From the creators of the V8 Model S comes a project just as insane.
The aftermarket scene is no stranger to engine swaps. We've seen a V8-powered Toyota MR2 and even a 2JZ in a Corvette Z06. But the most bizarre swap of them all has to be the world's first V8 Tesla. Rich Benoit (Rich Rebuilds on YouTube) gained notoriety after removing its electric drivetrain in favor of a 426-horsepower 6.2-liter engine sourced from a Chevrolet Camaro.
Now, the man has his hands on a wrecked Model 3, and plans for this EV are just as outlandish. No longer will the silent sedan gain motivation from a powerful electric motor; a Cummins 4BT diesel engine will replace it as the YouTuber aims to create the world's first diesel-powered Tesla dually, known as the "Model D."
The project will be underpinned by a truck frame, courtesy of a Chevrolet Square-body pickup truck. Why, you ask? "Well, if it's a diesel it has to be able to tow, right? Model D is going to be a literal truck," says the presenter.
Despite the arduous task ahead of them, the team manages to place the truck frame underneath the Tesla with ease. However, this unearths what is, so far, the biggest challenge of the project. Unsurprisingly, the sleek Model 3 doesn't join up with the truck's frame.
"We're running into a little issue... trying to determine just how much we have to cut into the body. If [it] stays the way it is, there's going to be a gap underneath the car."
The Model 3's oddly-shaped firewall will be reconfigured to accommodate a transmission tunnel and, of course, the diesel engine. The end goal is to try to retain most of the Tesla's relatively plush innards, to give this truck a more premium feel.
The ambitious build is far from finished. The V8-swapped Tesla was a year-long project and, based on the amount of work that's going into the Model D, we're guessing this dually will be a work in progress for some time, especially considering the challenges facing the team. It should be worth the wait, though, as this will be the world's first Tesla six-wheeler.
Based on the high level of quality seen on the Tesla Model S V8, we can assume the final result will be superb. We're looking forward to seeing what the final result is, but we can't imagine Tesla aficionados are particularly pleased about this act of EV heresy.
Then again, there's a school of thought that believes recycling and extending the life of a car is the ultimate expression of eco-friendly motoring. If that's the case, this Model 3 will remain true to its original purpose, albeit in a very different way.