Stanceworks founder Mike Burroughs is a quiet dude with a very cute dog. He’s spent the last few years working his ass off to build what is arguably the internet’s most controversial Ferrari, but he’s not letting that controversy bother him.
What’s controversial about the build? Well, if you’ve followed his burgeoning YouTube channel, you know that Mike is building a Ferrari 328. He quickly yanked that car’s old, underpowered transverse V8 engine, and in its place, he’s put a turbocharged Honda K24 four-cylinder capable of making over 1,000 horsepower.
That Honda swap is typically where keyboard warriors start reaching for their pitchforks, but here’s the thing: It makes sense when you think about it. First, while the original V8 sounded cool, that was pretty much where its charm stopped. It was also heavy; parts were expensive and hard to get, which is bad, considering the ‘80s Ferrari’s reputation for unreliability. And it didn’t leave an abundance of room in the 328's engine bay for work.
The Honda K-series motor is arguably the greatest four-banger ever conceived by human beings, with legendary reliability, huge power potential, great packaging and amazing parts availability should something go pop. Yeah, it doesn’t sound like a V8, but who cares?
I visited Mike’s shop in Orange County as he was preparing to go head-down into the final crunch before the car’s debut at SEMA. The Ferrari was due for a date with CSF’s exhibitor booth at the 2022 SEMA show on November 1. It was rad enough to see in person the car that I’ve been ogling on YouTube for years, but getting to understand Mike’s thought process on the design and how the build has come together was even better.
Mike has wanted to build a Ferrari 308 or 328 for years, having been introduced to the car by his stepdad as a kid. The idea to build it as a time attack car was a bit more recent, as was the decision to go with Honda power. Thanks to a few strategic car flips and a bunch of luck, he was able to jump on this very tidy yellow 328 when a friend found it for sale in New York.
“This car was way nicer than what I thought I’d be able to afford or start with,” Mike told me. “The car was super clean inside and out and in decent mechanical shape. I felt a little bad at first about cutting it up, but at the end of the day, there’s a reason these cars are still among the cheapest Ferraris out there. They’re gorgeous, but they’re just not that good in stock form.”
In addition to being probably the most over-the-top Ferrari build I’ve seen, the process has been a huge learning experience for Mike. This was his excuse to learn TIG welding, which isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Learning this skill on your one-off Ferrari mostly-a-racecar project takes chutzpah, but looking at the car up close, you can see the progression of Mike’s skills as a fabricator.
The intake tubing, for example, was his first big TIG project, and looking at it, that’s pretty obvious. It’s functional but not pretty, which Mike admits, but the handmade aspect of this car is part of the appeal to me (and I suspect, to some of you, too). This wasn’t assembled by a bunch of engineers in a multi-million-dollar state-of-the-art facility; it was built mostly by one guy in his shop. You can also see parts of the car where Mike’s desire to de-ugly Ferrari’s chassis ran up against the limit of his skills at the time, and so he figured out how to bridge the gap.
One area where Mike pushed the boundaries of what one guy can do is using CAD/CAM and services like Send Cut Send, where you upload a CAD file and get a laser- or waterjet-cut metal part built to your exact specs and shipped to you. This process was crucial in assembling the Ferrari’s steering and drive axle knuckles, which look like they came out of a GT3 race car.
Because 3D modeling and CAD are so powerful, Mike has dedicated whole videos on YouTube to demonstrating the basics of software like Fusion 360, so people like you and me can design our own parts. I’m blundering my way through the software, trying to learn enough to build a battery and electronics box for my motorcycle project, and Mike’s explainer gave me enough tips and courage to try it out and make a decent start.
Mike dubbed this build the Ferrari 244 GTK — 2.4-liter 4-cylinder K-series engine, following the convention that gave the 3.0-liter 8-cylinder Ferrari its name. It debuted at SEMA this week to nearly unanimous admiration. But the build is definitely not done. Mike plans to drive his Honda-powered Ferrari on the street and, more importantly, on track in time-attack challenges. That means the car will likely require a ton of further development, refining the suspension and steering designs that Burroughs cooked up on his own and finalizing the bodywork and electronics. The engine is probably the closest to being finished, since it was largely a turn-key unit from 4 Piston Racing, but even that will likely require dyno tuning and some small tweaks.
That’s good news for those of us who have been eagerly watching this build — there’s likely to be a bunch more videos coming on the car, and that’s pretty damned exciting. Even more exciting, Mike met his insanely ambitious goal for this build, driving the Ferrari onto the SEMA show floor under its own power. Considering the state it was in just two weeks ago when I visited Mike’s shop, that’s seriously impressive.