For many power-obsessed tuners, 1000hp is the ultimate goal. Going from three digits to four is not only impressive, but signifies levels of performance that most sports car owners could only dream of. However, it usually won’t be cheap to get to this point. Yet, it is possible to achieve this magic number while not totally breaking the bank.
The most obvious place to start would be something like an Mk4 Supra or a Skyline, but unabused examples of these cars are skyrocketing. However, not all cars capable of handling 1000bhp have to cost a fortune. Some will cost buyers a surprisingly small amount while getting the job done. Be careful, there are a lot of models that will crumble before they reach anywhere near this amount of power.
Modify easily: Dodge Challenger
The arrival of the Hellcat engine meant that 700hp Dodges were produced in the thousands, so adding an extra 300hp is a pretty achievable task. Of course, the Hellcat Challenger don’t come cheap, but it’s possible to put a Hellcrate engine in a regular used Challenger for a similar effect.
Of course, it won’t look as good or as well run, but when working on a budget, tradeoffs are key. Anyone with a tight budget probably shouldn’t be looking to build a thousand horsepower project car anyway.
Modify easily: Lexus GS300
This rather unassuming looking Lexus sedan actually comes with one of the most bulletproof tuner engines ever made. The 2JZ is one of Toyota’s most legendary products, renowned for its ability to handle tons of extra power with very little need to upgrade.
This is the main reason why so many Supra Mk4s are building insane power figures. However, most buyers don’t have Supra money, so the GS300 is a great, cheaper alternative with that same famous block. In fact, a construction with an almost identical specification already exists in Florida.
Easily modify: Nissan Patrol
A Nissan SUV isn’t the most typical candidate for a 1,000 hp + build, but it has a surprisingly strong track record. They are a favorite in the Middle East, not only for tuned versions, but also for daily drivers.
The patrol pictured is owned by a Qatari businessman who wanted a stealthy yet powerful car. Most passers-by don’t know the car is as powerful as it is, but in fact there are over 1,400 horsepower tucked away under the hood.
Easily modify: Ford Mustang
The quintessential American muscle car, there is a huge amount of kits and parts available for the Mustang. This is perfect for tuners looking for high horsepower as it means this is one of the easiest cars to boost.
Being one of America’s favorite cars, there’s no shortage of cheap used ‘Stangs. This is great for two reasons: first, buying a car is easy, and second, if something explodes during build testing, owners can just go to a junkyard and replace the parts cheaply.
Modify easily: Mazda Miata
Okay, so a stock-powered Miata probably won’t hit 1000hp. But, it’s pretty easy to find a bigger engine for sale and drop it in the engine bay. The rest of the car is surprisingly sturdy, so owners can still stay on budget and not have to replace too many internal components.
This is a recipe that has been made several times before, with crazy and hilarious consequences. A Hellcat-powered Miata recently destroyed the Hoonigan yard and held only 717 horsepower. 1000 hp will mean even more tire shredding madness.
Explosion: Nissan 350Z
This is a slightly controversial entry, as there are already several versions of the 1000 hp 350z. The problem is, their engines are nowhere near capable of handling as much of the plant’s power.
A major aftermarket supplier has posted a guide on their website that a 350Z engine can reasonably develop around 400bhp without compromising durability. Anything well above that will require massive amounts of money for upgrades, so it would be best to just buy a more expensive, more powerful car to start with.
Explosion: Land Rover Range Rover
With Nissan Patrols being good candidates and even a 2,000 horsepower Toyota Land Cruiser roaming the streets, it may seem like a Range Rover could be another weird but fun option. Well the answer is no. Simply put, the car is not built well enough to be able to handle more horsepower.
In fact, several major car surveys have named the Range Rover the least reliable car on the road right now. They can be tempting cheaply thanks to their insane depreciation levels, but it’s not even worth thinking about.
Explosion: Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG
Of all the AMG models, the E55 is considered one of the most reliable. In fact, in stock form, they can go close to 200,000 miles in some cases and still drive well. But if owners start adding performance parts, things will quickly go downhill.
AMG engines are finely tuned with minimum tolerances, which means any extra stress caused by non-original parts will wear things out quickly. Once an AMG engine starts to get finicky, it’s probably a death sentence for the car. It is therefore better to avoid adding extras, certainly not up to 1000 horsepower.
Explosion: Subaru BRZ
The Toyobaru BRZ is a fun and affordable little sports car, but it’s underpowered right from the factory. Many owners have tried to solve this problem by dramatically increasing horsepower, and Subaru’s Boxer engine can handle it well.
However, this only works up to a point. Much like the 350Z, when the power starts to exceed 400hp, the durability of the engine is seriously compromised. A target of 1,000 hp would be about five times the car’s original horsepower, so the engine just wouldn’t last.
Explosion: Jeep Wrangler
There is a 1,000 horsepower Cherokee Trackhawk on the market, as well as a 1,000 horsepower Gladiator. Both are very expensive, so budget buyers might consider a Wrangler as a cheaper alternative.
The problem is, making a Wrangler with that much horsepower that won’t crumble is likely to cost as much as buying a modified Trackhawk. It will also look quite odd, so it’s just not a good idea.
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