Van-a-gone: 160 MPH V-10 Dodge Viper Powered VW Type 2 Truck
Published May 5, 2015
There are cars you immediately understand why they’ve been built. Then you see Simon Bull’s Viper-powered VW truck and it’s “what the heck was he thinking?”
The path to building this monster, which has already run 145 MPH in the quarter, began with young Simon in Northamptonshire, England modifying motorcycles, “because they’re fast and cheap,” he said. Simon became fascinated with Volkswagens after attending a Bug Jam event at Santa Pod Raceway (Europe’s largest drag strip facility).
His first project was a satin black, bay window-type VW Bus with all the running gear lifted from a late ’80s BMW 528. Not the usual VW engine swap, but then Simon doesn’t do things in the usual way.
Working as an engine test engineer Simon always kept an eye open for options for his next project. One day a Dodge Viper V-10 was in the facility and he fell in love. “I saw the engine and thought it would look awesome in a bus,” he said. “I knew it would look good when you slid the door back,”
While Simon’s dream was to hide the Viper motor inside the back of a VW Van, the realities were that it wasn’t feasible. No, not that the Viper motor wouldn’t fit, it’s that the van wouldn’t fit in the carport next to his house, where he worked wind, rain, and shine on the truck for 3500 hours (that’s equal to 21 months of M-F, 9-5).
So how did Simon go about converting a split screen VW single cab pick-up into a road-going menace to society? First, he threw the original VW floor pan away. Then he purchased an entire wrecked Viper (less body panels) from the US and had it shipped to his house. All the running gear, suspension, and steering for the van are all off the Viper. Even the switches, wiring, wheels and tires, seats, radiators and even the ignition key are all Viper. Simon didn’t even bother with a trick mid-engine transaxle, just the Viper gearbox connected to the diff via the shortest driveshaft in human history.
In regards to its on-road performance, Simon reports that “at best, I get about 19 MPG, but at 70 MPH it’s running at 1500 RPM, so I would say a realistic top speed is about 160 MPH. I’ve been to 145MPH and it did that easily. Even so, at 140 MPH in sixth it’s still running only 3000 RPM; sixth is horrendously over-geared.”
Simon, thrilled with his creation, says that he now has his “flower power van that looks like it’ll rip your head off”.
Categories: Gear Grinding