Hooniverse Asks: What's the Coolest Exciting Car to Use a Dull Car Engine?

Let’s face it, there are a lot of cool engines out there slaving away under the hoods of undeserving cars and trucks.
Sometimes, they are allowed to cut loose and get to play at someone else’s party. That’s what we’re looking for today, engines that once did dull duty in one car, and that were then liberated when dropped into another. What do you think is the best exciting car to use a dull car’s engine?
Image: Wikipedia


  1. Playing off your example, I’ll go one further with the Lotus Evora. At least the ‘Yota engine used in the Elise motivated the hot version of the final Celica, a car with sporting pretensions. And the engine itself wasn’t dull at all.
    The 3.5L is a fine engine for a Camry or a Sienna. It makes good reliable power for those who need a little more motivation in their beigemobiles. It doesn’t belong mounted amidships in a high-performance semi-exotic. Not without substantial changes, that is. Sure, there’s a supercharged version, but the NA mill makes nearly the same power as it does in the Toyota equivalents.
    Edit: I really should read the text, not just the headline. Witness my shame. I’ll try again momentarily.

    1. Well, being a part of the LA family of motors (273,318,340,360) does allow for some
      interesting parts swaps for better performance. I ended up with a set of 360 heads and a
      340 aluminum dual plane intake on mine.

      1. My GTX got smoked by an Aspen with a built 318 – I have nothing but love for Mopar smallblocks (granted he also had a line lock, pinion snubber and traction bars, but he still ran away from me)

      1. I had thought about posting M4S, but it was a prototype never intended for production, and the engine was significantly modified from ones used in street cars.

      1. May’ve been off my meds this morning.
        Or, I was raised on liters, where the magic hipo number is 100hp/l. Or, it used to be. Now you can get better than 100hp/l in a damned milquetoast family vehicle.

      1. It may never have been intended as a Lotus drive-alike but it looked like a damn spaceship when it came out.

    1. Imagine that snake pit of an engine bay filled with the engine from an SM. It would be… an SM engine bay.

  2. Annoying Miata nerds like to call their automobile of choice, “The Answer”. With respect to today’s question, that may be appropriate. The NA 1.6 was a derivative of the mundane 323 mill.

    1. Not so! The Miata engine was the same as the turbo motor from the Mazda 323 GTX, but without the turbo, and with a lightened crankshaft and flywheel. It even has the piston oil squirters and oil plumbing for a turbo built into the block. So you could say that it was an exciting engine made more dull and put in an exciting car. And it’s relatively easy to make the Miata engine more exciting with the addition of a turbocharger.

      1. I’d say the GTX and Miata engines are both mundane Mazda B-series engines with modifications to make them exciting, not the other way around.

      2. You caught me. I skipped the step where the 323;s 1.6 became the GTX;s turbo’d unit. I like poking fun at the Miatisti that much.

    1. Very nice! Along the same lines we have the Kharmann Ghia. Looks fantastic, is powered by a Beetle engine.
      The Melkus R1000 is much the same, with a Wartburg engine:
      We could just as well include the way more common Wartburg 311 coupé:
      Only 67 Volvo P1900 were made, the glassfiber car inspired by the original Corvette. Powered by a 1.4 litre engine:

    1. This was the first car that came to mind for me but I figured most younger people wouldn’t remember what an atrocity that pairing was. “We’ll just throw in a truck engine: those stupid Americans won’t notice.”

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