Is there anything that custom builders won’t try swapping a Suzuki Hayabusa engine into? We have one wrong answer for you, and it’s this ancient rustbucket of a Volkswagen Rabbit pickup truck. Rich, who runs the Rich Rebuilds channel on YouTube, said that he picked it up wanting a somewhat reliable little truck that he could fix up while waiting for repairs on the 7,000-plus pound chonker that is his Rivian.
Then Project Brain took over, coincidentally at or around the same time that Rich’s friends over at the Megan’s Welder YouTube channel decided to yank their turbo Hayabusa engine out of a project car that they’d previously built. Suddenly, sticking a Hayabusa engine with a ton of supporting mods and a turbocharger into that eensy little VW pickup seemed like exactly the correct action to take.
In this video, Rich explains the how and why of this project’s humble beginnings—and then starts to get into the nuts and bolts of making it come together. Outside of all the rust, one of the biggest problems with this VW Rabbit pickup is that it was "dangerously slow."
How slow? According to Rich, the truck as he bought it had a zero to 60 time of about 20 seconds. If you had a contest for vehicles that can’t get out of their own way, it might just win.
One way to solve that is, of course, taking a heavily modified Gen One Hayabusa engine with a turbo on it, that can reportedly make a reliable 400-plus horsepower. The Megan’s Welder team suggests that undercutting the gears on the transmission might be something that Rich should consider in the future.
However, as he explains, doing that is not something he has time for at the moment. So instead, they’re going to have to be a little bit gentle when they launch this thing—that is, after they conquer the hurdles that exist between assembling the project components and getting them to play nicely together.
There are plenty of challenges to be found here, because motorcycle engines and car engines are built with different considerations in mind. From the output shaft to shifting gears, the Rich Rebuilds team has ideas on how to tackle some of the issues that have come up so far. Which paths they’ll take remain to be seen in the upcoming videos in this project series.
What would you do with a turbo Hayabusa engine, and why? Let us know in the comments.