There’s nothing better than seeing a vehicle do exactly the kind of thing it was never meant for. My favorite stories on the internet are always about people pushing the limits of what a car can do, be it by overlanding a Mercedes wagon, taking a Subaru Legacy to Moab or basically every sports car that gets turned into an R-GT-class rally machine.
That’s why I love Marcin Wicik’s
drift Transit. I’ve had a thing for Transits punching above their weight ever since Sabine Schmitz promised Jeremy Clarkson that she could beat him around the ‘Ring in a van on Top Gear. Nothing’s better than seeing a Transit get delightfully sideways, thanks in no small part to a rowdy V-8 plucked from a BMW E39-generation M5 up front. Now Wicik posted a behind-the-scenes look into how it was made.
“We threw away all DHL packages, put in a BMW engine, and it works,” Wicik says in the video.
Wicik enlisted the help of European Drift Champion Maciej Polody to make his sideways van dream happen back in 2010, and within a couple years, they had a four-seat drift van ready to party.
They started off with a Mark 6 Transit van in horrendous condition, which they upgraded to Mark 7 bodywork and made some key mods along the way which let them stuff a 440-horsepower BMW V8 inside. The entire front was lengthened by a few millimeters to fit the bigger radiators they’d need for rev-limiter-banging drift work.
That engine came along in 2011, when they replaced the 2.0-liter turbocharged Cosworth engine it had with a 5.0-liter BMW V-8 from an E39 M5, or as Wicik’s video calls it, “the best BMW M5 engine ever.”
To make it fit, the bulkhead behind the engine was pushed back into the cab by 30 cm, thus letting the M5 engine sit above the front axle instead of dangling in front of it. (Too much weight ahead of the front axle isn’t as easy to control, and a good drift is all about control.)
That M5 engine is hooked up to a six-speed manual Getrag transmission that sends power to the rear wheels of the van, just like what was used in the BMW M5.
Most importantly, the van now packs a hydraulic handbrake, which locks up the two rear wheels with very little effort.
In addition to installing four racing buckets and harnesses in the fully-caged front and back seats, the whole dashboard was reworked for no-nonsense racing use. There are few luxuries left aside from a switch for exterior auxiliary lighting that’s used to show off. Other than that, the dashboard is just a big carbon fiber panel save for one do-everything gauge that includes the rev limiter in big letters in the middle, a shift light, and a series of no-nonsense switches and buttons.
There’s also a pull for the onboard fire suppression system and a button for the series-mandated emergency flashers should anything ever go wrong. In the very back of the car is a fuel cell and a trick system to ensure they’re always picking up fuel—not air—even when the fuel sloshes around in the tank while drifting.
Even the roll cage was a special build, as most racing cages only protect the front row of seats. This one had to be done in two segments to protect back seat passengers as well and to give each row a place to hook top harness straps into, and it took some inspiration from hardcore Dakar Rally roll cages. The rear shock chalices that serve as the attachment points for the lowered van’s suspension are welded directly to the roll cage itself.
It’s been a hit ever since, showing off at major European motorsports events and even making it onto Polish Top Gear and the Hoonigans’ YouTube show.
You can check out the Drift Taxi’s home page here (and yes, you can buy a ride in it!), or its page on Engine Swap Depot
here for more behind-the-scenes footage of how it came to be. This is one of those delightful builds that truly seems to exist to bring joy into this world, and I’m for it. Please drift everything. Thanks in advance.
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