Twin-engine, 500-hp Mini Cooper gets the Jay Leno treatment
Using two engines to power a race car has been an idea tested repeatedly throughout the decades; Enzo Ferrari built one for Alfa Romeo in the '30s, and every so often a junkyard Dr. Frankenstein manages to cobble together one for a 24 Hours of Lemons race. But this Mini isn't a joke project, but a real racecar that has at least 500 hp and all-wheel-drive — thanks to the notion of two engines being so much better than one.
Assembled by San Francisco enthusiast Jacques Andres, the Twini simply uses two copies of the race-tuned 1.6-liter supercharged inline-four Mini engine. Both engines have their own transmissions, but yoke to the same controls in the cockpit; press the gas and both accelerate, shift the gearbox and the gears change simultaneously. Andres and team plan to go endurance racing later this month; tests show the car will be as fast as custom-built machines with all eight of their cylinders in one block. Before that, Jay Leno takes the Twini onto the mean streets of Burbank, and finds it an impressive ride.