The amazing, twin-engined Double Trouble Roadster | Top Gear
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Monday 4th December

The amazing, twin-engined Double Trouble Roadster

1,200bhp from two V8s and four superchargers. Yes

  • What is it?

    No, you don't need stronger specs. This beast, known as Double Trouble, really has got two V8 engines and four - yes four - superchargers stacked on top of them. The poor chassis trying to deliver all this shock and awe to the garden-roller-wide rear tyres started life as a 1927 Ford Model T Roadster. That original car had 40bhp when it trundled off the world's first car production line. Today? Well, it's a bit more: 1,200bhp, to be precise.

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  • Er, what exactly?

    Double Trouble's builder and owner is Las Vegas-based Kiwi Gordon Tronson, who here takes up the story of how it happened. "Growing up in New Zealand, I had a lot to do with hot rods. I belonged to [famous Napier-based] Marineland Street Rod and Kustom Klub. If it moves and makes a noise, I like it." But it was very hard to get American cars there, so it wasn't until he moved to the US that Gordon could really indulge his passion.

  • OK, so Gordon is an automotive omnivore, but why Double Trouble?

    "Every year I go to Viva Las Vegas," Gordon says. "It's a big rat rod convention. I wanted something different, something no one else has got. So that's when I got the idea to do a car with two engines."

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  • Isn't this where most people would just park the idea as too difficult?

    Yes, but not Gordon, who is a telecoms guy, not an engineer, by trade. "Side by side engines are nothing new," he says. "In the Fifties and Sixties, they did it a lot. So I reckoned if they could do it, so could I. Some people did inline twin engines, but that makes the wheelbase too long and the car is not proportional. So driving it is not great."

  • How much did it cost to build and how long did it take?

    Gordon reckons it took the best part of a year to bring the whole thing together in his car-strewn yard. Because he did most of the work himself, the cost is a very reasonable-sounding $60k. But, in case you're thinking of asking, he wouldn't let it go for anything other than "stupid money".

  • What exactly is all that engine-related stuff up front?

    Starting from the top, it's four superchargers sitting on a pair of 1996 vintage Ford 4.6-litre, all-aluminium V8 engines which feed into one 3spd Ford C5 auto transmission. To make the whole lot play nicely with each other, and make it simpler to tune the ensemble, Gordon yanked the entire existing electrical loom and retrofitted a system from a 1939 Ford Flathead, complete with magneto and pickup distributors.

  • How fast is it?

    "To be really, really honest, I don't want to find out," says Gordon. "Right now, it makes so much power, it doesn't get any traction whatsoever. If you hit the throttle at 40, 50 or 60mph, it lights up the tyres and goes sideways. So there's really no point. That's why I have a Lamborghini Diablo. If I want to go 200mph, I take the Lambo out..."

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  • So what's next - or is this it?

    After you've built a double-engine hot rod, the only possible way to trump that is to do what Gordon did next - build a Ford Econoline truck powered by four blown Ford Racing V8s. Naturally...

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