Mesquite Motor Mania – Huge Engine Gallery

DSC_2518For the past nine years, a small resort town just 80 miles north of Las Vegas named Mesquite, Nevada hosts one of the state’s largest automotive gatherings. This year, over 800 cars, trucks, bikes and special interest vehicles gathered upon the towns three hotel/casino properties in a joint effort to help boost the local economy. The event is called, “Mesquite Motor Mania” and it provides a wide variety of combinations from mild to wild. With over $15,000 in cash and prizes as well as 260 awards, we saw some amazing machines. We popped the hoods of some of vehicles there and saw everything from numbers matching engines to a very popular term, engine “swaps.” Here are some of our favorite engines!

George and India Sepulveda from Lake Havasu City, Arizona brought one amazing 1948 Ford Woodie Wagon to the show. Although you tend to see many different engine combinations in these, we did not expect to see a supercharged 4.6-liter, 4-valve mod motor from a mid 2000s Cobra. To top it off, the entire engine bay and top half of the was painted in “root beer” to match the car.

We stumbled upon this completely customized 1973 Datsun drag car. Almost everyone single part of this car has been customized to include the nitrous assisted big-block Chevy, stuffed between the frame rails.

A Whale? Chuck Hanson brought his rare 1969 “Whale” Ultra Van, complete with a whopping 110 horsepower. Although, we couldn’t “pop the hood,” we thought its uniqueness deserved a mention.

“The Ultra Van is a unique motorhome. Powered by a Corvair engine and transaxle, it was designed by David Peterson (a professional aircraft designer) in the early sixties. These units were produced in limited quantities by Ultra, Inc. of Hutchinson, Kansas until June of 1970.As a true monococque structure, the Ultra Van has no chassis. It is constructed like an airplane with aluminum ribs covered with riveted sheet aluminum on the top and sides. Compound curved areas (front and back corners) are fiberglass. All wheels are independently sprung with coil springs and tubular shock absorbers. These units cruise easily at 60 mph and deliver 15 plus mpg. More than 100 of about 376 units produced are still on the road, many with between 100,000 and 500,000 miles of use. Length: 22 feet Wheelbase: 152 inches
Height: 8 feet Width: 8 feet,” according to

Check out the mega gallery with some more engine candy!

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About the author

Eddie Maloney

A resident of Las Vegas, Eddie has been involved in drag racing most of his life. Currently a NHRA tech and photographer for The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he has served 17 years in the military. When not freelancing or photographing, Eddie enjoys sharing time with his wife and daughter.
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