When the image and the sound don't match.
Justin recently built a list of car engine-powered motorcycles—a fascinating subculture we don’t often get to discuss. When you flip it and reverse it, however, you get motorcycle engine-powered cars, which, in my opinion, give even cooler results.
Think about that really awesome Fiat 126 armed with a Honda CBR1000RR engine we recently wrote about, or even that quirky Honda Beat powered by a Suzuki Hayabusa engine. They look and sound ridiculous and we love it.
If you’re into this as much as we are, you’ll be happy to meet this little 1990 Rover Mini Mark IV built by the folks over at British Columbia’s AMT Machine Shop. No, the Mini doesn’t have exterior speakers to produce the sound of a Ninja—it actually runs on a 1999 ZX-10R engine.
Considering the 1970-1980s Mini’s original engine was also an inline-four that hovered around the one-liter displacement mark, using the ZX-10R's engine isn’t a big departure from the car’s factory engine, at least not size-wise. That being said, I can guarantee you that the OG Mini did not sound like that and that it was nowhere near producing close to 175 horsepower.
Beyond a simple engine swap, Adam and his crew also moved the engine behind the driver’s seat—sacrificing the rear seats—and diverted all the power to the rear wheels. They also lowered the body and widened the shoulders and hips for added grip. This isn’t a Kawasaki-powered vehicle you want to wheelie. The sequential transmission remained but the control was converted to a hand-activated gear selector. The shop also reused the Ninja’s instrument cluster that already works so well with the engine to keep an eye on how the four pots are doing.
Sure, the cabin heats up pretty quickly since the car has no firewall and the sound is unbearable unless you wear earplugs, but who here would turn down the keys? I sure wouldn’t. Admit it, watching the little British shoebox accelerate to the sound of an inline-four motorcycle engine is the silliest, most surreal thing you’ve experienced today. If that doesn’t make you smile even just a little, I don’t know what will.