By on July 13, 2015

QOTD-EngineSwapBlasphemy-610px

I’m a big fan of goofy engine swaps, but I must admit that I get tired of seeing small-block Chevy engines in everything. Still, engine swapping is an American tradition that goes way back, and the rise of online discourse has led to a huge increase in the level of heretic-seeking, brand-loyal, anti-engine-swap sentiment in the last decade or so. Why, our very own Crabspirits may have to go into a witness-protection program after stuffing a Nissan VG30 V6 into his Toyota Cressida, and I’ve received some disapproval for putting a GM engine in a 1941 Plymouth (not a huge amount, because prewar Plymouth fanatics tend to be 115 years old and not so online-savvy). AMC guys wig out when they see an LS in a Javelin, BMW fanatics get all red-faced when they see an E30 with a Detroit V8, and so on with just about any cross-marque swap you can name.

How do you feel?
LeMons_Engine_Swaps-Duratec_Geo-02

Are all such swaps evil and wrong? Some of them? Which ones? So far, fanciers of British cars are the car freaks I’ve found whose members nearly always approve of weird engine swaps, partly because of the tradition of hacking the hell out of British machinery and partly because so many British engines were 50 years obsolete when new.

Whaddya think?

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96 Comments on “QOTD: Are Cross-Marque Engine Swaps Blasphemous?...”


  • avatar

    Ask koenigsegg, pagani and hennessey.

    Bugatti Veyron Super Sport’s engine actually says “bugatti” on it.

  • avatar

    Are you saying a 6.2-L HELLCAT in a Sonata wouldn’t be a good idea?

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Swap the 2.5 liter and 2.0T liter motor in every Cadillac ATS, CTS, upcoming (Mercedes S Class De-Throner, lol) CT6 (yes, it will have a base 4 banger) into Kias, and put a V8 or V10 into every single Cadillac made, along with a back seat large enough for two or three adults to relax comfortably and stretch out, along with a gauge cluster transplant from a Volkswagen Golf, Hyundai Sonata or Kia Rio.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s what we have Escalades for. Big V8, lots of space, imposing bodywork.

        Hell, I could just drop a supercharged LS9 into a 1995 Fleetwood Brougham and call it a day.

        • 0 avatar

          “That’s what we have Escalades for. Big V8, lots of space, imposing bodywork.”

          You mispelled “Dodge Charger”

          • 0 avatar
            Mr. K

            As of late I have grown great respect for the LX but I think the Slade has it beat for interior plush and lux. As it should for what, 30K more.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          Except the 5k-lb empty weight means it needs to have a badass V8 just to be able to get out of its own way….

          Put that V8 in something light, and you can stop wondering what all of that power is going. :-)

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            My Volvo’s 4,400lbs on the curb and goes just fine with a straight 6 and blower.

            I don’t think you need a badass V8 to get out of your own way at 5kilopounds.

            (Heck, the not-badass 5.4 in my SuperDuty keeps it mostly out of its own way at 7,400*)

            (* Canopy, rack, etc. It adds up.)

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      No, you are supposed to cram it in transversely behind the seats of a SmartFor2.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    At first I thought you were talking about something like Ford putting a Mazda engine in a car.

    Once I realized you meant DIY, I say heck no.

    Easiest example I can come up with is that there really should be no limits on what you can put in an FD RX7. I currently lust after them and would love to restore one to factory specs. But there’s also a part of me that would get tired of replacing the engine as a wear item. I think a 2JZ would be an interesting choice of alternatives to power it.

    I had fantasized about putting something interesting in my Impala. My first choice being a vintage Cadillac motor. I never considered anything from Ford or Chrysler but I wouldn’t turn my nose up to Japanese luxury car engine for it just to confound people.
    But when the time came to pull the trigger and because of my budget, in went a 350. I don’t raise my hood at car shows and when people ask, I almost apologize in response.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      A comment…

      The 2Jz, while an awesome engine and a great thing to make huge power with is a cast iron boat anchor. Plus it’s long and tall. The LS is an infinitely superior solution considering its compact lightweight nature and especially given you’re usually trying to retain the original balance the FD has due to its rotary.

      • 0 avatar
        Land Ark

        Yeah, I went looking after I posted that and thinking about it more. The 2JZ is tall and it looks like serious work to make it fit. I see a lot of hood modifications unless you go crazy installing it really low and back.
        A quick glance through some forums and people were saying it was costing them upwards of $30k a few years ago to do it.

        And that’s why everyone does LS swaps.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    I’d love a Honda 2.4L in a base Challenger. Anyone make an adapter for that? Like remember when you could put a Vivitar or Tamron lens on anybody’s camera body?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    True DYI? Run what you brung…

    LS-X into everything, that does get annoying – especially when you know that the owner has a fat checkbook and just threw cubic dollars at the project.

    Case in point, latest issue of Hot Rod Magazine has a guy who resurrected a 1950s Buick convertible and had to have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars (no exaggeration) but put an LS under the hood with fancy fake Buick air cleaner housing. WTF? You couldn’t build a real Buick engine with that ridiculous wad of cash you were sitting on?

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Well said, Dan. Couldn’t agree more. “Hot Rod” magazine drove me so crazy back in the day, I had to let my many-years-long subscription run out.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Dan, I would respectfully submit the owner in question did the opposite…building a custom fuel injected Buick V8 would be very costly.

      GMpeformanceparts.com you get a LS3 plug in play for 13k. Includes motor stem to stern, computer and what not all in the box. If installed by a certified installer you get a 3 yr warranty on the engine. How do you say ‘no’ to verified 430 HP out of the box with a warranty in a custom application. I am considering the same for my old car, the reliability is awesome and I would love to have my cruiser move to more of a daily driver application.

      GM has never been afraid to screw the pooch in various forms. They have however figured out that the enthusiast market will buy ready made parts off the shelf. If anything they are putting the small time engine builders out of business.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        If only there was a truly reliable reduction drive, the LS series engine would take over the experimental aviation world. It’s so damned seductive to get 200+ horsepower out of a package similar in weight and size to an O-320 (the LS-7 comes to mind here), with overhauls consisting of simply ordering an entirely new engine from GM Performance at a considerable cost savings compared to overhauling the Lycoming. Plus, you get the option of running non-leaded fuel at, at least, $1 less per gallon.

        • 0 avatar
          Athos Nobile

          @bunkie

          LS engines are already being used in airplanes. Google it ;)

          • 0 avatar
            wumpus

            Last time I looked, the LSx line wasn’t all that good for aircraft. Good on paper, but a bit iffy when trying to put down that 200+hp for hours on end (google how LSx engines/cars do in Lemmons, that might have something to do with it). Rotary engines are more likely acclaimed as the savior (for most of the reasons they don’t work in cars), but need lots of custom plumbing.

            On the other hand (if the below research works at all), forget the reduction gear and go straight into an alternator. And have batteries in case of engine issues.

            http://www.nasa.gov/centers/armstrong/Features/leaptech.html
            [no idea how this screws up pilot licensing].

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        @Morgan, but if you spend $200,000 or $300,000 building a car and farming it out to a shop – why just drop another belly button engine in the car? That is what bugs me. Its kind of like “Wow man, this car is really cool but I could give two sh*&s about the engine.”

        Even Cadzilla used a big block Caddy engine from a much later car, at least that keeps it in the family. I can understand why you might not want to invest big dollars in a Fireball Straight 8 for your early 50s Buick but build a Buick 455 then. Plus 90% of these cars are cruisers, nobody cares if it makes 300 hp, 500 hp, or 1000 hp.

        Another issue had a 60s GTO that had been lovingly restored and subtly modified but then had an LS-X with custom made valve covers that said “Pontiac” on them… REALLY?!?!?!?!? That was the best you could do?

        I subscribe to Mustang Monthly. Latest issue a gentleman took a Mustang II and dropped a heavily modified Ford Modular truck V10 in the car. THAT was freaking cool. If he had put a new LSX or Hemi in it, that would have been stupid and uncool.

        (Sorry, rant over now.)

        • 0 avatar
          87 Morgan

          Dan, we are in the same page…

          If you are going to spend the dollars you are referencing 200k+ than yes, don’t get cheap on the drivetrain.

          For mere mortals like me who maybe get 40k to play with in an old car resto you have to, air quotes, cut every corner you can and that ussually is the motor and transmission. An endless supply of usable gm V8’s, computers, transmission, brake calipers, rear ends etc. exist in wrecking yards all over this country. You can build a nice driver quality resto fairly affordable if you don’t mind some recycled parts.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            forgive… I watch and read far too many automotive publications and see far too much stuff that just doesn’t make sense.

            Actually one of my biggest “jaw droppers” had to be when Count’s Kustoms was building a 1950s F100 for someone who was going to use it to pull a camper around the country and they dropped a SBC in it. Aye…

            My personal 67 Mustang has a 2 barrel 289 in it. I have already added an MSD ignition, I plan on a new intake and ATOMIC EFI system. Not everything has to be a Shelby clone…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Many years back I was involved with a women whose stepfather was a GM Master Mechanic at the BPG in Girard. He dropped an SBC in his Model T much to my surprise when he showed me.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          I with PrincipalDan on this one. One should stay true to the brand. Case in point: In my town a cool little Model A runs around. White walls and baby moons. Under the hood? A flat Head Ford V-8.
          The car is cool because it is what a 50’s era rodder would build.
          A SBC under the hood would have been easier but that would kill the soul of the car.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            That was my thought with the Model T (or it might of been a Model A, I can’t remember and it was almost 11 years ago). Even if this guy did’t want to go a period accurate route, I thought a 5.0 EFI Windsor was too unobtainable? If he wanted to go the GM route, he being a GM guy, then why a Ford and not a Chevrolet? I don’t get people like that.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            ^^ @28. I agree 100%. Plenty of Ford V-8s to choose from, or, plenty of GM RWD cars to choose from. Nonreason to cross-polinate. A Chevy of Ford Model A vintage is cheaper to come by from what Ive seen.

            I lusted for months after a 1927 Chevy Capitol for like $1500 +/-. I was thinking of putting an ’90s I-4 Chevy S-10 drive train in it (original running gear was gone). That way itd still be a Chevy with a Chevy I-4 hooked up to a manual tramsmission driving the rear wheels. Itd be like what a 1990s Chevy Capitol wouldve been, while keeping the 1927 bodystyle. I was even going to use the S-10’s stock steelies with bowtie insignia on the center caps. Daily driver 1927 that starts on the first try and can be driven by anyone who can drive a modern stick shift. Take it to Walmart with no fear of losing it in a lot filled with Camrys and other blandmobiles.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      The LS in everything is getting a bit overdone, but it has truly become the best engine to swap in. They are light, and take up little space. Many times, replacing an iron 4-cylinder with an aluminum LS will actually lower the weight of the car and improve the center of gravity.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Which way would it be – the engine wasted on the rest of the car? Think BMC’s Vanden Plas 4 Litre R with Rolls military banger. Or the car wasted on the engine, usually a Citroen issue.

  • avatar
    Aquineas

    I think it’s awesome. The LS V8s in the 911 has always intrigued me. If the folks at renegadehybrids are to believed, the LS weighs less than a dressed 3.0 NA 911 engine. I’d love to drive one of these.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      This intrigues me as well. First, you have the practical issues, being that the LS is reportedly cheaper, lighter, more powerful, and more robust than the 996, and then you have the fact that due to failed IMS bearings, there are nice, cheap cars out there needing new engines.

      Then you have the fact that it would really piss off some of the Porsche snobs.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    The shockwave jet truck is definitely blasphemous…

  • avatar
    duffman13

    I’m ok with it. I stand by a statement I made many years ago that there is not much out there that isn’t made better by putting an LS under the hood. Likewise, for the FWD powered variety of things (or transverse MR like Lotus Elise/Exige) you can’t do much better than a Honda K20/24 variant.

    Both are popular enough that there are near off-the-shelf solutions for easy installation and offer a near unlimited aftermarket and dead nuts reliability. Plus in the case of an LS, given the all aluminum, OHV construction you generally end up with a lighter, more compact motor with more power especially considering what you’re usually replacing.

    And if you really need a FoMoCo solution, the 5.0HO while old is cheap as hell and readily available as well, even if it doesn’t have the aluminum lightness thing going for it.

    The only way I have a problem is in something that is a classic or collectible-type car. E30 325LS? I’m all for it. E30 LSM3? Not so much.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    For the record, there is simply nothing better than a small block Chevy V8.

    Having said that, I’m certainly against putting one in non-Chevy cars, and for that matter, unless the car is used for racing, dropping a V8 into what is supposed to have a 4- or 6-cylinder engine per original equipment is a terrible thing to do, especially if the particular car is considered a “classic”.

    Nothing worse in my book than to take an original 6 cylinder Powerglide or Iron Duke Camaro and stuff a V8 into it. Same with an old 6 cylinder Mustang.

    So, no, I don’t accept cross-swapping engines into various other makes at all, regardless of the results. I’m all for keeping it original.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      If you are restoring a flathead inline 6 Plymouth/Chrysler/Dodge/Desoto by all means drop a modified Slant 6 in it. Then you get cool points from me.

      Same thing, if your Stovebolt Chevy is shot, drop an Atlas I6 in there, that’s cool.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Well, regarding prewar Plymouths, Joe Sherlock has a 1939 Plymouth business coupe, and he has a Chevy 350 in it. The original engine was likely a flathead six. I have yet to read anything on his site about him getting complaints from purists. If the chassis can handle it, why not?

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Why not is if it can handle a GM 350 V-8, then why not use a Chrysler V-8 like a 318, 360, or hell, even a Hemi (old or new)? Keep it all MOPAR instead of just another non-GM car with a GM V-8.

        If it were a Hillman Husky wagon and no OEM V-8 was obtainable, thats different, but there are PLENTY of high performance Chrysler (Dodge, etc) engines to go in that Plymouth.

  • avatar
    JREwing

    For the vintage stuff, I too would love to see an original style motor instead of an LS motor in everything. With the growing aftermarket for electronic fuel injection and distributorless ignition, it’s become easier to make the older engines perform like modern engines.

    It’s hard to beat the power, weight, and simplicity of an LS engine swap, so I won’t begrudge anyone using it. But the ones that are really special are going to be those building up period engines to run like modern engines.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    My two upcoming projects are stuffing the entire drivetrain from an R33 Skyline GT-R into a 1987 Pontiac Trans Am and putting a fuel-injected 440 Chrysler into a 1984 Buick Le Sabre, so my answer would have to be a resounding no.

  • avatar
    manbridge

    Almost all are hack jobs.

    People forget the compromises that must be made. Ex: Having to have a stack of extra transmissions available due to double the torque output in the Renegade 911.

    I’d say 95% of swaps are just dumb.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      I agree. I hate seeing nice cars hacked up for yet another oh-so-original LS swap. I’d much rather see an FD RX7 back to the original stock (problems and all) because you get to enjoy the history of it is and was in automotive history rather than some chode that wanted to be different and couldn’t be seen in a C5 Corvette.

      The swaps I generally like are something like the 1998-2001 Impreza 2.5RS getting a WRX or STI swap. We got everything but the engine in the US model Imprezas before 2002. Even then, though, I’d much rather see a nice swap from a 2.0L JDM engine of appropriate vintage rather than pulling a newer 2.5L turbo motor (basically building a clone). Basically putting the puzzle pieces together to make a version you couldn’t get in your home region. Even then, though, those older Imprezas are pushing gray market age, so I’d rather just import one rather than try to build it. Then again, I’m not really into crazy mods anyway. I like the OEM feel.

      Lemons is also fair game. Most of those cars are too wrecked in the first place to have much nostalgia.

    • 0 avatar
      andrewallen

      Well I had a Maserati 3500GTI Sebring with a Volvo 164 motor in it, what I got was a Volvo that went round corners and a Maserati you could confidently drive from Cape Town to Lusaka.
      95% of swaps dumb? I dunno so much!

  • avatar
    ccbc

    Most blasphemious swap is removing the turbo flat-4 in a WRX to use a Cosworth engine. Sad everytine I saw that.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Heck no, everything is fair game for an LS swap.

    I enjoy goofy engine swaps as much as the next guy, but there’s something to be said about cheap and easy power to keep some terrible old relic on the road. If someone wants to SBC or LS swap their grey market GAZ Volga in order to be able to reasonbly drive it frequently without having to source Soviet parts, more power to them.

    As far as the cross branding thing goes, some manufacturers are just bad at engines. We as enthusiasts have every right to correct that with our choice of mill. Heck, we sometimes even make them worse on purpose. But that’s usually in order to win an award in a race series for terrible cars.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    One of my dream builds is a Z3 sneaker with an ITB equipped 3.8L VQ engine

    So no, no way is a cross marque swap bad. They are just cars and parts

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Sorry, top German cars beg for it. Right look/dynamics. Wrong engine.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      My 300D would have been an awesomer car with a quiet, reliable, fuel-efficient, more-powerful [beat 77hp? Not hard!] engine than the stock OM617.

      Which was reliable in its core, but not so reliable on the periphery.

      I idly thought about dropping in any of the Volkswagen TDIs.

      (Sure, they need maintenance, but at least the vacuum pump wasn’t gonna fall off, and they weren’t gonna leak oil everywhere, and I’d be able to hear myself think over them idling. And gain 50 horsepower and probably 5-8 mpg over the stock 20.)

  • avatar
    skor

    Many times original engines are impossible to rebuild or maintain. Sometimes the originals are just too unreliable even when they are restored to like new condition. Unless the car is in a museum, it really doesn’t concern me. Hobbies are about creativity and having fun. If I had the cash, I’d build a US Ford Falcon using a modern Ford Oz made I6.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      ^^^^THAT has always been a dream of mind. I thought about taking junker early US Falcon and used a hopped up, injected Aussie I-6. Maybe one 10-15 years old, dont need something out of a 2014.

      For the exterior of the Falcon, I wanted to put a Argentina front clip with somewhat modern headlamps, a grille with a Ford oval, etc. I dont care much for the 1980s Cortina tail lamps they used, but the simple ones from an 84-85 Tempo would look fine IMO (this was before the Tempo got full width tail lamps in 86).

      I would also love an Injected Aussie I-6 in my (next) Mercury Zephyr project. I recently found a 78 Z-7 in Oregon that would be sweet. Its blue with a white top, white bucket seats/trim, and like 60k miles. Being from Oregon, it shouldnt have rust.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I dropped a small block Mopar engine in my Cobra replica so I guess that answers how I feel about it.

  • avatar
    agent534

    Some of the fun of staying within car brands for engine swaps is the “this is the way Ford/Chevy/BrandX” could have/should have built the car, when staying within period for a given make/model, and I respect that.
    When mixing generations, there is the “wow, imagine if the new coyote came in your classic Mustang” fun factor, also respected.

    But when you reach the point where you are eliminating shock towers or putting in bigger tranny tunnels, major work, well then, might as well power it with whatever way you want.

    Of course the Jaguar or Rx7 type swaps also work, because Jaguar and rotary.

    To each their own, and I won’t get mad about a cross-brand swap, I just might not take much interest in the car.

    Heck, I want to do a V8 swap to a 240/260z because of Daytona Cobra, which makes no sense at all, so have at it.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      I’ve always been a fan of the resto-mod. A bucket list item of mine is to build a classic mustang but swap in an EFI 5.0 and T5 from an 80s Mustang, swap the suspension and brakes for coils and discs, and throw on some 16-17″ wheels in this style with modern summer tires (http://www.mustangsplus.com/xcart/Ford-Mustang-American-Racing-17×8-Torq-Thrust-M-Wheel.html). I’d do the same thing with a GM car too if I found a Camaro/Firebird instead, but I’d use an LT1 to keep things in the family.

    • 0 avatar
      Johnny Bouncewell

      “Of course the Jaguar or Rx7 type swaps also work, because Jaguar and rotary.”

      You missed your chance. I owned this for a brief period of time before sanity returned.

      http://bringatrailer.com/2013/02/25/1947-jaguar-1-5-litre-saloon-project/

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I am all for the cross make engine swap.

    Why not take the best of every thing? Great examples….

    VW vanagon westtfalia air or water cooled swapped for a Subaru boxer engine. Make a fun nostalgic piece of automotive engineering and make it powerful enough to use in the mountains without over heating and the ability to get over the mountain.

    Morgan Plus 8 LS swap. The small block rover 3.5 liter is junk. Period. Add the LS and ditch that ridiculous Lucas wiring along with a Tremec transmission and you now have a very unique sports car that has some power behind it, finally, along with, again, reliability. Morgan wised up when they went with BMW v8’s, that said I think the folks in Malvern would do themselves a favor if they had a talk with the GM performance parts sales department.

    Mazda RX7 swapped with a Gm 3.8. Fits perfect, works well in a rear drive application, gobs of parts available and can take far more abuse than a rotary mill.

    There are a lot of older cars out there that are way cool to look at and drive, but nothing short of a migraine to keep road worthy with the factory drive trains. Why not keep these classics on the road with enhanced usability? I would much rather see a used regularly RX7 with a GM engine swap than a full factory correct Toybaru coupe.

  • avatar
    sprkplg

    Both of those sound awesome.

    I know this is subjective, but whether or not to swap, and what to swap, should be decided based on the character of the car. A perfectly functional stock RX7 should be enjoyed for what it is, but once the rotary croaks you may as well swap in an LS. If you must have an LS-powered RX7 ASAP, finding one with an already-bad rotary shouldn’t be hard. And things like prewar Packards should be left alone.

    • 0 avatar
      sprkplg

      When I said “both of those sound awesome” I was referring to OneAlpha’s projects mentioned above, but messed up the reply.

      “My two upcoming projects are stuffing the entire drivetrain from an R33 Skyline GT-R into a 1987 Pontiac Trans Am and putting a fuel-injected 440 Chrysler into a 1984 Buick Le Sabre, so my answer would have to be a resounding no.”

  • avatar
    Jimal

    It all depends on what you’re looking to do and if there is a viable swap option from the manufacturer of the car you are working on. The strangest current iteration of this argument is Tanner Foust’s Formula Drift 2015 Volkswagen Passat, which is powered by a Chevrolet LS7.

  • avatar
    Mr Imperial

    If you’re REALLY looking to go out there on an engine swap, go big, and give it a really good name…

    Take a Cummins Diesel, shoehorn it into a Mustang…..call it:

    The Cumstang!

    http://speedsociety.com/throwback-twin-turbo-cummins-powered-mustang/

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Mr Imperial – I saw a show where they put a Duramax/Allison combo in a late 60’s Impala that was street legal.

      Your showing a dragster Cummins. If a guy is chopping up a car especially one that has little “classic” value then go right ahead.

  • avatar
    Synchromesh

    It’s not so much the engine swapping per se but more of hacking up a rare survivor that annoys me the most. Generally I’m a fan of the original.

    However, there are a few cars that I have no problem with getting swapped. Sometimes a manufacturer just doesn’t use the right components from the get go so imho, it’s a good thing to swap is something more reliable and useful to ensure the car continues ticking instead of heading for the Crusher.

  • avatar
    210delray

    About those prewar Plymouths, there’s a certain blogger (remember blogging?) who takes a “view through the windshield” of his 1939 Plymouth business coupe. Granted he purchased it this way, but it has the oh-so-original Chevy 350 V8, THM350, and dual glasspacks. Boring!

    I can understand why the original flathead 6 and 3-on-the-tree were ditched, but why not update the car with a 225 Slant Six Hyper-Pak and 727 Torqueflite?

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Because the owner isn’t dead yet and still wants a thrill while viewing through the windshield? His other car is a Lexus 460, so he has to find fun somewhere.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    There’s a businessman in my town that has a mid-80’s Jaguar XJS for sale. It was a V12 he purchased new and very carefully garaged and maintained – always using real Jaguar parts and taking once yearly to a Jaguar specialist for maintenance – and the V12 still blew. He then had a master mechanic take out the drive train and both the front and rear brakes/axels and installed a 350 Chevy and all the Corvette parts that went with it. Drove it daily for a few more years, and it’s now for sale. Absolutely stunning car. Gorgeous red paint, and the interior is showroom perfect and smells like England. He told me “anyone can work on it now,” and I believe him, but last time I inquired he was asking more than I could afford.

  • avatar

    If you’re going to do it wrong, do it really wrong. I want to put a Blue Flame Six in a late model Corvette.

    Yes, using a LS is boring and a cliche. I can’t believe that a nice Windsor or Cleveland Ford V8 is going to be that much more expensive for your ’32. The Ring Brothers were wrong to put a Chevy motor in that Pantera they did.

    If I was a hot rod builder, I’d go with Buick Nailheads and Pontiac engines because they give the underhood area a different look, particularly the Buick motors.

    One of my favorite ’32 Fords at this year’s Autorama had a flathead V12 Lincoln engine in it, a proverbial hot rod Lincoln.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      The nicest swap I ever saw was done by a machinist/drag racer by the name of Walt Carlton, who used to run in the monthly Venice FL NHRA drag races back in the sixties…I used to cover the races for the local paper while in HS, and his car was an all time special.

      1940 Ford, painted in one of the classic Ford blue colors. The engine was a 3.8L Jaguar engine from a Mk II Jag. The mounting hardware was all fabricated by him. Ran in B/Gas class. Class was determined by curb weight divided by advertised HP…the key word being advertised.

      The Jag engine, as I recall, was advertised at 190 HP, but Jaguar had deliberately under-rated, apparently because it didn’t want to get in an advertised HP contest.

      The car was so beautifully done inside and out that it won numerous awards at car shows. It was driven to and from the track. And because of the under-rating of the HP on the Jag engine, it cleaned everybody else’s clock going through the traps.

      It has been too long for me to remember actual times and speeds, but I want to think he was turning times in the thirteens. Someone else will probably be able to show me that I am way over or under.

      But it was a thing of beauty, both from a show perspective, and from and engineering design and execution point of view.

      For years when I was young, I wanted that car to be my hotrod.

      Words cannot begin to do it justice…

  • avatar
    zbnutcase

    As somebody who has done several engine swaps over the years, I prefer to stay within the marque. Things tend to be more compatible. I have a 302 in my 1983 Ranger 4X4 pickup. Not a difficult swap. That being said, when it comes to foreign cars, knock yourself out. I came very, very close to swapping a 4.3 Chevrolet V6 and 700R4 into my 245 Volvo wagon. Still think that would be a killer swap.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I’m a big fan of people who hot rod unusual engines, so I’m very much against the lazy “dump a SBC in and call it a day”.

    Also, I found a 1941 Plymouth just like Murilee’s in the classifieds that’s just begging for a stroked 440.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      ^^^^^^This. Any 8th grade drop out nimrod can put a SBC into anything. Its not special, its not unique, and it ceartainly isnt praise worthy.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N – Ironic reading your comment. Made my day. Growing up I used to hear all of my Mopar and Ford buddies saying something similar, ” Any f”’in’ moron can make a small block Chevy go fast.”

        I always thought that if you were a Chevy guy you’d stay true to the brand and wrap that motor in something with a bowtie on it.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      NoGoYo – so I’m very much against the lazy “dump a SBC in and call it a day”.

      That is often the vibe I get.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        There really isn’t any excuse for a 350 Model A or Deuce coupe…Ford Windsor engines are extremely plentiful. I can get a 351 with less than 50k miles on it right now, I’d just need something to put it in.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          @NoGoYo,

          I agree 100%. I see classic Ford trucks all built up and the first thing I look at is if the distributor is crammed up against the firewall. If it is, I think to myself “what a waste” and move on. There is no excuse for not using a Ford V-8 in a Ford. If its from a truck/car 20 years newer, thats fine, but it needs to be Ford-sourced.

  • avatar
    greaseyknight

    Personally it depends on the purpose of the vehicle. If you just want cheap horsepower, and the entire package is on the cheap end, a LS or SBC is ok with me. If looks or coolness have a part of the package, the “correct” motor goes a long ways to achieving that.

  • avatar
    ktm

    I get this crap all the time when I go to JDM classic car shows. I have a 1972 240z with a, as Ronnie Schreiber who has most likely never done an engine swap would say, “boring and a cliche” LS swap. Here are some reasons why many people do LS swaps:

    Cost – LS swaps are relatively inexpensive, save for the cost of the engine. Even the original LS engines in 1998 are still “expensive” because of the laws of supply and demand. Yes, you can buy other engines cheaper, but that is because no one wants them. Then comes the cost of the swap. Many places have bolt in kits ready made for LS swaps. Other specialize in pre-made harnesses. Tuners have off the shelf tunes, and if not that, you can easily find an LS tuner in your area.

    Parts availability – LS goodies are cheap exactly because the LS engines are plentiful and there is a huge aftermarket following. All other engines? Not so much. While 2JZ’s can put down ridiculous power, the parts to do so are not nearly as inexpensive as LS parts.

    Package – The LS is a nice, tidy package that can be crammed into many an engine bay, which is one of the driving reasons why people do the swaps. Any modern OHC V8 occupies a larger footprint and would require quite a bit of massaging for it to fit….and even then may require a cowl hood due to clearance issues.

    Cost-benefit – Sure, you can be that peculiar individual who wants to be unique and spend MORE money doing an esoteric swap, but you’ll spend more money, and in some cased MUCH more, for similar if not less power than an LS. Also, when it comes time to sell the car, good luck finding a buyer.
    Knowledge Base – Given the popularity of LS swaps, the amount of information on the Internet is astounding regarding the swap. It because much more of a DIY effort given all the resources that are available.

    I find that critics of cross-marquee engine swaps typically do not have the wherewithal to do a swap to begin with. It’s easy to criticize someone else’s decision when you have no skin ($$$$$) in the game.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      KTM….exactly. Some of the ideas here to build Buick or Pontiac engines and swap in instead of an LS. Have fun paying someone to write the code for the EFI, fabricate the motor mounts, the wiring. I get a headache thinking about it. I’ll take the LS off the shelf and move on with my day, and keep an extra 30k in my pocket.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        So, why bother if youre going to do it half assed? What is the point of spending $$$$$$$$$$$ on car/body/interior/paint and then say “oh I went with a SBC because its cheap.” Did you go to Maco because it was cheap? Did your wife sew old couch cushion covers to the seats because it was cheap? Did you buy rusty steel wheels, mismatched, from the junkyard and have the cheapest Chinese tires put on them because it was cheap?

        • 0 avatar
          ktm

          John, who said half-assed? So an LS swap is half-assed? Great, you’ve just pegged yourself as a closed-mind, arrogant, prig. Have you seen my car? Do you know what else I’ve, or anyone else whose done the swap, done to the car? I think not.

          A decent LS swap is still expensive. Let me break it out for you:

          LSx (depending on year and mileage) and transmission: $3,500 to $6,000
          Engine and transmission mount/kit: $700
          Custom harness: $500
          Headers: $500
          LSx and transmission rebuild (unless you bought a crate setup): $3,000
          HP Tuners: $500
          Fuel system upgrade: $500+
          Electrical system upgrade (most classic cars do not have the electrical provisions for EFI- electric fuel pumps, electric fans, EFI circuit): $700
          Drivetrain upgrade (converted my half-shafts to CV’s to handle the power): $1,000

          This is just off the top of my head. I am not counting everything else (radiator, brake, suspension, etc. – otherwise add another $3,000+) Does $10,200 just in PARTS (as I did all the work, though I had a shop do the engine and trans rebuild) sound “cheap” to you?

          Yes, there are some people who manage to do it “cheaper” and you can tell. Trying to be different just to be different is great, but to knock someone’s choice of swap simply because it’s been done before is rather childish.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            I did *NOT* say the car was “half assed”, only the engine choice (and I dont just mean the cost of the engine itself, I mean everything) powertrain wise. I was mostly refering to those who say “SBC cuz day cheep, easy, my budua cud do et”. Yet the same guy spends countless other money to make their non-GM car look and sound like countless other American muscle cars. That makes no sense to me. Your very first reason was “cost” anyway. “Easy” (paraphrasing) wasnt far below it. Two of your main reasons are exactly what caused my comment.

            Easy, gov’na, I wasnt belittling the amout of work *you* put into your build, the quality thereof, or the cost. Ill take your word for it, its not really at issue and please know tha I appologize if the words “half assed” kept ringing in your head as you thought about the time and work you put in.

            However, there are a variety of NissanDatsun/Infiniti engines you could have used. The issues were probably cost, knowledge, and parts avalibility. All of which you should have known were going to be an issue when you chose a Japanese car over a Camaro or Mustang.

            Id hoped that by pointing out the fact that you didnt “half ass” your work wouldve helped get my point across. If youre going to do a wild, loud and crazy fast build, you can do it with parts within the automotive family. It might not be easier, but at least it isnt half assed.

            Ill choose to ignore the name-calling imaturity you displayed and just let it speak for itself.

            A quick look across Nissan/Infiniti V-8s on wikipedia shows that some had 420 hp and 417 lbf·ft torque stock (5.6L). That should move a Z pretty briskley. Im sure more power can be had from an LSx, but my point is, why not put it in a GM RWD car (and there are plenty). Because what you have now betrays what it should be. An early shoebox Nova would be great with the engine your car has, just for example if you dont lik F bodies and cChevelles are too big/costly.

          • 0 avatar
            ktm

            John, you are right. I read *half-assed* and try as I might to read it another way it kept ringing in my mind that you were referring to *any* LSx swap as *half-assed*, not mine specifically.

            The issue with the Infiniti engines is the not the cost of the engine but *everything* else. There is no aftermarket support for the Infiniti V8s. Almost no one has done the swap and as such you are on your own.

            Tuning? Just with the stock ECU I’m afraid. Aftermarket cams? Nope, you are into custom grinds. Headers? Limited if *any*.

            Sure, if you have DEEP pockets or have the skills yourself to undertake such a swap great! However, there is more to an engine swap than being *unique*.

            There was a guy that would frequent Irvine Cars and Coffee with a Dodge van that was chopped and had a reverse mounted, blown V8 (don’t know if it was Mopar, Chevy or what) in the back with a marine transfer case to drive the rear wheels. Amazing engineering and definitely unique……but…..that was it.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            I realize the aftermarket for the Nissan V-8 is limited, and probably what is avalible is likely quite expensive.

            Im not saying your car is crap because its Japanese with an American heart. Its just not what I wouldve done. I would have first investigated what kind of power can be had from the 2.4L/2.8L Nissan I-6. If I wasnt satisfied, Id have gone with a Nissan/Infiniti V-8 or else moved on to another car.

            One of the cars in my fantasy collection is a Datsun 810 Coupe, with the earlier round headlight front end (the square headlamps look flat and boring IMO). I was thinking of putting in a 2.8L I-6 from a 280Z to replace the 2.4L, and go with a manual if it was a stock automatic.

            Another Nissan family car(s) Id love to modify would be an Infiniti M30 and J30. Id love to do a manual swap in either or both, and the thought of cramming a 300ZX Turbo into the M30 to make it a) a sleeper and/or b) a fun to drive, comfortable touring car. Id peobably do JDM badge/detail.swaps just to make it them much cooler.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      I had to log in just add my voice in agreement to your post.

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      KTM, much love for your 240z. I managed to outlive my 72 240z with a 351W. I liked the sound more than a SBC, it’s a preference though, not gospel. I got pretty adept at swapping starters (even though it involved dropping one header part way, then the starter part way, then the header the rest of the way… if they weren’t tight I wouldn’t have needed to replace it so many times).

      To me it’s like paint. If the owner likes it, it’s the right color/engine swap.

  • avatar
    pragmatic

    Best one I’ve seen deuce coupe with an Alfa Milano V6 in it. Very nicely done, front engine rear transaxle. Of course there is always the LS Fiero (or Northstar Fiero) and LS Corvair. Personally two I’d like to do if I won Lotto would be Touareg V10 diesel into a C4 Corvette and hopped up Ford Flathead into a 1965 Mustang (or into an early Corvette just to annoy the faithful).

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    I am a FIRM believer in keeping engine swaps within the same “family”. For example, I ran across an old Ford Unibody pickup with no drive train for like $900. I later found a wrecked (side swiped rather harshly) 2004 2wd Lincoln Navigator that ran perfect for like $1500.

    Putting the 5.4L Intec in the old 60s truck would make it a hot rod that could be driven regularly, really. It would start on the first try on a frosty January morning, no choke or carb adjustments required. Not to mention the typical performance add ons such as exhaust, computer tune (“chip”), etc. I think the unibody would be stupid fast, unique, and valuable if done right. Major components from the totalled Navi could be used in the “new” truck, so stuff like PATS and the modern ECU, etc would be in place (Ive even talked to a guy who said he can program PATS out if its a problem).

    There are already kits out there to convert old Ford trucks to Crown Vic front ends, so it should have a decent stopping power and handling/ride heighth. As for the rear, either the universally loved Ford 9 incher, a stock unit from a salvage late model F-150, or see how difficult it would be to use the Navi’s IRS (very is what Im thinking).

    For the interior, a modern (but not SRS equipped) steering wheel, posibly use the Navi’s column, seats, console and instrument cluster (fabricated into the stock F-100 dash).

    In short, I cant see myself using powertrains from other automakers in my projects. If its GM, use GM power. Plymouth in the example? Hemi, of course!! If its an RX-7, use a mufican rotory or go find yourself a damned F body sitting derlict in a trailer park to put your 350 into.

    I thought about building a Toyota 2wd pickup hot rod, but not with a GM 350 (because Chevy S-10s are NOT hard to come by), but with a 4.0L V-8 from some of the über cheap first gen LS400s I see. Yes, itd be an automatic, but at less than $2500 for both vehicles, itd be a cheap build and still haul ass instead of lumber.

  • avatar
    manbridge

    It should be noted that unless a guy is uber DIY it is hard finding someone to work on swaps unless it’s straight time plus materials. Think boat payment here.

  • avatar
    VolandoBajo

    Porsche aircooled pancake engine swapped into an early Beetle, with a couple of sway bars thrown onto the suspension was a popular swap I saw a few times around the U of Fla.

    And a Rat motor (LBC) dropped into an early vintage Wrangler would tear up just about anything in a straight line. Used to run around central VA in the eighties. Kind of hard to fool anyone into thinking it was stock, though, with all that metal sticking up in front of the windshield.

    I don’t think anyone who ran either of those setups gave a rat’s *ss whether or not anyone thought that they were “correct”. Nor would I have…

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    I’m ok with it.

    Actually, I’d love to swap a Coyote V8 into a C3 Corvette. And I like Corvettes. A Falcon Barra turbo would be awesome under the hood of an American Mustang. One of the FFs movies did a Skyline into Mustang swap.

    Some OEMs have even done it: GM put Honda engines in the VUE, Nissan engines in the Commodore. BMW put a Chrysler engine in their first MINI, which now graces Brazilian FIATs. Ford put Volvo engines in their Focus, Toyota has the Subaru F-4 in their 86… and that is before we go into the diesel engines, or heavy trucks, where things really get incestuous.

    If the OEMs do it, it’s fair game for everyone else. I rest my case.

    The only blasphemy I could see would be a halfa$$ed hack job.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      To be fair, Ford owned Volvo at the time, and that Focus lended its platform to the Volvo C30. Likewise, Toyota and Subaru developed the BRZ/GT86/FR-S together, so of course they share major components. Does it shock you to know the Mercury Villager had a Nissan 3.0L V-6? What about the Pontac Vibe and Chevy Prizm, did you expect “EcoTec” GM engines in those? Does the VW Routon have a VR-6? Lol

      If it left the factory with an engine from another manufacturer (especially if the models were jointly developed), that is one thing. But swapping a SBC into a classic Ford is quite a different thing. Im surprised this needs explaining.

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        I am a bit agnostic with this whole thing. If the Ford will go faster with the Chevy engine and is done properly, why not? Better yet, why not a Lexus V8 or a HEMI?

        The 5 cylinder engine was developed by Volvo much before they were acquired by Ford. And well, the Chinese have slapped the Mitsubishi 4G64 into almost everything.

        My point is, if the OEMs do it, and I have provided enough proof they do, it is fair game for everyone else too.

        And that is before we delve into the sheer ingenuity required to achieve a cross brand swap.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          Youre not making sense at all now, just stop.

          Lexus V-8? The most common engine swaps are done because the engine being swapped in is easier to modify for a lot more than factory HP rating, and cheap to buy/build/repair. None of that applies to a Lexus V-8. I understand why people put LS engines in a Mustang, I just wish theyd go with an F-body instead because its a GM emgine.

          [I mentioned putting a Lexus V-8 in a Toyota pickup above for the novelty of it, CERTAINLY not because I thought Id get more out of it than with a SBC. SBC has many advantages if my goal was to heavily modify the engine for high output. As I said, if that was my goal, Id start with a Chevy S10 as there is huge aftermarket support for it (not to mention I think its much better looking) and use an LS engine.]

          Volvo designed the 5 cylinder? And that changes my point, how? When FORD OWNED VOLVO AT THE TIME, everything Volvo (automobiles) was Ford’s to do with as it pleased. It used their platforms to develop next-generation full size cars in North America, it used their engine in a limited number of compacts in Europe. In turn, Volvo got a small car platform, engines, cash to develop future models, etc. Not to mention I made a point of saying I had no problem with factory equipped non-oem engines.

          Your “OEMs do it” BS (by the way, love the part about how you “proved” they do it as I acknowledged as much many times in my responce, even refrencing an blatent example) became null and void when I said equipping the car with another automaker’s engine *at the factory* is very much different than doing it after it leaves the factory. If it leaves the factory with it, then it was intended for it. Automakers share things all the time, usually with mutual benifit, and there is nothing about it that I have a problem with.

          This especially applies to muscle cars/sports cars, as they tend to represent the performance of the automaker that built them (even if its engine isnt the 100% the same brand at the factory, as in the co-developed Yamaha engine in Taurus SHO), and taking out the car’s factory engine to replace it with something from its rival’s stable betrays that car. As has been said before, this is especially frowned upon when a modified engine from the original make’s arsenal could be used instead and/or a suitable car from the automaker donating the engine exists and is common enough to aquire

          Your point about inginuity being required in such swaps betrays your ignorance, for it takes just as much work to put any engine in a car not designed for it, and some of the popular swaps that have been mentioned here in this thread are almost always availble with kits that make the install go very smoothly.

          If youre putting a Coyote 5.0 in a 1970s Ford, lets say a 71 Torino GT as those were pretty cool, Id venture to say it would take a lot more effort than if you were to put a SBC engine in it, due to the aftermarket support of such swaps which means putting one in virtually *any* car is relatively simple affair. Out with the old, in with the new.

          BTW, comparing Chinese econo crap cars equipped with vastly superior (Im thinking) Mitsubishi engines to legendary American sports cars being discussed here is equally absurd.

          You need to quit while youre behind. You dont have a problem with cross-make swaps (even if you dont understand them)? Fine. But this pathetic “proving” it your attempting isnt helping.

  • avatar
    raph

    An LS into a Foxbody is Satan’s own hands at work. Plenty of 3rd gen F-bodys around for that and as an added bonus GM’s crappy interior materials will disintegrate when touched leaving the need for only a vacuum cleaner to take weight out of the car.

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