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Aussies create custom V12 LS engine conversion for Kia Pregio

What is a dingy old Kia work van doing on Driving Enthusiast stinking up the joint? Well as you might have guessed, this old Kia Pregio is not standard in any conceivable way. It is pregnant with apocalyptic fury.

The V12 LS engine is an Australian creation that first surfaced at the 2016 SEMA show in Las Vegas. Combining the most-loved aspects of the venerable General Motors LS-series V8 with the theatre and might of a V12 was so clever it had others scratching their heads wondering why they never came up with it first.

Initial development centred around a carefully-welded block, with a 519-cu (8.5L) capacity, developing 700hp (521kW), but they have now switched focus to casting one-piece blocks, with the goal of achieving 1000hp (750kW) on normal unleaded fuel. Who said pushrods are for dinosaurs? Customers can choose a 9.5-litre version as well.

When thinking of the ideal candidate for such a unique and purpose-built engine, valued at just under $50,000, many classic, exotic and muscle cars spring to mind. A 57 Bel Air? Maybe an old Jaguar XJ? Or even a VF Commodore? What about an old Kia Pregio van?

Kia’s diesel workhorse gave the Korean firm a direct rival to the Toyota HiAce, with a smelly 2.7-litre naturally-aspirated diesel that coughed out 62kW and 172Nm. While not glamorous or sexy, the van silhouette means unlimited space for this franken-donk to surprise onlookers. While they did get it up and running for a blast up the street, the standard cooling system meant the car is prone to overheating.

Still, how many V12 Kias, or vans do you hear about these days? We salute the V12 LS boys for having a sense of humour and making something wacky and inconspicuous in equal measures. Check out the video below for more.

Mitchell Jones

Eccentric car nut and just as enthused by roasting an egg on the air cleaner of an old Hemi as he is hunting the horizon in a space-age electric supercar, Mitchell's passion for motoring started at a young age. He soon developed a meticulous automotive obsession for obscure facts. He joins Driving Enthusiast as a features writer and car reviewer, following a near 10-year stint at PerformanceDrive.
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