The Canadian gearheads over at Pistonhead Productions stuffed a 4BT into a 1990 Miata and backed it with a Ford T19 transmission and Ford 8.8-inch rear end. If you race SCCA and you haven’t vomited yet, good on you, because this Miata raised over $10,000 for a local high school’s shop class when it was auctioned in 2016. See, even the baby Cummins used engines can go to good use.
The SE and Autobahn models come with 8-inch screens, larger brakes, and an electronically-actuated torque-sensing limited-slip differential. The latter also throws in adaptive dampers and a Fender premium audio system. Regardless of your choice of trim, all Golf GTIs come with the same 220-horsepower 2.0L turbo four mill. The only way to beat that is to opt for the Golf R, which yields 292 ponies and starts perilously close to the $40,000 mark.
The 5-door compact luxury plug-in hybrid hatchback from Audi doesn’t come cheap. The A3 e-tron Sportback starts from $39,500, while fully stacked models easily surpass the $50,000 mark. Although that’s a lot of money for a compact hatchback, the plug-in hybrid Audi A3 is one of precious few cars in its segment. With the BMW 3 Series undergoing a full redesign next year, and the Grand Turismo hatchback model likely leaving the game by then, the A3 Sportback will remain one of the only German luxury compact hatches on the market.
The current third-generation BN Mazda 3 is hands-down one of the most handsome hatchbacks on the market. It follows the Japanese automaker’s exterior design philosophy that’s become a hallmark feature of all Mazda vehicles in the last few years. The 5-door hatchback Mazda 3 is $1,300 more expensive than its 4-door sedan counterpart, but it provides almost double the cargo space with the rear seats folded. Other than that, there are no real differences between the two body styles. MY 2019 will, however, bring at least one important update to the powertrain department, and likely an entire body revision.
The Plymouth Road Runner made no pretense about being a family sedan with an upgrade package. It was built for balls out speed and delivered in spectacular fashion with the 426 Hemi engine installed.
The 488 J50 is powered by a 3.9L V8 equipped with two twin-scroll turbochargers. The powerhouse produces 661 hp and 561 lb-ft of torque. The twin-turbos help thrust the 488 J50 from zero to sixty in 2.9 seconds and it can run the quarter mile in just 10.45 seconds. Run it flat out a bit more than a quarter mile and you will hit the top speed of 205 mph before you know it.
We love the irony of taking one the most mass-produced used engines ever and sticking it in Honda’s first mass-marketed car ever. And if you want to undertake something like this yourself, check out this detailed guide which chronicles how that engine got where it is.
The CRX Si received Honda’s D16A6 4-cylinder good for 105-108 hp (depending on the year and perhaps tailwind/grade) and 100 lb-ft of torque. If that doesn’t sound like much power to you, well…it’s not. Keep in mind though, that this is still basically a Civic, and that this car only weighs about 2,000 lbs. What sets this car apart from the Civic is not its power, but rather its style.
The 1962-1967 AC Cobra, known as the Shelby Cobra in the states, is an icon among hot cars. If it is true that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, then the original AC Cobra is a very flattered car. Oft imitated, but never equaled.
Smarts originally used engines under 1 liter in size, and you can pick up a rolling shell for under 3k easy. That means you can have this much fun for under 8k fabrication included. Try doing that with a 5-liter ‘Stang.
Okay, we all know the LS is the king of used engines, but it’s an unspoken rule that if you mention engine swaps you have to mention the LS so let’s get it over with. Now the stuff of internet memery, the LS swap began as the most economical way to get a light and reliable V8 into a small space.
Hot cars are about so much more than transportation. They are rolling pieces of art that encapsulate everything that a gearhead could ever want in a ride. There is no simple way to define hot cars. Some are fast as hell, others are low powered classics, and there are a few that combine artistic nuance and balls out speed. Hot cars shamelessly prove that flamboyance and swagger are much more important than practicality or efficiency.
Sure, it weighs in at nearly 4,000 lbs, but it’s no slouch. Speaking of the SH-AWD (SH stands for Super Handling), that’s the model you’ll want to go for. It features some really intelligent engineering that allows the car to cruise at highway speeds with a 90/10 front/back power split, but can allocate up to 70% of power to the rear wheels for acceleration. On top of that, it can send 100% of that 70% to either of the back wheels independently, making this car one hell of a cornering machine.
Built between 2004 and 2006, then resurrected for the 2016 model year, the Ford GT is sleek, sexy, and determined to outrun its own shadow. The post-resurrection cars are powered by a 3.5L EcoBoost V6. But this isn’t the same V6 found in a Ford Fusion. It is twin-turbocharged and capable of 647 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque. With a curb weight just barely north of 3,000lbs, the GT is able to blast from 0 to 60 mph in a breathtaking 2.3 seconds, hits 100 mph in just 6 seconds, and has a top speed of 216 mph.