that it's not legal to operate at night, because the headlights are too low -- we guess they don't adequately light up the 10-foot visibility your 19-inch ground clearance gives you. But hey, if visibility is your issue, you could always just blaze up the night sky with the fireball that shoots out of the jet engine on the back.
Il Tempo Gigante
Behold! An exact replica of the Pinchcliffe Grand Prix car! I'm sorry -- maybe you didn't read that right. It's the fucking Pinchcliffe Grand Prix car! Hmm ... apparently you're not one of the 5.5 million people who bought a ticket to see the blockbuster 1975 film Pinchcliffe Grand Prix. (Baffling note: There were only 4 million people in Norway in 1975.) So this is your first time meeting the inexplicably named Il Tempo Gigante, the premier automotive phallic symbol of every middle-aged man in Norway.
"Does it come in flesh-colored?"
At first blush, Il Tempo looks like a charming, old-timey ride -- the Norwegian version of the Cheaper by the Dozen car -- but make no mistake: This thing hauls ass, with a top speed of 200 mph. Just listen to it pull away:
Modeled after the movie's dual-engine behemoth, and with two engines of its own developing a collective 1,200 horsepower, Il Tempo Gigante is mostly only seen as a bright, golden, dong-shaped blur on the motorways. But if you do catch up to it, you'll find it equipped with the same ludicrous gadgets from the movie version, including a functional TV and bar.
It's like the car's begging you to commit vehicular manslaughter.
Look closer and notice the ridiculous scale of the roadster as compared to the driver. That's not a Norwegian Oompa Loompa in the pilot's seat; the car is 22 feet long and weighs over 3 tons. That's bigger than most limousines, and most limousines don't bust 200 mph (the G-forces would make getting to second base with your prom date way too complicated).
At first glance, that car might not look too outlandish -- it's a souped-up custom hot rod, sure, but does it really belong on a list with the limbomobile and a 22-foot-long subsonic golden phallus? Yes. Yes it does. Because Final Objective is a '55 Chevy with a goddamn plane engine in it.
Pictured: Chuck Yeager's wet dream.
That's right -- this Frankensteined Chevrolet custom is powered by a 3,000-horsepower (3,000 horses! That's technically a horse city!) Rolls-Royce Merlin aircraft engine, formerly used in a hydroplane. In a feat of engineering wizardry, the power plant was mounted in the front of the car, backward, and continues under the floorboards to a special two-speed transmission.
Painstakingly created by hot rod enthusiast Rod Hadfield and his team of loyal masochists, Final Objective cost over $1 million and took five years to build. The paint job is based off of a World War II fighter plane from the 352nd Bluenose Bastards of Bodney, and those are 6,000 tricolor rivets studding the body. But the aviation theme doesn't end there, because this '55 Chevy comes with a complete, functional cockpit:
Because if you're going to go batshit crazy, you go all the way.
"Eliica" stands for "electric lithium-ion battery car," which, come on, is just officially cheating at acronyms. The cheatermobile has eight independent wheels, and we mean seriously independent: Each wheel has its own private motor, because eco-friendly or not, the Eliica is not having any of that commie "sharing" crap.
"Pssst, you go left and I'll go right. I wanna see what happens."
Eight motors means more horsepower: 640 horsepower, to be precise. And since it's electric, there's no need for a transmission, thus no getting bogged down by gears. As one test driver put it, the acceleration is "mind-boggling." The Eliica has been clocked at 230 mph, and the creator, one Professor Hiroshi Shimizu, is hoping to push that up above 250 mph.
It rivals the most high-end supercars in every respect. So it's just too bad that it looks like a cybernetic potato bug. But oh well, by the time somebody thinks up a devastating insult for your shimmering eight-wheeled dorkmobile, you'll be two counties away.
A Literal Tank
"Block me in. I dare you."
You know what? That's quite enough screwing around. All of these vehicles are just poor substitutes for what we really want to drive: a literal goddamn tank. But surely that is frowned upon, or else why are all these stupid cars everywhere? If tanks were legal transport for the average citizen, surely there would be nary a Prius in sight for the sea of bobbing artillery clogging our roadways. But it turns out that the only thing stopping you from commuting to work in a war machine is about $25,000 and your own tragic lack of testicular fortitude.
Stephen Ellison lacks no such thing, and that's why he tools around town in a 1974 Sabre light reconnaissance tank, which actually saw action in Kosovo before it was redeployed to its new assignment: taking a British man to the weekly jam market (that's what you Brits do on the weekends, right?). The Sabre is a light tank, and therefore has a top speed of 40 mph. It only needed a few modifications to become street legal: rubber tracks and the deactivation of the gun.
What? Aw, bullshit. What's the point of a tank without a gun? That's like trail mix without M&Ms: It's missing the best part. Well, if you, like any sensible automotive enthusiast, prefer firepower to speed, you can always make like this Iowa man:
He bought a surplus tank from an ad in a military magazine, slapped a rearview mirror and some turn signals on it, and bam! Roadworthy tank. His gun still works, though -- it's just rigged to a propane tank, so it can only shoot blanks. Still, we doubt that the jerk who just cut you off will find any great comfort in that fact once you open fire on his BMW.
A Drivable Batpod
Quick, what's the one thing every sensible man, woman and child wants to be someday? If you said "happy" or "successful," you get right the hell out of our Internet, buzzkill. The correct answer was "Batman." Literally everybody wants to be Batman, and now, for the low, low price of $100,000, you can at least commute like him.
This is a custom replica of the Batpod from The Dark Knight as built by Chopper City, USA, a motorcycle shop in Florida. Although CC USA says it won't come street legal if you buy it, for accuracy's sake (Batman didn't have to worry about running lights and rearview mirror compliance, but telling the nice police officers who pull you over that "you are the bat" doesn't exactly get you less arrested), they will gladly make it so at your request. Here's what the street legal version looks like, tooling around town:
It's powered by an 850cc Aprilla Mana drivetrain, so while it's not exactly flipping sideways or up walls, riding it sure as hell isn't going to be boring. Oh, and don't worry: Of course you don't have to ride sitting up, like the guy in the video. The instrument panel pops out so you can ride lying down, just like the movie. The part where Batman merges into a garbage truck because he can't physically check his blind spot in that position sadly did not make the final cut of the film.
Oh, and if that's a little out of your price range (What? You don't have a cool hundred grand to drop pretending to be a comic book character?), you can always do like this Vietnam mechanic did, and build your own out of spare car parts and scrap metal.
Honestly, it's probably safer than most motorcycles in Southeast Asia.
That version clocks in at just shy of $500, and since he's riding it through live traffic in Vietnam, we're going to say that technically it's street legal. But then, we are talking about Vietnam: A rampaging buffalo is probably street legal there, just as long as you use your hand signals.