Recently, The Smoking Tire had a trip quite far south to New Zealand to take in the country’s incredible car culture. Oddball JDM vehicles and engine-swapped machines roam the island nation on roads and scenery those of us residing Stateside could only dream about.
What TST stumbled upon during their visit is quite incredible. During the trip, they ran into Alex and Hannah, a New Zealand couple who has a thing for building projects by hand. Their workshop, their home and their car are all labors of love.
But we’re here to focus on the car, right? Right.
The car is a Vauxhall Viva, normally not anything too noteworthy. Except, like we said, these two New Zealanders are DIYers, and they’ve swapped a Mazda 2.5-liter V6 under the hood. Originally, the plan was to employ a rotary engine from an RX-7, but the reliability of the V6 made for a better option, says Alex.
TST climbs behind the wheel of the build, and to much surprise, it’s impressive. Matt Farah seems surprised at the linear power from the engine, which he describes as smooth, and not to mention, the car screams towards its 8,000 RPM redline with ease. This little Viva is what comes up when looking up the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover.”
Not only is the engine swapped, but many little touches on the car are also handmade, notably the gauges. Farah states a lot of cars can be ruined by ugly gauges, and we’d have to agree. For something we have to stare at often, some manufacturers could really benefit from a redesign in this department. We won’t name any names though. *cough* Cadillac. Whoops.
The car is an incredible testimony to project builds, and a full-on salute to DIY grease monkeys across the globe. The video is a must see, and we’ve provided it right down below.