For every atom in our universe, two half-baked car builds seem to pop up on YouTube. Feeds are clogged by these endless throwaways, hours-long video sagas fueled by clickbait titles; Twin-turbo ‘Vette RUNS ON NARHWALS!!!; Our LS-swapped blender CURB STOMPS the Grand Canyon; LOW-ALTITUDE WORLD RECORD in a supercharged CLARINET!
And, on the face of it, a Honda-powered, 1000-horse, fender-flared Ferrari seems like more of the same – a raft of intrigue in an ocean of hyperbole. This one’s wild, for sure. But it’s also deeply considered, designed for racetrack glory, and interesting as hell.
The canary-yellow 308 is being screwed together by Mike Burroughs. BMW nerds will likely recognize the name. Burroughs was a lightning rod within the bimmer forums online community in the mid-2000s, slamming one vintage BMW or another on airbags and a set of gleaming deep-dish wheels. His builds garnered venom or praise, depending on who weighed in, but his efforts spring boarded the term “stance” into our lexicon while reviving lowriding culture for a new generation of enthusiasts (check his site, stanceworks.com, for more).
So when this dayglow yellow wedge popped up on the Stanceworks YouTube page, we gave Burroughs a call. Turns out, this project has been a long time coming.
“Having a 308 for me goes all the way back to when I was in college, back when these cars were $20,000 to $25,000. My stepdad, who was the host for Motor Trend and Car and Driver television back in the day, was all about them,” Burroughs said. “Ever since then, I wanted one. That seed got placed ten years ago and it’s been impossible to shake.”
Recently, Burroughs got a bee in his bonnet about the idea. Market forces were turning these mid-engined gems from accessible exotics into museum pieces, lowering the supply of well-used examples while inflating prices across the board.
“So I had a plan in my head – I knew I wanted to buy one to do a Honda K-series engine swap, to build a race car out of it. So what I wanted was a 308 that needed a ton of work,” Burroughs said. “But finding examples like that is really difficult. People ask me, ‘why didn’t you buy a worse-off car?’ Because I admittedly bought a really nice example. My reply is, ‘Be my guest. Find one. Good luck!’”
So Burroughs pressed on with a clean yellow 308 and started dismantling. Early videos in the series detail the teardown. One of the first things to go? The engine. The Ferrari’s naturally aspirated, 2.9-liter F106 V-8 was kicked to the curb, sold off in a Bring a Trailer auction. The Ferrari’s empty engine bay made room for 1000 different possibilities, but Burroughs fixated on just one: Honda’s K-Series.
“Everybody asks ‘why a Honda engine? Why not X, Y, or Z?’ Why not an LS3 or something? Aside from the obvious packaging constraints of a longitudinal engine in a transverse car, I genuinely believe there’s not a better platform that you could arrive at on logic and logic alone,” Burroughs said. “Rewinding slightly, if we look at what a 308 is, it’s an awesome looking Italian sports car, but if you look past its skin, you’re left with a 3200 lb. car and a V-8 that had 163 who; I dynoed the engine and that’s what it made. It’s not a fast car. It is relatively heavy. It leaves a lot to be desired. That’s the foundation for wanting to swap it.”
Burroughs explained how the K-series swap currently sits at a perfect moment in hot rodding history. The Honda mill is lightweight, reliable, ubiquitous (remember, you can pull a K24 from a junkyard Honda Odyssey), and has been embraced by the aftermarket community for 1000 different applications. K power is leveraged in every form of grassroots motorsports, from drag racing to rallying to shitbox enduros. Plus, Burroughs said, there’s a huge power ceiling when you pair the simple four-cylinder with a turbocharger: A turbocharged K Series can make well over 1000 horsepower reliably.
“Then of course there’s the cost side of it. And people will say, ‘Oh does that mean you couldn’t afford to do it with a Ferrari V-8?’ No, I’m smarter than that with my money. You can go and buy a complete, off-the-shelf engine capable of 1000 horsepower from 4 Piston Racing for ten grand. And that’s the core price for an F106 V-8 out of this car,” he said.
Burroughs is tailoring the build for SCCA Global Time Attack events. He hopes the car will fit neatly into the series’ Limited Class, which is largely unrestricted, allowing big aero (a huge spoiler, diffuser, and splitter are planned), fender flares to accommodate mile-wide rubber, and huge power (Garrett sent along two different turbos for the build, one is good for more than 1000 hp). The class allows the interior to be stripped, but Burroughs said he’d like the car to wear a license plate, so a well-trimmed interior with custom upholstery is on the way.
One of the biggest hurdles has already been cleared: the Honda engine found its new home. Positioning the lump was a challenge, Burroughs said. The main issue, explained simply: the offset between the crank centerline and axle output is a much larger distance in the Ferrari than with the Honda drivetrain. Burroughs had to chop up the chassis and experiment with engine placement, moving the Honda engine further back in the chassis, so the powertrain’s output aligned with the center of the Ferrari’s rear wheels.
“Past that, I haven’t run into any major issues,” Burroughs said. “I feel like I’m over the hill, but there’s still 90 percent of the car left to build. It’s just putting together a car from here. Every aspect of the build is custom and nothing is off-the-shelf, but at this point, I’m just modifying everything else extensively.”
Up next for the Ferrari: flared fenders and bodywork from that Japanese purveyor of wide and low, Liberty Walk (you can watch Ferrari metal being sawed off in the latest Stanceworks video).
“I know a lot of people are going to go nuts about that because we’re hacking up the outside of a nice car too. There are all kinds of plumbing to do. We’re going to build a full turbo system with a water-to-air intercooler and charge system. Custom fuel cell. All the exhaust fabrication. We’re going to be building a full interior from scratch for the car, showcasing how to go through those processes. All sorts of stuff still,” he said. “We’re also building a one-off set of coil overs with H&R and building all new control arms to correct suspension geometry, scrub radius, roll center, all that good stuff. So lots of tech info going into that that people might want to learn about.”
The marmite effect, as ever, remains strong with this build. A quick browse of YouTube comments and message boards reveals that same blend of extremes, high praise trading fists with mortal condemnation. What we love about this build is the execution – any Ferrari owner adding power, stripping weight, and aiming their project at a road course deserves praise. We can’t wait to see the car run in anger (and to watch every step along the way).