QOTD: In the Mood for a Swap?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd in the mood for a swap

Let’s face it — things get stale. Sliding into the same old heap every day, fiddling with the ignition, trying to get the motor running. Sometimes, just when you think you’ve got the spark… nothing happens. Then you’re left with your hood up, searching through your phone for the right contact.

Enterprise, perhaps, or maybe your local dealer.

That’s the reality for many old car owners. Sometimes, as is expected in our disposable society, a car’s time comes. We build obsolescence into our vehicles — parts dry up, metal gives way to rust, maintenance costs rise, and suddenly, keeping a classic (or “classic”) on the road just isn’t worth it anymore. But there’s always the option of bringing on a new partner to keep those combustion chamber fires burning.

With yourself as one of the points of the triangle, which automotive three-way do you have in mind?

I think of this as the 24 Hours of LeMons kicks off during Monterey Car Weeeeeaak. This tweet provided the inspiration. Yes, a 1954 Nash — the Statesman model, apparently — with a 2.3-liter Ford EcoBoost under the hood.

We’ve talked about the potential heresy of engine swaps before, but today we spin the practice in a more positive light. Diluting a car’s purity with an engine from another brand (or another era) doesn’t mean the car ceases to exist. Maybe it’s hard sourcing a pristine Dual Powerflyte Six these days; who knows?

If it keeps a classic body on the road for just a little while longer, can we really complain? How many 1970s MGBs now contain a 60-degree GM V6? A former co-worker once dropped the powertrain from a 1993 Mustang GT into his 1982 Thunderbird Town Landau and loved every minute of it. (The car, as well as its resale value, no doubt thanked him, too.)

So, using this ’54 Nash as a starting point, let’s list our top engine swap visions. Practical or outlandish; it doesn’t matter. We can talk about 350/Hydramatic applications for days, but I’ve always thought an old British Ford with a 1.0-liter EcoBoost would be fun. A gutless Prefect or Zodiac Mk. II, perhaps, though an American Fairmont with a three-pot seems like an amusing possibility. Certainly a better choice than the original base Fairmont motor.

What say you, B&B?

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2 of 83 comments
  • Erikstrawn Erikstrawn on Aug 24, 2018

    I have an '87 Jaguar XJ6 that I put a 500cid Cadillac motor into for 24 Hours of Lemons purposes. The car has never failed to fail me. Sounds awesome, but can't stay on track. My second project is putting a half-bridgeported Mazda 12A rotary into a '58 Sunbeam Alpine.

  • WildcatMatt WildcatMatt on Sep 12, 2018

    Ever since I was a little kid, I've wondered what the largest engine was that could be stuffed into a Beetle...

  • Master Baiter It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future. It will be interesting to see if demand for Ford’s EVs will match the production capacity they are putting on line.
  • Brett Woods 2023 Corvette base model.
  • Paul Taka Hi, where can I find 1982 Honda prelude junkyards in 50 states
  • Poltergeist Make sure you order the optional Dungdai fire suppression system.
  • Prabirmehta I charge my EV at home 100% of the time. The EV is used for in-town driving and the gas guzzling SUV is used for out of town trips. This results in a huge cost saving and rare trips to the gas station.