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This Prius packs a rear-wheel drive and heavily turbocharged surprise

By Trent Giunco, 02 Mar 2020 History of Turbo

This Prius packs a rear-wheel drive and heavily turbocharged surprise

Heavily modified Cummins turbo-diesel engine takes Toyota Prius to the dark side

Nope, your eyes don’t deceive you. This is a rear-wheel-drive diesel Toyota Prius.

It’s pretty much the antithesis of what the tree-hugging eco-warrior original stands for – especially when the Frankenstein Prius is belching soot out the back of an oversize turbocharger and producing smoke from its rear tyres.

As you can see by the videos posted to Facebook, it’s the Australian Greens worst nightmare. Lucky this out-there creation resides in Wisconsin in the good ol’ United States of America, and not down under.

In a classic case of “why not?” Ben Schulz decided his silver Prius needed a new heart. So it was out with the petrol-electric hybrid powertrain and in with the 4BT Cummins engine.


Now, in its original state, the 3.9-litre unit generates, ahem, 40kW (2300rpm) – not exactly earth shattering stuff. The OHV, two valves per cylinder cast-iron unit also weighs between 338 and 355kg when full of oil.

Read next: Porsche once shoehorned one of its engines into a Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen

However, given it’s primarily used in commercial and van applications, the 359Nm (from just 1600rpm) of torque makes a lot more sense.

Although, Schulz clearly hasn’t left the unique conversion standard, adding an intercooler (the 4BT Cummins doesn’t run one from factory) and a behemoth of an aftermarket turbo from Schwitzer for the extra boost.

Read next: Hellcat-powered sleeper Prius in the build

Oh, and don’t forget this unlikely Prius has also been converted to rear-wheel drive. As the clips show, it doesn’t hesitate to spin its back treads either, despite copious amounts of black soot escaping straight out the back of the turbo via a ported vent ahead of the windscreen.

For a four-cylinder diesel, it makes some pretty serious sounds, too, with myriad whoosh, hisses and blow-off-valve theatrics. Schulz has even plonked it on a dyno.

While the videos were captured last year, a recent update on Schulz’s Facebook page suggests that there’s more to come in the near future from the one-of-a-kind Prius.

Read next: Toyota Prius racer gets V8 power

Schulz clearly acknowledges the car’s satirical nature, with number plates reading ‘HUG THIS’ and a sticker on the rear hatch stating ‘Green Power’.

What crazy engine swaps do you know about?

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