Small Car, Big Explosion: V8-Powered Fiat 126 Grenades Its Rearend

Stuffing a small-block Chevy into a vehicle that’s the size of a golf cart takes some creative engineering, and that’s exactly what Chris Skinner did with his Fiat 126. Skinner’s real-life Micro Machine lays down 10-second passes when everything goes right, but this time things went wrong in a violent way.

Skinner’s Fiat has a 72-inch wheelbase, and that’s not a lot of room for activities in stock form, let alone when you’re adding a V8 into the mix. The V8 swap is so well done that the average person wouldn’t suspect such a powerplant is under the hood. Now, the wheelie bars and larger rear tires do give the car’s intentions away, but not enough to reveal it has run a 10.24 at over 130 mph. It’s a true sleeper.

The problem with finishing a swap like this is there are always going to be unforeseen issues that arise. Skinner has successfully run his Fiat 126 for many years, but during this pass at Santa Pod Raceway, things went south big-time. The mighty Fiat rises up like it’s going to lay down a stout lap, then the car promptly lays over and a shower of parts are seen flying everywhere. It turns out the driveshaft, transmission, plus the rearend had a disagreement and decided to violently part ways. The result is not pretty and probably startled Skinner.

Check out this video from Mk1Kieran that documents this driveline catastrophe.

About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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