I'm Pretty Sure This Jet-Powered RX-7 Was The Craziest Car At Radwood

Radwood 2, the 1980s and 1990s car show we co-sponsored, had an incredible amount of fantastic, rare, and unexpected 1980s and 1990s rides. It was glorious. But, amid all that glory, there was also a fierce concentration of madness, centered over a strange, second-gen Mazda RX-7 with color-shifting paint and a small chimney on its hood.


Everyone at the show noticed this RX-7, mostly because every so often it would make a noise like a slowly-building mechanical banshee scream until it sounded exactly like something that was about to blow the hell up.

I’m not kidding; this thing makes sounds that trigger responses deep in your gut that scream get away now. Since almost everyone I know is an idiot on some level, no one got away, and instead flocked to the source of the noise, this RX-7.

Of course, it’s no regular, Wankel-powered RX-7. A rotary simply wasn’t weird enough for Patrick Huu, who works with ERD Engineering. Patrick converted the RX-7 to use a 350 horsepower electric motor, driven from about 200 lbs of experimental battery packs.

So far, that all sounds pretty rational; an EV conversion of an RX-7 is interesting, in a sort of listen-intently-and-nod-your-head-like-you-know-shit sort of way. But it’s not exactly exciting.

What is a lot more exciting is how those batteries get recharged: from the largest possible R/C plane jet engine you can buy, a little screaming monster that makes about 60 hp.

Yes, the engine is for an unpiloted R/C plane, but it’s still a pretty good sized jet engine. When Patrick spins it up, it’s loud as hell and, also like hell, it spits fire.


The exhaust of the jet engine is under that little chimney, and is pointed right at the windshield, where it works great as a defroster/deicer and as a way to spray hot diesel soot all over the glass.

Incredibly, this is Patrick’s daily driver. He gets groceries in this thing. Sure, he doesn’t always have to spin up the jet engine, but I bet he does, sometimes, just because he can.


I sure as hell would.

A note on my wardrobe: You may notice I’m dressed even stupider than usual in this video: that’s because that members-only type jacket and oversized, 1980s-era, tucked-in T-shirt and baggy pants were my half-assed attempt to look more ‘80s.


This video is not an endorsement of tucking in one’s t-shirt, which should be avoided whenever possible.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!: https://rb.gy/udnqhh)


The Stig's Chamorro cousin (Chamorrovirus)

Isnt’ it possible to get gas turbines to be more efficient than IC engines? And aren’t they much, much lighter? If both are true (and while I am enginerd, I am of the electrical variety, and therefore >50% useless here), then why doesn’t this type of thing exist in a more practical package?

Waste heat is my first reaction. Fire and death are #s 2 and 3.