Creating and developing a new engine calls for real world testing. The Radial Motion Fleet is eclectic and eccentric, with each machine providing us with different challenges and different insights.
The ZOMBUG started life as a battered and bruised 1972 Super Beetle. We set about fitting a first generation Radial Motion three-cylinder engine to the car. This was an air cooled version with exposed pushrod tubes and our first generation head design. Dyno tuned in-house, the engine produced 120hp from its 1.6 litre capacity, some 80hp more than it left the VW factory with nearly 50 years ago. We entered the ZOMBUG in the 2019 Adelaide Rally with this engine, which made the high-riding car a handful on tight tarmac.
Zombug then received a pre-production liquid-cooled Radial Motion engine, which has passed the strict emissions test, making it legal to fit to late-model vehicles in Australia. It has now been lowered, with sticky tyres and a revised roll cage design a better match for the 150hp 2.0-litre engine.
In this guise it was entered in the 2020 Adelaide Rally. That event has been postponed until March 2021 and we're looking forward to hitting the tarmac in earnest.
The Bon-Trike HS3 is the ideal test mule for the Radial Motion engine, with its ease of access for installation.
These popular trikes are essentially a VW beetle rear end, connected to a long set of girder forks by a strong and light steel tube chassis. They were originally sold with 1200-1600cc VW engines, which were enough to make the 450-odd kilogram trike fun to ride.
We fitted a triple-carburettor version of our Radial Motion engine, tuned to a conservative 120hp, turning the once-tame trike into a wheelie monster until it fried the clutch.
We then took the most obvious next step – drag raced an aeroplane.
KOMBI POSTAL VAN
This 1976 VW Type 2 was originally owned by Australia Post. It came to us in a well-used state, complete with hippie mural and plenty of rust.
We've had it tidied up and freshly painted, and it's next on the list of Radial Motion test mules.
We'll be tuning the engine for low-down torque and driveability, with the aim of towing a loaded car trailer on long hauls – not a use the original 70hp engine was well suited for...
We've got some more interesting vehicles lining up to receive Radial transplants.
There's a Formula Vee open-wheeler, an ultralight aircraft, an outlaw Porsche and more.
If you would like to add your vehicle to the list, give us a shout!