Almost nothing provides cheap and light power to cars like a transplanted motorcycle engine. Here are the three- and four-wheeled production vehicles Jalopnik readers think are the ten most awesome motorcycle-engined cars.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: Vandenbrink
10.) Cooper 500
Suggested By: Random Ralph Wiley
Why it's awesome: There is nothing quite like the story of British toolshed mechanics coming to revolutionize and dominate Formula One and cars like this little Cooper are what made it all happen. Britain's 500cc formula class got the likes of Cooper started and inspired such legends as Lotus' Colin Chapman and Lola's Eric Broadley. Here is the genesis of the modern open wheeler, and it's a motorcycle engine that provides the power.
Photo Credit: Andy Carter
9.) Iso Isetta/BMW 600
Suggested By: 87CE 95PV Type Я
Why it's awesome: Most of the Isettas you know never really had motorcycle engines, just motorcycle-sized engines, but if you trace your way back to the original Iso-built cars, it's nothing but bike engines in the back. These are the bubble cars that put Europe back on wheels, if only because the parts were so cheap and simple. You could stick whatever engine you could in there, and tiny little automotive hearts made for two-wheelers did the trick for cash-strapped buyers. If all that history isn't enough to hold your attention, you can always throw a Hayabusa in there and see how long you can survive.
Photo Credit: Georg
8.) The Vandenbrink Carver-ONE
Suggested By: Lactose_The-Intolerant
Why it's awesome: We're pretty liberal in our definition of a car, so we'll let a leaning canopy trike thing onto this list. Unlike everything else in this top ten, though, the engine isn't the centerpiece with the Carver, it's more the bonkers Dutch engineering that makes its fighter jet-dipping-into-turns-party piece possible. It may not burn rubber and tear asphalt to shreds, but we still want one.
Photo Credit: cotxe87.com
7.) Radical SR4
Suggested By: Mark Lipsi
Why it's awesome:The first I heard of Radicals was of some too fast for their own good racers that regularly broke down at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. For the money, a Radical is about as fast as you can go on four wheels, with monster bike engines out back and an aero-equipped fiberglass body to hold things down. If you want a Le Mans racer, but you never made VP at the local oil mega conglomerate, then maybe a slightly more affordable Radical is the thing for you.
Photo Credit: Paul Belson
6.) Honda S600
Suggested By: SuperFastMatt
Why it's awesome: Honda got into cars in pretty much the coolest way possible, with some gorgeous, chain-driven, motorcycle-engined roadsters. The first was the S360, then the S500, and finally the S600, delineated by their engine size in cubic centimeters! If only my folks' Volvo could've been a Volvo S2,316! In any case, we don't really care that the S600 has a top speed of 90. It's pretty much our dream to be top down on some country lane, wringing out this car's engine to its 8,500 RPM redline.
Photo Credit: Shiny Side Down
5.) Formula SAE racers
Suggested By: Bullitt417
Why it's awesome: This is what happens when you leave a bunch of engineers to their own devices with racing in mind. They may not look like much, but these are engineers, not artists, so you get big speed from little motorcycle engines. Just a few hundred pounds hold the engines down in these nerdcore specials. What they achieve in terms of performance is unreal, and we absolutely love them.
Photo Credit: Julian Choquette
4.) Morgan 3-Wheeler
Suggested By: Defender90
Why it's awesome: The three-wheeled Morgan may have started out as one of the cheapest ways to get yourself on the road, but the car (trike?) moved on from its bargain transportation roots into something of an enthusiast's classic. A 3-wheeler is a perfect backroads companion, with plenty of that wind in your hair British roadster feel dialed up to eleven. I mean, it has no doors, not really much of a roof, not really much of anything but two seats and a motorcycle engine sitting up ahead of the front wheels. Today, the old Morgans are becoming regular features in vintage racing and Morgan themselves have started to remake the old 3-wheeler with a Harley engine, hoping to cash in on some of the green cred efficiency everyone's been talking about.
Photo Credit: Jim Culp
3.) Light Car Company Rocket
Suggested By: Mr. Woolery
Why it's awesome: Here's the car that got the whole motorcycle-engined high performance car thing off the ground. A tie up with Gordon Murray and former racing driver Chris Craft, the LCC Rocket was something of an expensive ‘50s-F1 lookalike with a 1,000cc Yamaha engine in the back. We don't know what kind of engineering know-how it took to make something like this work for the first time, or how they kept the car so damn light, but we absolutely love the thing, in all its homebuilt oversteering glory.
2.) Palatov Motorsport D1
Suggested By: X-cchannel-M
Why it's awesome: Dennis Palatov has been working up his own super don't-call-it-a go kart for the better part of a decade now, and we're still totally amazed by the Fiat Bisiluro-on-crack cars we've seen bearing his name. The Hayabusa-powered D4 has been tearing shit up in Oregon and California for a few years now, but it's the sweet-Jesus-protect-me-now D1, with its 430hp motorcycle-derived V8 that has us drooling. It's an all-wheel drive 1000hp/ton trackday monster, and we can't get enough of it. Here it is taking its first track test just a few days ago in a sunny, beautiful Northwest kart track.
Photo Credit: Palatov Motorsport
1.) Ariel Atom V8
Suggested By: rev_junkie
Why it's awesome: Of all the British track cars that have sprung up in the past few years, the Atom holds the high honor of the car most likely to make you shit your pants. Crazy speed and no body panels whatsoever make even the most basic Ariel a mind blowing car, so when you throw in a Hartley V8, a fantastic re-engineering of two Hayabusa engines, it's "Cry ‘Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war" time. If you want a car to be more exciting, we suggest you try driving while on fire, or perhaps off a cliff.
Photo Credit: davidgsteadman