Jet Turbine-Powered 1984 Corvette Funny Car Leaves Us Wanting More
A Corvette in name only, this dragster has more in common with early jet fighter aircraft than anything you’d see on the street.
It’s no secret that we love old Corvette race cars here on CorvetteForum. However, this race car we found on Hemmings shares little more than the vague silhouette of a C4 Corvette with the production model. Still, we thought it was cool enough to share with you guys.
This red, white, and blue funny car dragster, dubbed ‘Fireworks USA,’ dispenses with the usual fire-breathing big-block V8 in favor of a jet turbine engine — specifically, a Westinghouse J34 Turbo-Jet, for the aviation nerds.
Originally built in 1951 — predating the very first Corvette by two years — this engine was set to power any number of early, post-WWII jet aircraft: the North American T2 Buckeye, the Lockheed P2V Neptune, the Douglas F3d Skyknight and the McDonnell F2H Banshee. Instead, it found itself nestled between the frame rails of a 2,400 pound dragster the owner nicknamed “The Weapon.”
The Westinghouse J34 Turbo-Jet is capable of producing a maximum thrust of 3,600 pounds. On afterburner mode, it produces over 7,000 horsepower, and, installed in Fireworks USA, is capable of of a quarter mile trap speed of over 250 miles per hour. Naturally, it still runs on jet fuel.
With the fiberglass funny car body hinged to show off the frame, it’s clear just how much space the jet turbine engine — and its massive fuel tank — takes up. The engine takes up nearly the entire length of the stretched funny car wheelbase, with the small driver safety cell hanging off the left side.
This is very clearly not your average 1984 Corvette. Having competed in the NHRA’s Jet Exhibition/Jet Funny Car 102 Class, it has its share of racing history. It started its life in Texas, then moved to Arizona before finally settling in Pennsylvania where it, along with its owner, now enjoys a quiet retirement, waiting for a chance to roar down the strip once again.