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This Crazy Kei Truck Is Getting a Mid-Mounted Chevy V8

Kei trucks are something most people aren't too familiar with. Basically only sold in Japan, these things are as small as some people's Harley bikes, but somehow, they're used on construction sights and to make deliveries.
This Daihatsu Kei Truck Is Getting a Mid-Mounted Chevy V8 - Video 7 photos
Photo: grassrootsmotorsports.com
This Daihatsu Kei Truck Is Getting a Mid-Mounted Chevy V8 - VideoThis Daihatsu Kei Truck Is Getting a Mid-Mounted Chevy V8 - VideoThis Daihatsu Kei Truck Is Getting a Mid-Mounted Chevy V8 - VideoThis Daihatsu Kei Truck Is Getting a Mid-Mounted Chevy V8 - VideoThis Daihatsu Kei Truck Is Getting a Mid-Mounted Chevy V8 - VideoThis Daihatsu Kei Truck Is Getting a Mid-Mounted Chevy V8 - Video
The last time I can remember talking about one of these things, a professional Japanese drifter was putting it to the test, which was quite crazy. But so is the next project, which takes a stock kei truck from 45 years ago and gives it 20 times the power.

In 1970, the Daihatsu Hijet came with a two-stroke two-cylinder 360cc engine that made 22 horsepower and about as much torque. However, a mad man decided to switch things up and replace that with a mid-mounted Chevy V8 engine making about 400 horsepower.

After watching a couple of Youtube videos and reading a whole forum thread about the build, we decided it's just too crazy of an engine swap to keep to ourselves. And even though it's not quite ready to go out in public, this V8 Daihatsu Hijet is the stuff we like to share with out friends and readers.

Of course, you can't just drop a V8 into anything you want, so the guy making this project had to source a Jeep DJ5 chassis, which he had to narrow down in order to fit the little Japanese truck. The upside is that Jeep parts are more common than Daihatsu ones in the US.

Things get even weirder from that point on, as the old V8 is connected to a Saginaw 3-speed bell housing modified to fit like a direct drive. There's no reverse gear, so to back the truck up, he added a cart starter and a pulley to work the wheels backwards.

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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