A South African man has fitted his minibus taxi with a twin-turbocharged V12.
If you've ever spent any time in South Africa, you're undoubtedly familiar with the love/hate relationship citizens have with minibus taxis. Unlike other countries where a taxi is a traditional sedan or crossover, the moniker is used to describe a public transportation system that is rather unique to the African nation.
Jokingly referred to as South Africa's fastest car, the previous-gen Toyota Quantum (now known as the Hi-Ace Ses'fikile) is available with either a 2.7-liter gas- or 2.5-liter diesel engine. Both are reliable, but neither is what you'd call sprightly. Certainly, it wasn't enough for one local, who decided to fit a far more powerful engine in his Quantum.
Normally the reserve of supercars, this aggressively styled, Lamborghini-inspired minibus boasts a V12 engine and is the result of hard work, many months of labor, and tens of thousands of dollars, as owner James Redelinghuis told Cars.co.za.
"Five years ago, we were buying Toyota Quantum panel vans which we converted and [sold] as taxis. At that point, we decided [to] do something for marketing purposes [that was] also creative. Redelinghuis says he came across a Japanese company that created a Lamborghini Aventador-inspired body kit. "This, for me, is one of the coolest cars I've ever seen." The kit was purchased for 96,000 Rand (approx $6,200) and fitted to a 2012 Quantum.
The standard 2.5-liter wasn't going to cut it. The owner sourced a Toyota V12, the engine famously fitted to older Toyota Century luxury sedans. It's a glorious motor, with one gearhead even putting the 5.0-liter 12-pot in his Impreza STI. Two turbochargers were fitted to the engine and the original injectors were replaced by items from a Porsche 911 (997) 3.8 Carrera, among other modifications. The end result? 750 horsepower. Interestingly, because the Quantum was designed to carry heavy loads, the front brakes are potent enough to slow this powerful minibus down.
A three-speed TCI StreetFighter gearbox was fitted to handle all the power, with Redelinghuis noting the transmission is normally used in American drag racing. "It's interesting when the power comes in. Because the torque curve is so linear, there is no drama. You hit 3000 rpm [and] you can hear the turbos boost. It almost feels like the Quantum is lifting up a little bit, which is a great feeling."
Despite the almighty power, he remarks he won't race a Golf GTI. "It's a brick, it doesn't have good aerodynamics. But once I'm going, in second gear at [50 mph], a fast car may beat you but they [will be shocked] that a Quantum is keeping up."
It wasn't an easy project, though. The owner notes the build went through extensive research and development trials. Now on its second turbo setup and third engine and suspension setup, the Quantum was the cause of several nightmares.
"It just dragged on," says Redelinghuis. "Every time something broke or we had to make a change, that was a month or two that went by. I wanted to turn around and walk away." Seeing the Quantum wearing its resplendent red paintwork and gold alloy wheels was the turning point, giving the owner strength to finish the build. "For me, it's a unique vehicle."
If you're looking to own the world's craziest taxi, you'll be happy to know it's for sale, at 1,295,000 Rand (approx $85,000).