Crikey, I can vaguely remember as a kid my dad had a couple of Fords with the Essex V4 engine. It was in the mid-sixties I think. One was his works Mk1 Transit and then our family company was a Zephyr 4 for a while. That engine saw kitcar use too, as Marcos used it in the 2-litre model of 1969.

Anyway, I digress. However, I think I can be forgiven for reminiscing as it was all the fault of a press release from the American V4 division of Alabama-based Motus Motorcycles. The company founded by Lee Conn and Brian Case make exquisite motorbikes like the MST and MST-R.

They went out of production in 2018 but are now back and you can buy one again. The engine was designed with assistance from GM LS experts, Katech and carried on developing the unit for a wider, universal crate motor purpose.

Although I have read stuff that it’s a perfectly scaled-down GM LS3, that isn’t strictly true. It is based on the architecture of the LS series but is actually 25 per cent smaller, 66 per cent lighter although it is true that with four-cylinders it is effectively an LS engine cut in half across the Vee.

American V4, with their other partners, Pratt and Miller have been offering the unit, officially called the MV4-ZR ‘Baby Block’ V4 in crate form as a transplant proposition to owners of the Polaris XP1000, which means a hefty power increase from the 110bhp that has as standard.

There’s also going to hot rod potential for it not to mention small aircraft and of course, it seems a perfect engine for kitcar use. For example, a Mazda MX-5-based kitcar would get an instant and healthy power hike, as the 1650cc American V4 punches out 180bhp out of the box. I can only imagine that if you bolted a nice little supercharger kit to it then 300bhp should be easily attainable.

In the States, it currently costs $10,220 (approximately £7747, when I checked) and for that, you get the ECU, fly-by-wire throttle gubbins and wiring loom, although once it’s shipped here and all the various extra costs have been added, I’d expect it to cost nearly as much as the current dollar price in the UK.

However, it remains an intriguing and frankly, quite exciting prospect. We’ll be bringing you more on this one.

In the meantime, visit ENDS.