Enormous Engine

This car's got only two speeds. 'Fast' and 'Whoo! What was that?'

One way to show off a vehicle, such as muscle cars, is by having some really big engines on it. May be used for Compensating for Something. It usually won't work for other things than showing off: even 3000+ hp World War II aircraft engines are not that big, and they still need an transmission strong enough to cope with their torque. Heavy truck and tracked vehicle gearboxes are immensely heavy, the same weight as small cars themselves.

See also Unnecessarily Large Vessel. Does not refer to a very large locomotive. Or fire truck.


  • Ed "Big Daddy" Roth was famous for his drawings of cars with engines almost half the size of the car. That is, just about everything in his drawings was out of scale. Big supercharged dragster engines in small carbodies on big axles and wheels, and out of the roof (if there is one) sticks the huge driver with a giant shifter in his hand.

Comic Books
  • S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarriers are usually shown with four enormous propellers or turbine engines.
  • Muscle cars in Sin City pop up sometimes, engines exposed and all. Sometimes, the engine is not shown but described in explicit detail.

Film - Animated
  • Snot Rod (an orange drag racer) from Cars has a large engine sticking out from underneath his hood.

Film - Live Action


Tabletop Games
  • The only way Orks know how to build anything in Warhammer 40,000. Their space transports are nothing but hollowed-out asteroids with a minimum amount of life support and a maximum amount of engine so it can can be rammed into the enemy planet to unleash troops or explode trying (both results equally acceptable).

  • Jetrax T6 from BIONICLE has two huge engines.
  • Hot Wheels loved and still love to shoehorn ridiculously over-sized, usually chrome-plated engines into some of their cars. Sometimes not even only one (Twin Mill was Hot Wheels' first original design in 1968 and had two supercharged V8s sitting side-by-side). Tuning beyond street legality is a standard, too, such as blowers higher than the car's roof. Matchbox didn't stand back and did the same with certain models of the Superfast line.

Video Games
  • The engine powering Figaro Castle in Final Fantasy VI is small compared to the castle, but the characters dwarf in comparison (and they even have a boss battle on top of it).
  • Eddie's car, the Deuce, in Brütal Legend is upgraded with progressively larger engines as the game goes on (because "more powerful" equals "bigger" in this setting), to the point where you start to wonder how Eddie manages to see the road behind the hulking motor.
  • The Gullwing's Airship in Final Fantasy X-2 has an engine big enough that you can walk inside.
  • The Schpeltiger, Travis Touchdown's badass scooter from No More Heroes, is painted to look like an X-Wing from Star Wars. Definitely compensating for something. This is Travis, after all.
  • Pokémon Colosseum: Wes probably stole the engine for his hovering motor-unicycle thingy from a Greyhound bus...or a Top Fuel dragster...or a diesel locomotive. It's mounted at the very front of his vehicle, and the single solitary wheel is mounted at the very back; only the Rule of Cool keeps the machine from nose-diving forward and catapulting Wes and Rui face-first into the sand.
    • Rule of Cool and possibly technology, considering the Cool Sidecar clearly has some sort of propulsion system pointed downward to keep it up.
  • The Fast and the Furious arcade game allows you to upgrade your car with improved engine power which has the side effect of installing a larger engine (even on tuner cars). The Drift update takes this even further.
  • Both versions of the Normandy contain engines that are stupid big for the size of the ship. Called the "Tantalus Drive Core" it not only allows the Normandy to be very fast for its class, but also acts as a Reactionless Drive and lets the ship fly without visible emissions for a short time, making it the stealthiest ship in the known galaxy.

Real Life
  • As a publicity stunt, diesel engine manufacturer Cummins put a 3,500hp engine into, well more accurately onto an original Mini.
  • Oftentimes, Cobra replicas are considered lame in comparison to the real deal. Granted, many in Europe are with their Rover V8s, Ford V6s, or even Volkswagen four-bangers (American ones most commonly use the Ford 5.0 engine from the 1987-94 Mustang that's a more modern, EFI version of the original Cobra's 289). But the German-made Weineck Cobra 780 makes a genuine Shelby Cobra 427 S/C pale. The V8 engine is custom-made for Weineck as opposed to a rebored stock big block. The displacement is 780 cubic inches, enough for way more than 1,000bhp (1,500+ with nitrous). Don't ask for performance data, for this thing is undriveable.
  • Schubeck 904 DOHC. Yes, a V8 engine with more than 100cui per cylinder. This beast delivers 1,200hp out of the box on regular pump fuel, naturally aspirated. Both NHRA and NASCAR outlawed this engine already. In fact, it wouldn't fit under the hoods of most cars anyway because it's simply too big.
  • Paul Jameson and John Dodd's The Beast is a street-legal car with a Rolls-Royce Merlin V12 engine.
  • And then there's Quad Al, the probably most overpowered hot rod ever made. It used to be powered by four Allison V12 warbird engines and required eight slicks to get the sheer power of 12,000hp onto the blacktop.
  • There is a video of a big-block 454 powered Acura Integra... with a blower on top of it that's about as tall as the engine itself, making it nearly as tall as the car.
  • Jay Leno has a few of these, including the Blastolene Special, a hot rod containing the engine from a Patton tank, and a Rolls Royce Phantom fitted with a Merlin engine, which powered most of the notable allied planes from WWII.
  • The Thrust SSC has not one, but two Jet engines, each roughly as large as the rest of the car. Of course, when one intends to break the sound barrier in a car, one has to go to really ridiculous lengths.
    • The Engine in question is the Rolls Royce Spey, used in the British variation of the F-4 Phantom. Note that the Phantom's nickname is "The triumph of thrust over aerodynamics." Yeah, they took the engines from a Jet Fighter that's already known for solving it's Aerodynamic problems with brute engine power and attached them to a car. While yes, the Spey is an inferior engine to the original Phantom's General Electric J79, it's still incredibly overkill for a car.
  • Trains actually do have giant engines. That engine they stuck on a Mini above? Modern mainline trains make around 4400 horsepower at the crank with less cylinders (12 vs 18). Some older engines make 6000 hp with a single engine. And then there's the GE Gas-Electric Turbines, which made over 8000 hp. It was so much power that they had to spread it over two semi-permanently coupled units.
    • The Big Boy gets a special mention: it makes over 6000 horsepower and is essentially one giant external combustion engine.
  • Compared to the payload that actually makes it into orbit, the engines and fuel tanks that make up the launch vehicle of a satellite or manned spacecraft and do most of the heavy lifting are enormous. Compare, for instance, the massive Saturn V rocket to the relatively tiny Apollo orbiter and lander — the vast majority of the former's mass didn't even make it into Earth orbit.