Video: A Dozen Things That Shouldn’t Be Powered By A V8, But Are

If YouTube had existed in Tim “The Toolman” Taylor’s universe, this would be his channel, filled with things he built. While Tim Taylor is a fictional character on a TV show which only lives on through reruns on obscure cable networks, the character’s desire for “more power” is a real sickness that afflicts people across the globe.

These real-life insanity machines are proof not only that a small-block Chevy will work with almost anything, but that there exist human beings who are convinced that powering inappropriate things with a V8 engines is a good idea. While we, personally, aren’t brave enough to build a 302-powered unicycle, we do enjoy watching those who are.

While there are a dozen different conversions shown in the video, there are some repeats (in concept), and some that really aren’t all that crazy, so we’re going to pick our five favorites and talk about those.

Holden-Powered Austrailian Chainsaw

While the first beast featured in the video looks like it is powered by a small-block Chevrolet, it is actually a Holden 253 cubic-inch engine. While Holden is an Australian subsidiary of General Motors, the Holden 253 and 308 were actually domestically designed and built “down under.” The 253 was lighter than comparable 283/307 SBC engines and shared many design features with Pontiac engines but was designed for right-hand drive.

Built by Whitlands Engineering, it drives the chain at a 1:1 ratio, though a right angle drive, with enough oomph to put even the heartiest competitive chainsawer (not sure if we’re making up a word there or not) to shame. Sounding like an unmuffled bracket car doing a burnout, the saw rips through a 14-inch tree trunk in less time than the average bracket car burnout.

Chevy 355-Powered Snowmobile

Ok, first let’s get this out of the way – we know there are insanely-fast snowmobiles out there. In fact we’ve seen seven-second sled passes in person (in the middle of summer) at Milan Dragway. This, however, is a whole different kind of nuts.

This sled was originally built with a 327-cube small-block Chevy, but when that wasn’t enough, it was replaced with a 355-cube version, and then taken out on the open ice. This particular sled has been clocked at 124 miles per hour on the open snow. As there haven’t been any updates on the sled since 2014, we have to assume that the driver moved on to a less-insane thrill-seeking enterprise.

While this may be a little blurry, since it’s from the 660-foot mark on a snow track, you can see the sheer insanity of a transverse-mounted 355 on a snowmobile that gets up to 124 miles per hour on the open snow.

Buick Nailhead Margarita Mixer

Never, in our lives, have we been so inconvenienced by the time it takes a blender to make a margarita, that we considered powering one with an automotive engine. Apparently, a fellow only known as “Doc” not only had the idea, but executed it using a 401 cubic-inch Buick Nailhead. While it seems like a rather loud, inefficient method, I doubt you’ll ever find a cooler way to blend something.

Austrailian Fiat Niki Burnout Car

We’ve covered the crazy Australian burnout competition cars and engines before, but this one really takes the cake. Usually, burnout cars are vehicles in which a V8 engine is appropriate. However, since the name of the game is controlled absurdity, it only makes sense that a subcompact Fiat Niki would get outfitted with an engine that looks like it belongs in a Pro-Mod.

In reality it’s powered by a stock (yes, that’s what they are claiming) 4.0 L Toyota 1UZ engine with an 8-71 roots blower and a Big & Ugly fuel injection hat. While the Toyota 1UZ is a robust engine, we have a hard time believing that it would hold up to the rigors of 5,000-plus rpm with an 8-71 for extended periods, as well as this little thing does, in completely stock form.

Ummm… yeah. Words escape us here.

SBC-Powered Jet Ski

Getting back to answering the question, “What won’t a small-block Chevy fit into?” You can cross “jet ski” off of the list. Apparently the natural thing to do when you get a beat-to-hell jet ski, is to turn it into a family project of shoving a V8 in it. With a 2:1 reduction drive in it, not only does everything fit, but it actually works.

While the thing sits really low in the water at rest, presumably due to the extra weight incurred by having an iron-block V8 engine in it, once it gets up on plane, the thing, as expected hauls butt. There is no word on how maneuverability is affected, but we have to assume this thing isn’t quite as nimble as in its original form.

Have you ever put a far too powerful engine into something insane? If so, let us know. We have some questions for you…

About the author

Greg Acosta

Greg has spent over a decade in automotive publishing as Senior Editor of Race Pages magazine. In his free time, he is a firearms instructor and volunteer in the police armory.
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