Cars

Formula 1-Style Hot Rod Is the Right Amount of Insane

In the automotive world, a spark of insanity can sometimes be a good thing. It’s what brought about six-wheeled Mercedes G-Wagons and Jeep Wranglers. It’s what inspired one man to take a Mini Cooper pickup truck and put a twin-turbo V8 in the bed. And it’s why some people off-road tiny Japanese pickups. Now, that same spark helped create a vehicle that wouldn’t look out of place in the Batcave: a hot rod that wants to compete in Formula 1.

What exactly makes this hot rod special?

The most obvious are the aerodynamic elements. The side ducts, the air intake on the roof, and that enormous rear wing. Sadly, the ducts and intake aren’t technically functional, because the engine is at the front. But the owner, Ricky Boada, may make them functional with some future mods.

And speaking of the engine, you might expect, given the 1930s Deuce Coupe look, that there’d be a V8 under the hood. That’s normally what powers these types of hot rods. But you’d be mistaken. Under the hood, Hoonigan reports is the high-revving four-cylinder from a first-gen Honda S2000. With AP1 S2000s making 240 hp and 153 lb-ft, the engine may not sound amazing—at least not on paper.

Honda S2000 CR
Honda S2000 CR | Honda

But the AP1 S2000 could rev to 9000 rpm, according to Hagerty. Which means this F1 rat rod doesn’t ‘sound’ amazing: it shrieks incredibly.

 Boada is still fine-tuning the car. Underneath, the hot rod is a 1930 Ford Model A chassis, with rear sub-frame and differential from the S2000. The transmission is also from an S2000. However, the front suspension, while functional, isn’t really suited for high-speed performance. There’s also no radiator fan: there just isn’t room. Hence, why Boada is thinking about boosting the radiator by making the rear ducts functional.

But this is a real car, that really runs and drives. Which, considering its origins, is frankly incredible.

The art behind the rat rod

Artists make renderings of cars all the time. We’ve featured a few on MotorBiscuit, on an imagined Ford Bronco design as well as a potential Rivian rally EV. But rarely are these artistic visions translated so directly to the real world.

That’s what this hot rod is. Originally, it was a rendering made by Aaron Beck, a prominent artist, and car enthusiast. In the beginning, as he described to Speedhunters, his Beck Kustoms F132 was a composite of a 1932 Ford Deuce Coupe hot rod and a 90s-style Formula 1 racer. In his original vision, the engine would be a mid-mounted twin-turbo V8.

The original builder of the hot rod, James Schwartz, couldn’t give it that engine. But consider again how this car came about. “The Great Depression”, as he originally called it, started life as a rusted-out 1930 Model A, then was built into an IRL version of a digital artwork. That takes some crazy dedication.

Could there be more of Aaron Beck’s Beck Kustoms coming to life?

Aaron Beck has created other renderings under his Beck Kustoms line. In addition to the F132, there’s the Hakotora, a Datsun pickup truck powered by a souped-up rotary engine. Beck has also created renderings of custom Dodge muscle cars. But not all of his works are digital.

He’s actually tuned and modified several physical cars. One of them is Kuda, a 1972 Plymouth Barracuda with a 7.2-liter Chrysler V8, Fox shocks, and an acid-dipped, stripped-down body. He also drives a Ford Raptor with a bed camper and track-races a modified BMW M3.

Here’s hoping more of Beck’s designs are brought to life. Forget virtual reality—bring on the real steel.

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