13 Awesome Cars That Borrowed Their Engines From Boring Ones

Amazing cars don't always need bespoke, exotic powerplants.

Lotus

We asked you yesterday to tell us your favorite awesome cars that borrowed their powerplants from boring ones. As always, we got a ton of responses, but here were your favorites.

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Peter Harholdt
DeTomaso Pantera

The '70s mid-engine Pantera supercar has some fairly exotic styling cues, which distracted from the common, mass-produced 351 Cleveland V8 engine produced by Ford sitting behind the driver. But despite the seemingly unexciting motor, the Pantera is still a fantastic driver's car.

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Kevin McCauley
Ford GT

The new GT looks like a fighter plane from the outside, but underneath, uses a 3.5-liter twin-turbo Ecoboost V6—a heavily reworked version of the motor found in the Taurus, Flex, and F-150. That doesn't make it any less special, though.

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Lotus
Lotus Elise

It's amazing what Lotus has done with its Toyota-sourced powerplants. The company has taken engines from mundane economy cars and turned them into high-strung, racy motors perfectly suited to match the Elise's extreme handling.

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RegularCars via YouTube
Ariel Atom

The Ariel Atom is fast. Like really fast. Fast like when we drove it, we called it "more rocket ship than car." Being light goes a long way towards making it fast, as does the turbo that Ariel slapped on the Honda Civic Si-derived engine.

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Caterham
Caterham Seven

The Caterham Seven is the continuation of the Lotus car by the same name, and its design is legendary for being small, light, simple, and fast. You'd think that a car that can hit 60 mph in less than three seconds would have some special engine, but nope, not in this case. There's a Ford Duratec under the hood, the same one that powered a generation of economy cars.

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KTM
KTM X-Bow

European motorcycle manufacturer KTM is mostly known for building two-wheeled off-roaders, but in 2008 it decided to get into the business of building sports cars. Thus the X-Bow was born. It's not nearly as fast or powerful as some of the offerings from Ariel or Caterham, but it can still hit 60 mph in less than four seconds. The engine? A 2.0-liter four-cylinder from Audi.

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Lotus
Lotus Evora 400

The Lotus Evora was built to be a more refined and civilized sports car than the Elise and Exige in order to appeal to more buyers. In its current form as the Evora 400, it's one of the best-performing Lotuses ever made. That's kind of funny when you consider its supercharged V6 is sourced from the Toyota Camry.

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Morgan
Morgan Aero 8

Morgans are peculiar little cars, designed to evoke the style of simpler times. They're not exactly kit cars, but they do offer that classic car look and feel with mostly-modern mechanicals under the skin. The look of the Aero 8 may be classic, but the engine is a V8 sourced from BMW.

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Noble
Noble M600

Nobles are technically considered kit cars, a term that has a negative connotation attached. When you add in the fact that they're built by a small company in the U.K., it makes it even harder to believe they're the real deal. But when we drove the Noble M400, we were seriously impressed. The followup improves on the M400's already solid base and makes it even better. In fact, you'd probably never know it's powered by the Yamaha V8 that Volvo used in the S90 and XC90 unless someone told you.

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Pagani
Pagani Zonda

If you want to understand how a car can be art, look no further than the Pagani Zonda. It's designed to be fast, sure, but every little detail is designed to look beautiful for no reason other than to be beautiful. Instead of building its own engine, Pagani used a number of AMG-modified versions of the M120 V12 that made its home under the hood of a number of Mercedes models.

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Panoz
Panoz Esperante

If you've never heard of Braselton, Georgia, we can't blame you. It's a tiny town north of Atlanta that hardly anyone lives in. It does, however, have two things going for it. It's the home of Road Atlanta, and it's also where the Panoz Esperante was built. It should come as no surprise that the Esperante is powered by a V8 from the Ford Mustang.

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Spyker
Spyker C8

If you're looking for cars that are pure art, the Spyker C8 will give the Pagani Zonda a serious run for its money. All it takes is one look at the shifter to see that the C8 was designed with style in mind. Under the hood, though, it's a little more pedestrian. While you might expect a hand-built V12, there's actually just an Audi V8.

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Wiesmann
Wiesmann MF 3

The idea of a powerful German sports car with the look of an old school British roadster sounds pretty good, and Wiesmann thought it sounded good enough to build a business out of. At first glance, you might think the MF and the later GT versions were straight out of the 1960s, but under the hood, Wiesmann packed a BMW inline six and later a V8.

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