Last Updated on August 2, 2022 by E. Lindgren
These modified Japanese mini trucks are some of the coolest JDM Kei trucks you’ll come across. Kei trucks are meant to be slow, fuel-efficient, and generally fall under the radar. But these modified Kei trucks are the complete opposite of that. These trucks have everything from motorcycle-swapped engines to twin-turbo V8s and insane off-road modifications.
13B Rotary Swapped Kei Truck
If you follow the YouTube channel “Hoonigan” this Japanese mini truck, also known as the Suzuki Carry. These guys are known to create some insane customized vehicles, and this one is no different from this ridiculously modified Kei truck.
The Hoonigan guys totally ditched the factory 660 cc I-3 and replaced it with something unheard of, a 1.3L Rotary Wankel engine (13B) producing about 165hp. And while that doesn’t sound like much, you have to know that these Kei trucks are extremely tiny, and many weigh less than 500 kg (1,100 lbs). Combine that with a RWD layout, and an extremely light rear-end and you’ve got yourself a tire-shredder
To give the Suzuki Carry a little more distinguished look, the Hoonigan guys got themselves a one-off Rocket-Bunny wide body kit custom made by Tra-Kyoto, and it certainly looks the part. For a custom kit, this one look extremely well put together. The WORK Equip wheels the truck is fitted with also blend together really well with the body kit.
Fitting an engine twice as large as the original one is not an easy task, to say the least. This has been a long project stretching for several years up until the end of 2020 when they finally somewhat finalized the project. But what an outcome! The sound from the 13B Rotary is not what you’d expect to come out from a little JDM Kei truck like this one. But it’s not just sound, it can slay some tires as well, take a look!
JDM Drift Kei Truck
This is another heavily modified Kei truck, and although it still has the stock 660 cc engine it is far from being original anywhere else. I think it is fair to say unless you like the attention you shouldn’t drive around in this mini truck.
The bright pink color, camber, custom-made body kit, and wheels certainly give an impression. And to top it off, the externally mounted oil-cooler just looks freaking awesome. It is just refreshing to see just the amount of effort and time some of these people put in, just to have the car they like. Today it seems like most customized cars are just modified more or less in the same way, so it is nice to see some variation once in a while.
But this Suzuki Carry is not just for show, it is frequently used for drifting. And although it just produces about 50 hp it is more than enough for this little mini truck, considering it weighs less than half a ton. In fact, in Japan there are literally drifting days just for Kei trucks and vans, so, you really don’t need a ton of power in order to slide these vehicles around.
5.3L Precision Twin Turbo V8 Kei Truck “The Stomper”
This Mitsubishi Minicab Kei truck is not your ordinary Kei truck. I don’t know if we could even call it a Kei truck any longer, considering basically the entire truck has been swapped for something else except for the chassis from the Mitsubishi Minicab.
This car is bonkers. It has TWO not one, but TWO frontends from a 2500 Chevrolet Silverado. Why two you may ask. Well, this Kei truck is not only four-wheel drive, it also has four-wheel steering, just like a monster truck. It is just ridiculous, the wheels themselves are literally outside of the chassis.
But that’s not all, it also has a 5.3L Twin Turbo V8, which is almost ten times as large, and two turbochargers more than the original engine. Typically, the engine in a Kei truck is fitted beneath the passenger, or driver’s seat. But since a 5.3L V8 have no chance on earth fitting there a part of the flatbed is cut out, and replaced with the big V8. So, the engine is completely exposed, so don’t let any kids nearby!
Here’s a short compilation to give you an idea of just how crazy this modified mini truck is!
Monster Offroad Kei Truck
Originally, Kei trucks were used mostly by farmers and were occasionally used offroad to maybe cross a field or a small riverbed. But they were never supposed to be used as hardcore off-roaders, such as the way PRO STAFF in Japan does. And although a stock Kei truck does alright, it will eventually be faced with clearance issues.
To counter this, PRO STAFF has installed a custom-made Portal axle which raises the clearance by four inches. In fact, they’ve gone through the entire truck, from suspension, subframe, exterior, and engine, all custom-made.
The PRO STAFF Kei truck has replaced the original 660 cc engine with the one from the 1.3L I-4 (M13) from the Suzuki Jimny boosting power to about 85hp.
Considering this truck is extremely light, it is quite impressive the amount of grip these Kei trucks manage to get. And it looks like a blast, I’d rather take one of these over a large pickup truck.
Hayabusa Swapped Kei Truck
Hayabusa’s are known to be some of the world’s fastest motorcycles, so what happens when you put a Hayabusa engine inside of a Daihatsu Hijet Kei truck? Well, the YouTuber by the name of Scooterswapshop tested to find out for himself.
A lot of work goes into swaps like this, especially a Hayabusa swap since it basically has never been done before, so there is a lot of trial and error involved as the owner found out.
And although not finished yet, the result so far is awesome. The naturally aspirated Hayabusa engine certainly boosted the power output quite a bit, and the sound produced by it is just enhancing, especially when it comes out of a modified mini truck.
Unfortunately, there is not a whole lot of information regarding the specifications, but I’ll leave you a video so you can take a listen for yourself
Yamaha R1 Engine Swapped Kei Truck
Another motorcycle engine swap, but this time with a Yamaha R1 engine inside of a Suzuki Carry Kei truck.
Basically, the owner bought this car with a hydro-locked engine, so instead of rebuilding it he decided to swap it out for an engine from a 2009 Yamaha superbike. Out goes the 550 cc I-3 and in goes a 1,000 cc 184 hp motorcycle engine that revs to over 10,000 RPM.
But this guy did not only put in a motorcycle engine, the kind of converted the Kei truck to become half motorcycle and half Kei truck. The transmission comes from the Yamaha R1 which is a 6-speed manual sequential gearbox. But that’s not all. Do you know how a car has four springs? Yeah, well, this guy removed the two rear springs, and replaced them with one spring in the middle, directly behind the engine. I suppose it works since the rear-end is so light, but still, it almost seems like some madman science, but I suppose that’s why it is on this list.