All it would have taken is
Hot rodding is generally considered to be the realm of old cars from the 1930s, with flames shot from exhaust pipes sticking out of the hood. In the purest sense though, hot rodding can be used to describe the practice of making a car faster. In fact dictionary.com defines it as such: “to adapt (a vehicle or its engine) for increased speed.” In this way, hot rodding could be considered far more interesting when implemented in a car that’s not likely to see very much attention in the way of racing. In the spirit of hot rodding, these cars deserved a chance.
People knock the Plymouth Prowler for a few things. First off, the looks take some getting used to. Secondly, it didn’t come with a manual transmission. And third, it did not come with a V8. In fact, at first the car came with a 215-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. Later in 1999 the Prowler was given some extra power, about 250 horses total. The Prowler was no slouch when it came to performance though, even if it wasn’t focused around power. Besides having front pushrod suspension the car’s transmission was mounted in the rear (the engine was up front), much like a Porsche 944 or a C5 Corvette, so as to help achieve a more balanced weight distribution.
Despite this, some people go so far as to call it one of the worst cars of all time. That seems a bit harsh. With just a little more power this 2,800-pound car could have been pretty mean around a track.
It’s just a minivan from the 1990s, right? Well, upon closer inspection it’s been known that what roars beneath this mom-mobile’s hood is none other than Mitsubishi’s G672 3.0-liter V6 engine. It was under there for the better part of 1991-1995 as a single overhead cam version, and beyond that it was also in Mitsubishi’s 3000GT and Dodge’s Stealth. This engine, with DOHC in the latter vehicles, made over 200 horsepower stock, and over 300 with twin turbochargers from the factory. Imagine the Dodge Caravan if only it had the DOHC version. However, with the block staying basically the same between the two versions, a swap wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.
In fact, it would go right in without any fuss. With the twin turbocharger setup, that’s a Caravan with over 300 horsepower courtesy of forced induction.
Next up is the Infiniti J30. It's a sedan with 210 horsepower out of a 3.0-liter V6 engine by Nissan. The VG30DE V6, the same that occupied the engine bay as the second generation 300ZX, not only was underpowered but under-optioned. The second generation 300ZX came with a twin turbocharged option for its engine. Not only that, but the non-turbo version had at least 220 horsepower. The J30 was also RWD. A simple tune, some internals and some turbochargers could give this car the jump it needs. It did only come with an automatic transmission, but if the engine is a direct swap you can bet it would be possible to add the 300ZX manual transmission into the mix.
Clearly from this demonstration the car needs some stiffer suspension and a lowering kit, but beyond that the platform, with a little more power from its VG30DE, could scream on the track.