Cannonball Garage

Cannonball Garage

A Remarkable Journey: Building an Engine for Tavarish’s McLaren 675LT and the Journey to Jay Leno’s

At Cannonball Garage, we thrive on challenges that push the boundaries of possibility. Our recent endeavor with Tavarish’s McLaren 675LT exemplifies the dedication and determination that drive our passion for automotive excellence.


The journey began with a call on Tuesday, July 25th, from none other than YouTube’s Tavarish himself. He posed a bold question: Could we build a CSO-Spec engine for his McLaren 675LT, ensuring its installation and readiness for a cross-country journey to Los Angeles by August 11th? The reason? An invitation to feature the car on the prestigious Jay Leno’s Garage show. The stakes were high, the timeline was tight, and the opportunity was too significant to pass up.
With urgency in our veins, we embarked on a whirlwind plan. Recognizing the need for swift action, we immediately set course, leaving for Orlando just two hours after the call. Upon arrival, we wasted no time loading up the car and transported the 675LT back to our Chicago-based shop. While we were there we also picked up the engine from his famous Hurricane flooded P1 but that is a story for another time.

The car safely arrived at our Chicago-based shop by Friday morning. Balancing the demands of other projects, we readied ourselves for the ambitious task ahead. With Sunday night marked for Freddy’s arrival and with a meticulously planned timeline, we kicked off the teardown on Monday morning, determined to achieve the impossible.


The initial day marked substantial progress, as the engine was removed and disassembled. The overarching strategy involved swapping in a 4.0L M840T block while retaining the original 3.8L engine’s heads. The subsequent day, the heads were expedited to our trusted machine shop for a rapid rebuild. While awaiting critical components like head gaskets, the short block assembly commenced. By Thursday, we had in our possession the necessary parts to install the cylinder heads. Friday’s close witnessed the engine fully dressed and primed for installation of the transmission. Yet, a significant hurdle lay ahead.

Navigating uncharted waters, we encountered our first major challenge during the transmission-to-engine integration. The nuances of this particular swap were unprecedented, but our relentless determination forged a path forward as we swap parts from a spare 720s transmission to make it all work.

Sunday marked a breakthrough as the engine went back in and the connections of lines and hoses fell into place, giving life to the engine’s roar once more. The subsequent Monday was dedicated to meticulous fine-tuning in collaboration with M-Engineering, a process that added the final polish to our creation.


With a sense of accomplishment and the horizon beckoning, we set out for California on Tuesday morning. Our destination? Jay Leno’s Garage. Thursday afternoon saw us arriving at the facility, ready to showcase our handiwork. Amidst a tour of the facility with David, the producer, an unexpected encounter unfolded – there was Jay Leno himself, in his element and engrossed in automotive literature. Jay’s warm greeting further affirmed his status as a true car enthusiast at heart.


Our interaction with Jay Leno was nothing short of incredible. He graciously shared insights into his extensive collection, embodying the down-to-earth persona that enthusiasts worldwide admire. Tavarish’s feedback about the car’s performance and our work was immensely satisfying, as Jay Leno put the McLaren 675LT through its paces.


The episode, an embodiment of our dedication, enthusiasm, and collaboration, is slated to air in November. This journey, marked by challenges and triumphs, underscores our commitment to pushing boundaries and achieving automotive excellence. At Cannonball Garage, we cherish these moments that unite our passion with the pulse of the automotive world.