I met Mikko Wihinen in Kiltsi, Estonia during a drag race event held at a former Soviet military airbase repurposed for speed runs. He had just rolled into the paddock driving his 1990 Chevrolet C1500 Sport Fleetside, with a trailer hitched at the rear.
It was a cool-looking truck for sure, but in the moment I assumed it was just a support vehicle for a Finnish doorslammer. How wrong I was…
The Chevy was parked up, but there wasn’t any dragster nearby. Mikko stepped out from the driver’s seat, removed two huge slicks and some skinny front tires from the trailer, and proceeded to jack the truck up and swap them over.
Then it hit me… In typical crazy Finnish fashion, this guy had driven from Finland to Estonia in his race car, while towing his toolbox.
‘Hey mister, how much power do you have under the bonnet?’ I asked, definitely not expecting Mikko’s “1,800hp” reply. We all know people who street drive their race cars, but this is a whole different level altogether.
Mikko has owned the truck named ‘Pikkis’ for 15 years, and over this time it’s been transformed from a nondescript pickup to a Decepticon powered by a twin-turbo Dart Little M Pro Series Chevy V8 with nitrous.
Eighteen hundred horsepower is no joke, and to achieve that number reliably required the right set of parts and some talent putting it together.
The 388ci Dart small block is home to a forged K1 Technologies 3.750-inch crankshaft, forged 6-inch rods and forged pistons, while the heads are Air Flow Research’s Eliminator Competition 235cc race items. There’s a custom-specced cam in the mix, along with custom intake manifold and headers.
The real power-making part of the equation comes with two big turbos – Holset HX55s – with a Nitrous Outlet 250hp fogger system on top. The whole setup is controlled by an MS3Pro ECU from AMP EFI.
Given that Mikko drives his pickup on the street quite regularly, the interior retains some sense of comfort, including Sparco Circuit seats with SCHROTH harness belts, and even electric windows. Its true purpose is clear though – the exposed metal, the carbon fiber, the extensive roll cage, and parachute release lever on the roof all point to this.
Like many projects, Mikko’s Chevy build started out a little less serious than it is now. In 2015, he was running 10.1-seconds on the quarter – an impressive time for a heavy street car all the same – but with a single-digit ET so close, he just kept pushing, adding the previously mentioned Holset turbos, the TSI PL-5000 Powerglide transmission, and those fat Hoosier 33×22.5×15 tires out back.
Just learning about Mikko’s build surprised me, but then he went and did his first run of the day and sent the front wheels into the air. That’s definitely something I wasn’t expecting to see happen on a dilapidated concrete runway with only a bit of PJ1 TrackBite sprayed on top.
As it stands, ‘Pikkis’ has made it to the #2 spot in Finland’s domestic ‘Blacklist’ racing series for street cars, something achieved with a 8.06-second ET and a 279km/h trap speed. But Mikko isn’t going to stop here. Being so close to a 7-second time slip, his plan for the future is to make the truck even faster, all while retaining its street nature of course.