A Flamethrower Option For Your BMW Was Once A Totally Real Thing

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It's pretty easy to feel spoiled by car options today. Ass-heaters and coolers, satellite-based navigation, 360° cameras, demote start, and lots more stuff that would have been sci-fi a decade ago are now common. Even so, all those gizmos look like toys compared to an amazing option of the late 90s: a flamethrower.

To be fair, this wasn't really a factory option, and its target market was pretty specific: Johannesburg, South Africa. It was called the Blaster, or sometimes the BMW Blaster, and it was designed in 1998 by Charl Fourie as a reaction against the alarming rates of carjackings in Joburg.

The $650 device was mounted a pair of nozzles under each side of the car, pointing out. The nozzles were fed by tanks of LPG in the trunk, and activated by a combination of a switch and a small foot button placed near the gas pedal. When a driver felt they were in danger of a carjacking, or maybe driving down a road fenced with hot dogs and marshmallows, they'd turn the switch, hit the button, and shoot massive flames out of either side of the car.


The flames are non-lethal, though the inventor does state

"My personal feeling is that it would definitely blind a person. He will never see again."


So, there's that.

The device sold only a few hundred of them before being discontinued, due to poor financial return. It's thought that a number of these are still installed on cars in South Africa, though the carjacking problem, while still one of the worst in the world, isn't nearly as bad as it once was.


I haven't been able to find out exactly why it's called the BMW Blaster — it certainly doesn't seem to be an official BMW factory product, though perhaps it was sold exclusively through BMW dealers. There's no reason why the car this is installed on would need to be a BMW, though that's all it seems to be installed on.


Even if you could find one, I'm pretty sure these would be illegal in the US, unless you could make a really compelling argument that they're for rapid s'more production, or maybe they could be retrofitted for confetti ejection.