Piston Slap: E30 + LS1 = WIN

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

Steve from Seattle writes:

As regularly mentioned on Piston Slap, the LS-X engines are the best in the world for their compact size, low weight, simplicity, reliability, cost and ability to make more power with simple bolt-ons. So I wanted to share my project to TTAC’s readers: we put a ’99 LS-1 and T56 into our BMW E30. Everything works, A/C, cruise control, etc. Seriously.

It’s a sleeper, except for the “357i” numbers on the trunk (nice of BMW to make a “735” that we could cut apart) and our “E30-LS1” license plate!! Only those ‘in the know’ get it.

We published a “How-To” CD, which documents how to build the E30-LS1. It contains pictures from the build, Catia drawings, wiring, fuel system, driveshaft mods, engine mounts, radiator system, A/C, HydroBoost, etc. I also have more pictures here.

Thanks and I hope everyone likes it.

Sajeev replies:

How can I not promote the hard work you did on this BMW? And you took the time to document and self-publish everything? Perfect.

I hope you motivate the Best and Brightest to tackle their own automotive projects. Which embodies the spirit of Piston Slap: the E30-LS1 is automotive lunacy and perfection in one package, likely to tick off every BMW fanboi. And shame them into silence with a command performance. Regarding your how-to CD: maybe TTAC needs another project car…maybe not. But a closer look with a Product Review is certainly in order.

Bonus! A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:

The E30 is a fantastic platform from stem to stern. But don’t take my word for it, look at it’s racing success in the 24 Hours Of LeMons. But the engines are more than a little outdated for any other event. And what better upgrade than a lightweight LS-X motor for AMG-levels of grunt with proper BMW poise in the corners? Epic Win.

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

More by Sajeev Mehta

Join the conversation
2 of 62 comments
  • E30-LS1 E30-LS1 on Dec 08, 2009

    Well, I guess there is only one thing to do with a 911: http://www.renegadehybrids.com/911/Pictures/LS-1Pic01.jpg

  • Porschespeed Porschespeed on Dec 08, 2009

    If you're gonna do a 911, use a Toro/Eldo trans and get the engine in the back seat. People have been doing that since the mid-70s. If you want performance, I think Ron Simpson's probably still around. They do V8s into 914s. Of course, one could just get a used TT flat 6 and keep it as a VW-Porsche... @educatordan, I was just saying that the Jag engine is solid. I understand the desire, you make the call.

  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.