A wooden chassis and big airplane engine are only the beginning.


If you think the hotrod movement started sometime in the 1930s you’re not alone. Most people think that, if not that it began after WWII, there’s some disagreement there. However, this 1914 GN Jap proves hotrods have an origin far older than that and it’s just as insane as you’d expect. After all, the GN has a wooden chassis and an airplane engine for maximum kill-yourself-power on the road.

Like any proper hotrod, this little British car has some gnarly headers protruding out from under the engine cowl, which only partly covers the air-cooled airplane V8. As you probably guessed, this is the result of a crazy engine swap, because GN sold the car with a V-twin motorcycle engine, not this massive beast of a powerplant.

This little single-seater can’t weigh all that much. It’s an open-wheel car like all the early racers, plus it has spoke wheels. There’s a single headlight which can’t provide that great of illumination on a road in the nighttime.

The owner of this amazing and very unique car is Richard Scaldwell. He seems like a nice albeit crazy guy, so we already like him. And he certainly appears to really love this car, which doesn’t have any amenities, including power steering or power brakes. We’re sure it keeps him feeling very much in touch with the road, because you can’t zone out when driving a car like that.

According to Scaldwell, the engine in this GN is likely the last one still in operation in the whole world. The other surviving examples are likely sitting in museums collecting dust. This is the kind of car that would interest someone like Jay Leno because of its unique and undeniably historical nature. However, we doubt Scaldwell is willing to part ways with it, just from the way he looks back at the car after he gets out and starts walking away.