There’s just something about stupid-fast peoplemovers that gets the hoon’s blood pumping and tongue wagging. Why else would people drag race Caravan turbos? Or a buff book set out to build the Mazdaspeed 5 the folks in Hiroshima won’t? (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t go particularly smoothly.) But those and every other example of box-on-wheels buffoonery are quite simply dwarfed by the achievements of the should-be-institutionalized clever Germans at TH Automobile. Sure, it clearly resembles the front-engined VW van that Dr. Piëch and his merry minions used to send here as the Eurovan (which was known internally as the T4; the current model on which the TH2RS is known as the T5), but the nice Leute at TH have done more than just add some tyte rimz and Bruce-Banner-when-pissed-off paint. For starters, they’ve sh*tcanned the stock engine and drivetrain. Before installing a new one, they cut a hole in the rear of the floor and removed the entire rear axle and suspension. Into this void they dropped a complete engine and transaxle from a 996 generation Porsche 911 Turbo, and had fellow tuner 9ff goose the twin-turbo flat-six up to a socially-irresponsible nice and sensible 800 horsepower. Then they had H&R whip up an air spring system for all four corners that automatically lowers the bus as speeds increase. That’s all fine and loony, you say, but TH also realized that because the engine was no longer the first thing to arrive at the scene of the accident in which you will surely be vaporized in front, they were no longer limited in where they could locate the steering column and, consequently, the driver. Enter the center steering conversion, complete with a custom dash featuring a Porsche gauge cluster and a sport shifter to stir the 6-speed manual transmission. There are four carbon fiber racing buckets in two rows of two mounted behind the matching driver’s perch, because hey, what’s a van if it isn’t family friendly? It all sounds epic, but how does it actually perform? Two-time World Rally Champion and Porsche test driver Walter Röhrl got a chance to play with it and used the word “unglaublich” (German for “unbelievable”) early and often. But perhaps the most gobsmacking endorsement of all is its top speed, which you’ll see it reach below on the famous circular test track in Nardo, Italy. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8Ujhfi-4FU[/youtube] For those of you who believe the metric system is a socialist plot to disenfranchise the middle class were raised on miles-per-hour, 311 km/h translates to 193 mph. In a van. With a freaking wizard mural the steering wheel in the middle and seating for five. Would I have made the TH2RS my HCOTY nominee had I known about it sooner? Is Paris Hilton easy? More ass-engined hypervan porn at TH Automobile’s Web site.
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