Throughout the halls of automotive history, there have been many vehicles graced with the nickname beast. Your esteemed author once rallycrossed a white 1994 Buick Roadmaster shod with off-road truck tires that, for the better part of a year, was known as the beast. It never sounded like a beast though – in fact, we'd bet good money that nothing with four wheels and a seat sounds as beastly as this go-kart.
Say hello to Robert Maddox, or the Rocketman according to his YouTube page. We recently happened upon his channel and this crazy video, and if you have clicked play on it yet, his expression says it all. Frankly, we can't imagine anyone not having a similar expression sitting that close to white-hot steel on a jet-propelled plank with wheels. The video doesn't offer much information on the build, but then again, there isn't much to it. Take a tube frame, add four wheels, a seat, a steering wheel, a propane bottle, three pulsejets, and voila, one beast of a go-kart.
The Bad Ideas Are Always The Best Ones:
Even the engine is pretty simple. A pulse jet is basically air and fuel mixing in a combustion chamber, with the explosion funneled out the back for thrust. In Maddox's design there are no valves, and the pulsing nature of the detonation is where the name (and the odd sound) comes from. The downside to the pulsejet design is that it's not very efficient, but when you have three of them bolted to a featherweight chassis, one doesn't need much thrust to have some fun.
And yes, this looks like serious fun. According to the video description, Maddox has ripped around at speeds up to 90 mph when not holding a camera while driving one-handed. A simple throttle controls the speed, and for what it's worth, the rig looks pretty stable on the dry lakebed. And we bet it's nice and warm too ... perfect for fun runs on cold evenings in the desert. Just don't lean on the engine when you pull up for a break.
Jumping over to Maddox's website, we see this isn't his first rodeo by a long shot. He's built multiple go-karts, motorcycles, a freaking pulsejet skateboard, and he offers completed engines as well as kits and plans for people to build their own beast. Perhaps there's something that could work on a Buick Roadmaster?
No, we don't need to go down that road again. Or do we?