Scale-model engines are a great way to play with the mechanics without needing a lot of space. They allow for tinkering and tuning, and a new video shows how a poor-running quarter-scale V8 engine can turn into a mean-sounding muscle car motor.

The little V8 engine had an assortment of minor issues impeding its performance. The firing order was off, with the three- and five-cylinder plugs wires interchanged. The engine also needed a larger-diameter connector for the fuel delivery system, with the improvements making it start and run better.

However, the new exhaust system gave the engine its muscle car growl. The tubular headers were 3D printed in metal and significantly altered the exhaust note, transforming it from a rough-sounding burble to a smooth growl thanks to a pair of small mufflers. The old exhaust was quite restrictive.

The scale-model engine is a petrol-powered Enjomor 78-cc four-stroke V8 with dual-overhead cams. The motor can spin at a maximum of 9,000 rpm and produce up to five horsepower. It’s water-cooled and features an oil pump. In the video, the water pump stops working, tearing through the drive belt, but the mishap didn’t cause significant damage. The engine alone regularly costs $2,899.99 (approx. £2,330).

The exhaust system is also from Enjomor, but it’s much cheaper than the motor, just like in real life, costing $223.99 from The website has an assortment of other scale-model engines available if you’re interested in miniature mechanics. One even comes with a supercharger, and smaller scale-model engines are much cheaper, with some basic models costing as little as a few hundred dollars.

The video shows that even changing parts on scale-model engines can affect performance. These are just like the real things in millions of cars, and the ability to swap out headers and other components allows for endless tinkering. Sadly, this sort of fun might disappear from future cars as electric vehicles take over. Future tuners might require a computer and more coding skills than MySpace could ever teach if they want to upgrade their EV.