Picture of V8 Engine Table
I made this table quite a few years ago, and have since sold it so I cant take any more photos, so I appologise for the lack of detailed photos.

By the end it was a heavy but strong table, costing me about £100 to make.

Please be aware that once you do this to an engine, there is generally no way it is going back in a car!

Please don't forget to vote for me in the furniture challenge! Thanks.

Date Made: April 2005
Approx Cost: £100
Approx Time: done over 2 weekends (1 weekend day to strip engine and send to blasters, wait for media blaster during week, 1 weekend day to put together, wait for glass during following week - obviously if you prepare, then it could be done in a day or two)
Difficulty: Medium

** Additional Note **

People have asked how heavy it is. If you take off the glass it can be picked up by one person, although it is heavy and akward. Bear in mind that mine was an aluminum block though!

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Step 1: Acquire Engine

Picture of Acquire Engine
I watched ebay for a while until I found an old rover V8 engine cheap. I paid £10 for this one.

Somehow you need to get it home safely! You will likely need an engine hoist as they are heavy! Also line your van/car as you will probably get oil everywhere even if you do drain it first!

**Additional Note**

For those looking for engines, try to het hold of a damaged or incomplete engine.

2 reasons:
a) it will be cheaper
b) some models may be rare and it will annoy people who need the parts for their car if you use a working engine for a table!!

You can try searching eBay with the following syntax

"V8 (engine, block) (damaged, broken, spares, repair, faulty, cracked, split, incomplete, non runner)"

Take out the quotation marks but leave the other symbols. The bracketed words separated by a comma basically means "or" so it will find items with any of those words. Add in any other words you can think of.

I watched eBay for quite a while until I got one local and cheap.

Step 2: Strip it down

Picture of Strip it down
Depending on how many parts your engine came in, you will have to strip it down to the parts you want to keep and the parts you want to get rid of.

You can buy a haynes manual for the engine to follow the instructions, or you can do what I did and just undo every bolt until you get to the parts you want!

The parts you want to keep are:
* The main block (not the heads).
* At least 4 piston (with con rods/arms, not just the piston heads).
* 2 no sprockets from front
* 1no chain from the front

Everything else can go, including all internals. I sold the left over parts on ebay for £10 meaning that the table parts cost me nothing!

One mistake I did make was that I didnt take off the piston rings as I liked the look of them, however if you leave them on, be aware that it is nigh on impossible to clean them properly.

Step 3: Clean the parts you have left

Picture of Clean the parts you have left
You can do this with some engine cleaning products and some hard graft, or you can pay someone to do this for you!

I didnt want to spend hours cleaning only to come up with a finish that I wasnt happy with, so I went to see my local media blaser and got him to bead blast everything (plus a couple of old bits I had - see my cog ash tray!). I paid him £50 for this.

It came out spotless!!!

Please be aware that once you bead blast an engine there is no way its going back in a car!!!!! It will have glass beads in various nooks and crannys and all tolerances will have gone!

Unfortunately I dont have a photo of it before I put it together...

Step 4: Protect the metal

Picture of Protect the metal
The engine block (of my model) is made of aluminium so this was not going to rust so I left it as is. (some blocks are steel so be aware).

The chambers however are steel, so I bought a can of clear laquer spray and gave them a coat. Usual painting techniques apply!

Step 5: Position and drill the pistons

Picture of Position and drill the pistons
Take off the bottom clamp from the piston con rod (arm). These are not needed.

There should still be 2 bolts on the con rod (arm). One of these we will use as the bottom positioning bolt, the other one however needs to be punched out - its a simple hammer job.

This should leave a hole which can be used with an appropriate sized bolt to connect to the original head bolt hole on the engine block. (I think I had to enlarge this hole slightly to get the correct size bolt through).

(Note: In the photos you will see that I used threaded bar and a nut, but I think a bolt would be better. Also if I did it again I would grind a little of the arm adjacent to the top of this hole so that the bolt sat completely flat)

On one side this will leave the bottom bolt aligned with a section of cooling chamber. If you enlargen this slightly, then it can be used as a locating bolt. on the other side a new hole will have to be drilled. Again, this can be used as a locating bolt with the original piston con rod bolt.

Do this for 4 pistons (or 8 if you really wanted to!?).

(Additional note: You might be able to see from some of the pictures that there is not quite enough play in the pistons for the heads to sit flat, so if I was going to do this again I would at this point grid a little of the inside of the piston head or a little of the arm so that the piston heads can sit flat.)

Step 6: Front Decoration

Picture of Front Decoration
You should have taken out all the internal of the engine, leaving a hole where the cam was.

Use an appropriate size bolt and washer through this hole to fix the large sprocket to the front of the engine (where it originally would have been).

Then hang the chain on this. I then left the little sprocket hanging in the chain unfixed.

Step 7: Glass

Picture of Glass
Measure the size of glass you want and go and see a glass specialist.

Remember that you dont want it overhanging too much and that it needs to be safe; Ask the specialists advice. 

I went for a bevelled edge, laminated, with radius corners. I made the radius of the corners match that of the piston heads. I went with specialist on thickness.

This glass cost me £42.

The glass specialist also gave me some little rubber stickers too. I stuck these to the tops of the piston heads and sat the glass on top.

Step 8: Relax

Picture of Relax
Put some wine bottles in the chambers (ther are some lips at the bottom of 4 of the chambers which stop them sliding down), sit back and enjoy your table!

All in all it cost me about £100. Not bad for a v8 engine table id say!
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BT24 months ago

Can you give the dimensions of the glass and the high of the table please?

Mr_o_uk (author)  BT24 months ago
Hi, I'm afraid I sold it so can no longer measure it. I gave the glass receipt/ info to the person I sold it to incase they broke it and needed to replace it.

Every engine will be different so I suggest that you build the base first, and then visit a glass specialist with the base dimensions and get their advice.
B3N4209 months ago
Can anyone tell me the EXACT model of this engine? Would be very much appreciated!!
It looks like a 3.5 range rover engine going by the carbs. Though it could easily be from an SD1 or a LWB stage one land rover. Those stromberg carbs were on loads of engines, SU before that and then onto a plethora of EFI setups.
Any of the v8 rover engines look pretty much the same. Once all the ancillaries are stripped, the basic architecture will be identical to the untrained eye. So a tvr 5 liter will look much the same as a 3.5 Rover p5b engine. Google the rover engine to see what it went into, such as Morgan, MG, Sherpa vans and pretty much anything that needed a bit of grunt. The serial number will tell you exactly what it came from, but like I said, it makes little difference. A rover v8 is a rover v8 is a rover v8. Hope this helps.
rmascarenhas29 months ago
no offence dude, bot what an utter waste of an engine!:@:O:-#
Not if it's A junk engine! Cracked block,bore destroyed etc. In fact it would be A way to recycle A shot block.
Mr_o_uk (author)  rmascarenhas29 months ago
Yeah, I understand why some people think that, hence my comments in step 1 about finding a broken engine. What else are you going to do with a broken block apart from weight it in?
WolfDesign9 months ago

Brilliant work. Can't wait to make one of my own !!

sbuscemi11 months ago

i had the guys in greensboro fix mine and the did phenomenal job!! visit Land Rover Greensboro website

c1bers1ren1 year ago
wow i have to make one now it looks so cool
Mr_o_uk (author)  c1bers1ren1 year ago
Post a pic if you do...

For a man cave I think bigger would be better. Try a Detroit 8-71V! You could use the pistons as ashtrays since they have recessed tops. Although it would be a lot heavier and more expensive, but it would be REALLY AWSOME! Something I've wanted to build is a wood burning heater out of a small block Chevy V8. I have all the plans in my head, but don't have the time or space to try it yet.

Mr_o_uk (author)  harposrepair1 year ago

I went with WW2 plane parts for my ash tray...


Dexterko1 year ago

Awesome project, I don't really like the idea of the pistons being out of the cylinders...If the piston rods would be extended, the piston heads would be sticking out enough so the glass would clear the top of the block...and then the upper corners of the piston heads could be grind (I'm typing grinded but auto correct is underlining it red, don't know why) just enough to be a flat surface for the glass, and by doing that the pistons stay parallel to the cylinders, and the form of an engine is kept... :D

So the outer 4 pistons are raised up, and the 4 in the middle can be lower in cylinders or taken out completely so there is space for the wine bottles (which is an awesome idea btw).

That's how I would make it... :)

And also some discrete LED ambient lighting could add to it's greatness...

Mr_o_uk (author)  Dexterko1 year ago

Sounds good, if you build it your way then post some photos and let us know how it goes!

sbuscemi1 year ago

That...is...Great :D Good work, sir. Good work  if found nice shop are Specialties: when it come to Land Rover / Range Rover service Greensboro, NC 

jccisneros1 year ago
hi .what did you do to keep the pistion head from swiveling ie..weld, braze ?
Mr_o_uk (author)  jccisneros1 year ago
I didn't fix them. The weight and 'flat plane' of the glass kept them in place and stopped them rotating. When you took the glass off they could rotate. You could always put a spot weld on the end of each to hold it in place, but I didn't see the need.
nice now this will look great for a table in my room since i love muscle cars and other cars this will do thxs
Dude... NICE!!
LiftAndLove2 years ago
Awesome job! I voted btw :)
Mr_o_uk (author)  LiftAndLove2 years ago
Thanks. Much appreciated.
jkendall12 years ago
You just gave me an awesome idea as to what to do with an I-4 Chrysler Engine that has been sitting in my garage for quite some time. I do have a "hot tank" so it should prove to be a nice weekend project with some friends. Thanks mate!
Mr_o_uk (author)  jkendall12 years ago
I'd like to see some pictures when you do!
horphmyre2 years ago
Do you have any idea what it weighed?
Mr_o_uk (author)  horphmyre2 years ago
I couldn't quote you figures, but once the engine is stripped down, one person can pick it up if you separate the glass. (Bear in mind that mine is an aluminium block).

Have a look at this...

That...is...AWESOME :D Good work, sir. Good work.
onemoroni12 years ago
Awesome idea and build.
rwolkens2 years ago
This reminds me of the one they have on Top Gear U.K. I think theirs is actually a Rover V8 as well, now that I think about it. I've been wanting to do one of these ever since I first seen it on the show on B.B.C. America. Thanx!
Mr_o_uk (author)  rwolkens2 years ago
The original was a Porsche engine...


But I think they use a jaguar v12 now. (I haven't seen top gear in a few years, so I may well be wrong)
Right. I know it's not a Porsche engine now, because it's a "V" configuration, but it might have been at one point it time. I could have sworn it's a V8 now, but you may be right, and it's a V12 Jag lump.

Ok, so I just googled it, and you are correct, it is a V12 Jag block.
RoeyLeon2 years ago
Amazing work !
looks very good !

My father has a garage , maybe i`ll ask him to arrange some old motor and i`ll do this project to

thanks for the Idea !

Mr_o_uk (author)  RoeyLeon2 years ago
I used a v engine as I thought it would be the most stable and look the coolest, but I guess you could do it with a flat 4 and bend the con-rods. Can't see how you'd do it with an in-line unless you didn't use the pistons and found some other way to fix the glass.

I like aeroplane engines, especially radial ones; I just like the look, so a table made from one of them would be cool.
either way . what you did came out amazing , great clean professional job

Keep the good hard work
BUTCHER23012 years ago
By any chance do you have also a sofa from a car seat like the one in Top Gear?
Amazing job with the engine!
Mr_o_uk (author)  BUTCHER23012 years ago
No, but I did make a bucket seat swivel chair back in 1999. Was with an aftermarket cobra bucket seat though, so more like what these guys make...

Mr_o_uk (author) 2 years ago
For those looking for engines, try to het hold of a damaged or incomplete engine.

2 reasons: a) it will be cheaper b) some models may be rare and it will annoy people who need the parts for their car if you use a working engine for a table!!

You can try searching eBay with the following syntax

"V8 (engine, block) (damaged, broken, spares, repair, faulty, cracked, split, incomplete, non runner)"

Take out the quotation marks but leave the other symbols. The bracketed words separated by a comma basically means "or" so it will find items with any of those words. Add in any other words you can think of.

I watched eBay for quite a while until I got one local and cheap.
BUTCHER23012 years ago
Thanks a lot for feedback.You are already voted since I started reading.By the way you are the only one with this project on Instructables(I searched),so you will compete against yourself ;)
BUTCHER23012 years ago
I think this engine comes very close to yours:


Don't try to translate anything just look at the pictures(850lei=200Eur),is that much for an engine?I know that it depend from what car it comes.
Mr_o_uk (author)  BUTCHER23012 years ago
So that is a v8 engine, similar to the type I used, but I would look for one cheaper than that.

Try to look for one that is not complete, or one that is damaged. If it can't be used as an engine then no one will want it and hence will be much cheaper.
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