Home » AWD Hot Rod Is a 1,000HP Menace That Snaps Axles & Smokes Tires With Abandon

AWD Hot Rod Is a 1,000HP Menace That Snaps Axles & Smokes Tires With Abandon

1000bhp Awd Burnout Monster Ts3
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Hot rods are a uniquely American piece of car culture. Typically, they’re built on early-2oth century chassis with old-school drivetrains and a focus on chrome and flash instead of real performance. The NASROD is an altogether different style of build. It pairs modern horsepower with a rat rod aesthetic and a wheel and tire package that looks like it came straight off the race track. Oh, and it does burnouts like crazy. Let’s dive in.

Online car personality Rob Dahm was charged with getting the scoop on this build for the Top Gear YouTube channel. The 1934 Ford truck was built by Jessie Jewart, owner of Jessie’s Performance down in Fort Worth, Texas. His shop handles all kinds of modern tuner builds and muscle cars, and thus was perfectly well equipped to put together a build like this. Jewart bought the car last year from a friend in Wyoming, expecting to just fit an engine. Within a couple of months, it had transformed into the NASROD.

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[Ed note/brag: Matt here. Full disclosure: I was part of the original team that put this show together for Season 1 and I worked briefly on Season 2. I had nothing to do with this season, but it’s awesome to just be able to watch it. Rob Dahm is exactly as affable and enthusiastic as he seems on camera and the crew does an incredible job. Also, the production company that makes it, my old company TangentVector is hiring to replace Mike Spinelli, who replaced me. If you want to make shows like this you should consider applying. – MH]

It’s no regular hot rod, though. So many slap a giant V8 donk out front into a big diff at the back, with no real consideration of handling or how to put big power down to the ground. There are no crummy mid-century leaf springs or ladder bars, here. Indeed, the wheels and tires alone should tell you that this open-wheel build was built with an eye to dynamics. It’s kitted out with a bunch of Corvette suspension parts and a steering rack from a trophy truck. Just by the way it sits, you can see that this is a handling weapon, not just some over-chromed parade float.

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It’s inspired by NASCAR, hence the name, even if it doesn’t actually rock any NASCAR parts. Up front, it’s got a 500 cubic inch (8.2-liter) LS-style V8 from Steve Morris Engines, good for 1,000 horsepower. That’s thanks to a sky-high 14.5:1 compression ratio, with methanol the fuel of choice to avoid detonation. There’s also a nitrous system for extra squirt if so desired.

The mighty engine is paired with a T56 transmission, a “mud truck” transfer case that appears to be from SCS Gearbox, a Duramax front diff, and a Ford 9-inch at the back. “I got a buddy up the street that does a little bit of machine work, he turned out some bushings and stuff for us, but other than that… it’s all redneck math,” Jewart explains.

The car is notorious for breaking axles—no surprise given the grunt on tap. The all-wheel-drive setup contributes to this as well, with the short axles and CV joints driving the front wheels. “The steering angle, plus the horsepower and torque in four-wheel-drive just likes to, you know…” explains Jewart. The video shows the front axles getting an upgrade to try and handle the fury of the V8 powertrain.

1000bhp Awd Burnout Monster The Nasrod American Tuned 1 41 Screenshot Result1
A simple transfer case sends drive to the front and rear wheels.
1000bhp Awd Burnout Monster The Nasrod American Tuned 1 44 Screenshot Result2
The suspension layout is key to the open-wheel style design.

There is a little confusion over the specifics of the drivetrain. Jewart refers to it as four-wheel-drive, and the use of the SCS transfer case would suggest that is indeed the situation. Dahm, on the other hand, refers to it as “all-wheel-drive,” though we hear no mention of a center differential that would make it so. A quick query to Jewart’s Facebook page by The Autopian confirmed it is indeed an old-school 4WD setup with transfer case only.

Indeed, this could in part be the reason why the NASROD breaks so many axles and drivetrain components. A four-wheel-drive system run on sealed surfaces tends to suffer a problem called “driveline windup.” This is because the front wheels and rear wheels don’t always travel the exact same distance, but in a four-wheel-drive car, they’re directly connected together. Thus, if the front diff’s pinion turns further than the rear diffs, or vice versa, this can put huge strain on the mechanical components, particularly those directly connecting the two. It’s not an issue on soft surfaces, where the wheels can slip to relieve any built-up tension, but that doesn’t work on asphalt. All-wheel-drive vehicles get around this by having a center differential that safely lets the front and rear wheels roll different distances without issue.

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Of course, it’s just as likely the issues are down to the immense torque being put through the drivetrain by the massive V8 engine. And, hey, when you’re ripping big burnouts, there’s theoretically some opportunity to get rid of some of that drivetrain windup anyway.

1000bhp Awd Burnout Monster The Nasrod American Tuned 7 44 Screenshot Result4

1000bhp Awd Burnout Monster The Nasrod American Tuned 8 22 Screenshot Result5

1000bhp Awd Burnout Monster The Nasrod American Tuned 8 58 Screenshot Result6

For Dahm, his initial drive is frustrated by clutch issues. His short run was nonetheless a lesson in respect for the sheer power available at a touch of the throttle. That’s down to the naturally-aspirated V8 and it’s always-on linear power curve. There’s no waiting for turbos to spin up to boost pressures; it’s just ready to wail at the drop of a hat.

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“That things just a riot,” says Dahm. “That was very aggressive, I love it.” Jewart jumps behind the wheel to diagnose the issue, only for the pinion gear to snap in the rear diff. With a film crew still on hand and an unwillingness to give up, though, the party doesn’t end there. With wheel chocks on the rear tires, the NASROD rips off some hilarious front-wheel-drive-only burnouts that would impress even the most discerning Honda owner. With a little assist from a friendly forklift, the NASROD fires off thick clouds of smoke to the cheers of Jewart and Dahm.

1000bhp Awd Burnout Monster The Nasrod American Tuned 9 32 Screenshot Result8
During filming, the NASROD destroyed a pinion gear and spat a driveshaft out on to the road. It necessitated front-wheel-drive burnouts from then on.
1000bhp Awd Burnout Monster The Nasrod American Tuned 10 27 Screenshot Result9
1,000 horsepower is plenty for turning tires into smoke.

Obviously, the regular drivetrain component failures are a frustration, but that’s kind of par for the course when you’re pushing four-digit horsepower like Jewart here.

[Ed note: Actually, on our first day of shooting this show we intended to shoot with two different vehicles and both of them broke! This is an incredibly hard show to do and not created on a huge budget, in spite of how good it looks. – MH]

Ultimately, he’s built a sweet rat rod that can slither and snake around with the kind of poise usually reserved for outright drift cars, and it can deliver a hell of a smoke show, too. It’s an American classic build that benefits from the fruits of modern automotive design, and we have to applaud that.

Image credits: Top Gear via YouTube screenshots

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Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
3 months ago

Sorry hundreds of people have built unreliable POS for far less money. If the vehicle doesn’t accomplish anything but falling apart and failing how is it worth building.
Is it faster? Well can’t tell can’t go 10 feet without breaking down.
Is it designed well? Well it breaks down every time you start it.
Is it reliable? No. Affordable No.

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
3 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

This is still more interesting, engaging, and well-thought-out than anything you’ve ever posted.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
3 months ago

Well thank you my friend. I am still waiting for the time you post anything worth reading. JK I don’t attack people to make myself seem important. Like many here do.. Can’t we just all get along? I

Angry Bob
Angry Bob
3 months ago

Back in the 90’s, Summit Racing built a ’32 Ford hotrod they called the “Quadradeuce“. As the name would imply, it put 500hp down through all wheel drive. They used the transfercase from a GMC Syclone which had a center diff. That was back when 500hp was nuts and the car was completely well mannered and streetable.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
4 months ago

Those sticky tires and even a very mild amount of power would be breaking stuff with 4wd and no center diff.

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
4 months ago

Looks like a Ken Block special. May he RIP.

Toecutter
Toecutter
3 months ago
Reply to  Doctor Nine

Ken Block has given me tens of hours of entertainment with his hooning about. He is missed. I would one day love to be able to do the things he did(it’s an extremely unlikely dream. I don’t have anything near his driving skills).

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
4 months ago

I can’t imagine trying to carve pavement corners with a straight transfer case—much less with that much power. A bit of a handful would be a nice way to put it. Still, I bet you’d be smiling as you fought the wheel.

Toecutter
Toecutter
4 months ago

This thing would fit right in the Mad Max hooniverse, as if George Miller himself had a hand in its design. It also has the grunt to back the showmanship. It’s beautiful.

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