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BangShift Christmas Gift Review: The Haynes Visible V8 Engine – Should You Buy It? (W/Video)

BangShift Christmas Gift Review: The Haynes Visible V8 Engine – Should You Buy It? (W/Video)

(Video at bottom) – I had been wanting to do a model engine with my sons for a while before Christmas came and it was my wife that reminded me that every year I had been kicking myself for not giving them a kit that we could assemble together. I hit the web last year and came up with the Haynes visible V8 kit. It was about $70 bucks and it had the elements I was looking for. Basically I wanted to be a V8 engine and I wanted it to “run” meaning that there would be an electric motor the guys could fire up to see their creation roar to life.

All of that sounds great but how did it turn out in real life? Should you drop the dough on this gift? Was it worth it? Do the kids still dig it? Make sure you stick all the way to the bottom of the story for the video!

Disclosure: I bought this like anyone else on Earth does. It was not given to me, discounted or anything of that nature.

We’re not going to make this a step by step assembly story because that takes all the fun out of it for you. I’ll not waste your time by dragging out my assessment of the kit. It was great. We had a ball putting the thing together and even now, a year later, the boys are still whacking the button to see the engine turn, fire, and make noise. It was one of the most fun things we have done and it has spurred them to ask for more model kits this year. That’s a win in our book.

Below are some highlight photos of the process and a video that shows the guy “firing it up” for the firs time. 


You literally assemble everything from the pistons and rods to the camshaft in this kit. It is not a rush job type of thing and it made for a very fun afternoon at the house.


To give you an idea of the scale of the kit, here’s the assembled crank and rods in Tom’s hands.


And here’s the size of the block for your viewing pleasure.


No, we did not check end play. Perhaps there’s a “Junior Machinist” kit that can be supplied with the next one.


Our kitchen table is not the biggest one ever made but it was the perfect size for this project. There are LOTS of small pieces so be careful. With two cams that need to be assembled one tiny lobe at a time, you need to be organized.


Here’s what the tops of the valves look like.


So the engine is a SOHC V8 with a pent roof style head. The engine is kind of Euro in its looks but the kids did not care. Frankly, neither did we.


There are LOTS of tiny little screws that hold this baby together. Again, being organized will prevent frustration and missing parts. The guys are installing the cams followers here.


Here’s some fine cylinder head handiwork.


Camshaft assembly took some time to make sure the lobes were installed the right sequence.


With the heads on we were getting close!


This was super awesome learning time for these guy. To actually see the components of an engine in this manner was great and to be the ones actually “building it” made an impact.


Timing belt installed and inching closer to done.



Check out the video below!


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5 thoughts on “BangShift Christmas Gift Review: The Haynes Visible V8 Engine – Should You Buy It? (W/Video)

  1. Will

    Did you show the boys the video of the dude who spins these things to lime 7000 rpm on yourube yet?
    My dad and i did the same project many years ago and it was a blast.
    Your a great dad man. I think the future of hot rodding is safe.

  2. Loren

    I begged my parents for a Visible V8 for Christmas around age 11-12, like everything else I touch I made a complete hopeless wreck of the first try. Mom was pissed she wasted the money. Maybe I could have used some help. My next try at one was age 15 for high school Driver’s Ed class, they paid for it as they wanted the display for their office. I’d learned from my mistakes and nailed it, very proud.

    Also, that model kit was a die-maker’s work of art I thought. It got me interested in that sort of thing as well as engine assembly.

  3. stitchdup

    Very cool, and a great way to spend time with the kids. If you want I help run a model forum custommodelsociety.com and they would be made very welcome. All our members are happy to share tips and hints

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