SoundRacer V8 turns your boring family car into a fire-breather

Call me childish, but I reckon this is one of the best gadgets I've seen in years. The SoundRacer plugs into the cigarette lighter socket of your boring family car, then sends an FM signal to your car stereo that makes your car sound like a roaring V8, faithfully matching revs and basically making the meekest of cars feel like a monster truck. So you can enjoy a ribald hoon factor from the driver's seat without looking or sounding like a petrolhead to passers-by or the local constabulary. We had a blast making the demo video:

SoundRacer V8: not everyone needs to know that you're a hooligan at heart.
There's nothing quite like the feeling of giving a highly tuned performance car a proper gumboot full. The screech of the tyres, the acceleration as it pushes you back into your seat - and the glorious, heart-stirring noise!

- video encodings still in process -

But tyres and noise pollution tickets are expensive - and the prevailing attitude to road safety these days is that anything fun is to be punished in the harshest way possible - so the majority of cars are becoming quieter, more economical and generally less exciting to drive than ever before.

Which makes the SoundRacer V8 such a great idea. It's an incredibly simple device to use - plug it into your car's cigarette lighter socket, select a radio station, and tune your car radio to that frequency. Instantly, the sound of a highly tuned V8 engine starts coming out of your stereo speakers, matched to the revs of your own car's engine in real time.

The effect is outstanding - the cardigan-wearing Kia Sportage we used in the video felt like a 20 foot high monster truck the second we turned up the stereo volume. And nobody outside the car has a clue why you're laughing your head off in the driver's seat.

It's entirely guilt-free fun - you're not harming the environment by running a straight-through exhaust, you're not wasting the amount of petrol you'd normally need to to get this kind of noise, and you're not waking up any old ladies. A warning though - it's almost impossible to stick to the speed limit when your car sounds this damn good. So beware!

When you're not in the mood to tear up the streets in a muscle car, the SoundRacer doubles as a resender for your MP3 player, so you can listen to your iPod through the car stereo if the stereo doesn't have a 3.5mm input jack. A nice touch.

The version we tested was the V8, but there's a V10 model as well that gives your car the sound of a Lamborghini. Yay!

You can get the SoundRacer throughout America, Europe, Asia and Australia. We paid around AUD50 - you can find a local dealer through the SoundRacer website.