That Time Isuzu Made A Formula One Engine And Put It In A Pickup

What happens when you put a 3.5-litre V12 race engine into a ute? You get this - the Isuzu Como F1 Super Truck
That Time Isuzu Made A Formula One Engine And Put It In A Pickup

As of late, Isuzu’s product line has turned a bit drab and utilitarian. But that doesn’t mean the company hasn’t been responsible for some truly bizarre creations throughout its history. Although most people associate Isuzu with diesel engines and dependable utility vehicles, the Japanese manufacturer had a bit of a mad streak from the late 1980s into the early ‘90s. Along with a series of outrageous concept cars (including the quirky VehiCross SUV, which eventually entered production), Isuzu had aspirations of entering a world with which it wasn’t at all familiar: Formula One racing.

The P799WE--a 3.5-litre, Formula One-spec V12 engine developed by Isuzu. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
The P799WE--a 3.5-litre, Formula One-spec V12 engine developed by Isuzu. …

Isuzu’s brief foray into motorsport seemed no less bewildering in 1991 than it does today. But behind the scenes at Isuzu was a skunkworks project aimed at punting the company to the forefront of open-wheel racing. Isuzu had secretly developed a 3.5-litre DOHC V12 race engine that cranked out around 640bhp at 12,500rpm. The engine, codenamed P799WE, was designed to comply with Formula One specifications. All it needed was a car.

Remote video URL

At the same time, Team Lotus was looking for an engine to power their 102C racer. It looked like Isuzu would be the company to supply Team Lotus with an engine for the 1992 Formula One season. During testing at Silverstone, the P799WE-powered 102C showed a lot of promise on the track, and sounded even better. Apparently, tough diesels weren’t the only engines Isuzu could build.

Sadly, the Formula One venture never came to fruition. The popping of Japan’s economic bubble hurt Isuzu Motors badly, forcing it to pull the plug on its partnership with Team Lotus. This left Isuzu with an incredible V12 engine that had no useful purpose whatsoever. Not wanting their efforts to go to waste, the company decided to showcase the P799WE in the most outlandish way possible: by putting it in a pickup truck.

That Time Isuzu Made A Formula One Engine And Put It In A Pickup

Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. The 1991 Isuzu Como F1 Super Truck was an aptly-named lapse of sanity. Designed by Simon Cox, who would later draft the equally bonkers Cadillac Cien, the Como F1 was everything that a real-world pickup truck isn’t. It had scissor doors, sleek aerodynamics and a mid-mounted P799WE V12 with more power than the future McLaren F1. Although official performance figures are nonexistent, it goes without saying that this souped-up ute could fly like a bat out of hell. What’s more, the rear load compartment meant the Como wasn’t completely impractical, either.

That Time Isuzu Made A Formula One Engine And Put It In A Pickup

Not surprisingly, the Como F1 Super Truck wasn’t commercially viable. It was, however, one of the coolest concept cars of the 1990s. On paper, the notion of a pickup truck powered by a Formula One-spec V12 engine seems completely ridiculous, and possibly even obscene. But the Como F1 was really a testament to Isuzu’s untapped potential as a carmaker. By showcasing the company’s engineering prowess along with its avant-garde creativity, the Como F1 makes you wonder what would have happened if Isuzu invested a bit more in its passenger car operations. For the moment, however, the only way you’ll likely be able to drive a mid-engined Isuzu is if you pursue a career as a bus driver.



That block is… beautiful 😍

05/20/2018 - 18:02 |
4 | 0

Is it just me or…

05/20/2018 - 18:06 |
4 | 0

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

“What the bloody hell is that?!” -Simon Cowell

05/20/2018 - 19:54 |
8 | 0
Ryan Antonyraj

Deora 2 vibes

05/20/2018 - 19:25 |
0 | 0

Could be a nice swap for my Pick-Up

05/20/2018 - 20:14 |
0 | 0

Reading the title of this i could not help but brek into laughter

05/20/2018 - 20:48 |
2 | 0

it sounds fake. something like “that one time Tesla won Group B”

05/22/2018 - 10:59 |
0 | 0
Noah Hammerstad

Remember that time someone put a 458 Italia engine in a GT86?

05/21/2018 - 12:39 |
4 | 0

gonna be honest, i didnt even know that izuzu had an f1 team lol

05/21/2018 - 13:48 |
2 | 0

I still can’t believe the title, even after reading the article. An F1 engine in a pickup…

05/23/2018 - 04:14 |
0 | 0
Kenji (Oldsmobile Fan) (GoldWing Enthusiast) (wheel nut)

It looks like a hotwheel

09/16/2018 - 06:00 |
0 | 0


Sponsored Posts