Why spend money on a massive V8-powered pickup when this 650 hp Nissan Micra is more car than you’ll ever need?
When the Nissan Micra (known as the Nissan March elsewhere in the world) began life, it came with a 1.6-L inline 4-cylinder engine with 109 hp and 107 lb-ft of torque. Europe and Asia got a 1.2-L inline 3 cylinder with 79 hp, and America got precisely nothing because Americans don’t buy subcompact cars, so they’re only sold in Canada and Mexico.
Which is a shame, because it turns out the Nissan Micra is precisely enough car to satisfy even the most power-crazed American’s taste. Just as soon as you swap out the engine for one from a Nissan 350Z and give it a pair of turbochargers.
We have Glenn Hodges of The Lab Limited in New Zealand to thank for this insane build. A former aircraft technician, Hodges now spends his time creating bespoke race vehicles to take part in the Leadfoot Festival, New Zealand’s premiere hillclimb and specialty car show.
The idea here was to keep things as Nissan as possible. After tossing the old 1.6-L, Hodges replaced it with the 3.5-L V6 from a Nissan 350Z. He then gave it a pair of Garrett GT2860RS turbochargers and the 5-speed manual transmission from a Nissan Frontier pickup to give it 4-wheel-drive.
Power jumps from 109 hp to 650 hp and 700 lb-ft of torque. Which is a lot for a car that probably weighs as much as a go-kart.
From the video description, we know the brakes are from a 370Z, and the engine is mounted in the rear-middle where there used to be a trunk and a back seat. A good scoop feeds air to the thirsty twin-turbos, which you can really hear as touring car driver Paul Radisich speeds up Leadfoot’s hillclimb.
We’re not sure if that rear wing is for show or if the Micra truly needs it. Either way, this is a spectacular car that can run rings around all but the most extreme of supercars.