Any car fan knows that the best way to upgrade a car isn’t a paint job or a spoiler: it’s putting some more power under the hood. Of course, some cars are more surprising than others: here are five cars that could take down the best muscle car in a street race.
5) The Dodge Caravan
There’s just something about messing with vans that really appeals to people. For example, here’s a guy who installed a helicopter engine into a minivan (the soccer magnet on the back was a nice touch):
But there are plenty of more, ah, street legal vans out there that take it beyond all sense, and apparently, the one van enthusiasts most want to rip open and stick a turbo in is the 1989 Dodge Caravan. For example!
But that’s just one guy, right? Well…no…
You can find videos of Caravans being modified, raced and being used in ways the Dodge marketing department never intended, all over YouTube. Although our personal favorite is the 12-Second 1989 Dodge Minivan, complete with a 3-inch exhaust, a Ford intercooler, and a self-built blow-off vale.
Oh, and also the factory engine. Seriously.
4) Hennessey’s Cadillac Escalade
Make no mistake, the Escalade is a beast: 6000 pounds straight from the factory. It’s designed to lug an enormous body around, and impress everyone with how flashy you are. So you might as well give your gigantic baby over to Hennessey and let them put a twin turbo under the hood.
As you might have noticed from the video, at the highest level, Hennessey can kill a stock sports car with ease. True, you’ll pretty much have to rip out the entire engine and replace it with a custom block, not mention the litany of custom parts on it, but the look on the face of that jerk in a Camaro as you blow him away with 60mph in 3.3 seconds will be worth every penny.
3) The Turbofied Dodge Ram
OK, the music is painfully cheesy, and we can’t find any video of this truck racing…but 515 horsepower is always fun to have handy for those hard jobs. Like outracing a Honda Civic. And then crushing it flat.
2) Hennessey’s CTS-V
Sure, we could tell you Hennessey put a 650 horsepower engine into a Cadillac station wagon, but why tell when you can show a video of it beating the pants off a Porsche 911 in a race?
We’re not sure if Hennessey does things like install a custom cold-air induction system and upgrade the heat exchanger to demonstrate how good they are at upgrading cars, or because they just find making these videos hilarious.
1) The Turbo Yugo
We know, the idea of a Yugo actually moving, let alone at anything resembling a genuine speed, seems terrifying and an affront to the car gods. But it does exist! It just took a lot of doing … like replacing that infamous interference engine with something that wouldn’t die after 40,000 miles.
In this case, that’s a Fiat 1500cc engine courtesy of an ’81 X 1/9, with the T25 Turbo of a ’91 Saab 9000 to give it that extra boost. And, of course, that inimitable styling from the body of a ’87 Yugo. But, really, when you’re tricking that jerk in the stock Mustang to a drag race, isn’t it the body that will get them?
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