20 Crazy Engine Swaps That’ll Make LS Swap Look Like Kindergarten Stuff
Looking for change? Why not trade your engine for something bigger?
Updated May 6, 2017
Don’t get me wrong, LS swap is fine in my book. Actually, it’s more than that. It’s the most common way of beefing up underpowered cars, and if so many are using it, then it has to be worth it. However, this time we’ll leave out the obvious LS swaps like fitting the modern engine into the vintage car. Here are the 20 ludicrous engine swaps we’ve come across. Some are downright menacing, some are outright outrageous, some are incredibly stupid, and some are all sixes and sevens. Some are even cool. You be the judge which of these belongs under which category.
Jeep Wrangler With 6.2L HEMI SRT Hellcat V8
Guess you already heard about this one, so I thought to get it out of the way ASAP. What is it? It’s basically the anniversary version of the Jeep Wrangler powered by the colossal 707-hp Mopar V8. It was built to commemorate the 50th annual Easter Jeep Safari and the 75th anniversary of the Jeep brand itself. That’s not all. Pennsylvania-based tuner Hauk Designs actually used to fit the HEMI into Wranglers on their own for a time. 50 of them were made and they used to cost $130,000 or thereabouts.
Ferrari 308 GTS With Pontiac Fiero Engine
Uh, where to even begin with this one? First thing, you’re going in the wrong direction, dude! Put the Ferrari engine into the Fiero, not the other way around. Secondly, Fiero’s V6 can’t really fit Ferrari’s mid-engine layout, so it has basically ruined all the swagger that the Ferrari had. Third and last thing, this actually makes some sense. Hear me out. There was actually a 308-inspired kit for the Fiero back in the late eighties. It was called Pontiac Mera and it even came with Ferrari 308 replica set of wheels. Needless to say, Corporate Concepts which created the Mera got sued by Ferrari for ripping off their sports car which lead to the settlement outside of the court. Once more, needless to say, that was the end of Mera.
Golf Mk II with Cadillac Northstar V8
People at CWS who have conducted this engine swap actually managed to fit the entire Northstar V8 into the compact Golf’s engine bay. Now the German boxy compact has around 300 horsepower at tap and its suspension is constantly under pressure. In fact, the engine’s weight practically glues the wheel arches and tires together, but hey – you gain some, you lose some. Coupe DeGolf rides, though, and it rides sharp.
Yugo GV With Two Cadillac 500 V8s
Oh, boy, here we go again. Spending a few bucks on air freshener for this car is money thrown away, but conducting a full upgrade is downright insane. We’ve this one a while ago. Although the owner uses it on Auto Cross events, that still doesn’t make it less insane. One Caddy 500ci up front and one in the trunk give this Yugo around 900 hp which is 20 times more than the stock figure. It also weighs much, much more, and heats up in a jiffy. In fact, there’ no need for heating whatsoever. Let the engines take care of that.
Subaru BRZ With Synergy V8
First of all, what’s a Synergy V8? It’s a unique V8 engine comprised of two 1.2L Kawasaki Ninja 4-cylinders on a shared crankshaft. JUN Auto is one quality Japanese tuning house that even creates their own engines, as evidenced here. Now, Synergy V8 makes 356 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque which doesn’t look like much. What it also does is that it redlines at no less than 11,600 rpm. As if BRZ’s stock 7,400 rpm redline wasn’t enough already. What’s even better, it can be yours for “only” $70,000.
Chevrolet Corvair With Jaguar V12
It’s not the only beefed up Corvair we’ve seen around, but it is one of the most interesting ones we’ve come across. Fitting the huge Jag V12 inside Corvair’s engine bay might seem like a tedious task, but Jay Eitel who’s an engineer actually enjoyed it. Apart from the venerable V12 additionally stroked to 347 cubic inches, Jay installed two Buick V6 fuel injection systems. That’s only the surface of it as small details like like stuffing the fuel injection pickups onto the cam sprockets or building his own headers took even more time. The end result – a reward-winning overpowered Corvair.
Volvo 242 Coupe With E60 BMW M5 V10
What Swedish cars of the seventies and eighties lacked the most were the looks. No doubt about it. Although sufficiently powered, a few extra ponies doesn’t hurt as well. That’s exactly what this Volvo 242 Coupe owned by Jesper Andersson has. Courtesy of V10 stolen from BMW M5 (E60). It’s not only about fitting the 500-horsepower mill into the engine bay, though. It’s also about massaging the chassis in order to sustain all that extra power.
Toyota 86 With Ferrari 458 V8
Now we’re talking. This is how the engine swap should look like. Fitting one performance legend with another one’s powertrain. However, stuffing Ferrari’s mid-placed V8 into front-engine layout Toyota 86 isn’t exactly easy. It’s an ongoing project that will take some time to complete but we’re already looking forward to seeing the end result. Here’s the .
Porsche 911 With Corvette LS1 V8
Ok, this one is a pure sacrilege. Corvette LS1 V8 is a great engine, no doubt about it, but so is Porsche’s horizontally opposed straight-six. Discarding such dissonance-free beauty of an engine shouldn’t be an option. It’s only justifiable if the engine is already dead and gone. It’s not the most complicated of engine swaps, but it isn’t one of the simplest as well.
Plymouth Pickup With Jacobs Radial Airplane Engine
Another one we’ve a while back. This 1939 Plymouth pickup isn’t only powered by the 757ci Jacobs radial airplane engine, it’s also completed in riveted raw steel fashion. You can see the radial mill sticking out of the gloriously shiny and raw hood, and you can bet it creates a lot of smoke. No need to mention the ingenuity and engineering prowess required to complete this swap.
Goggomobil With Vedeneyev M14P Radial Airplane Engine
Someone mentioned the radial engine swap? How about this one?! You really need to be mad in order to squeeze in the 10L airplane engine in something as small as Goggomobil with the wheelbase of only 71 inches. That and you need to be quite an accomplished engineer. And while Vedeneyev M14P produces up to 360 hp, Goggomobil only managed to deliver 20 hp. Another one of obvious discrepancies between them. Kudos to Uwe Wulf who’s made us wonder about the extense of human mind’s capabilities.
DeLorean DMC-12 With Buick Twin-Turbo V6
Let’s forget all the pros and cons of the DeLorean altogether and face on the limitations it has when it comes to potential engine swap. There’s the mid-engine layout which needed to be bypassed, first and foremost. So, when guys from Dutteiller Performance decided to put Buick Grand National’s 4.3L V6 in it, that’s exactly what they needed to do. Moreover, they’ve added a couple of turbos and numerous fresh parts at the same time. The end result – 580-horsepower DeLorean that puts Dr. Brown’s time-traveling one to shame.
Lotus Esprit With Ford SHO V6
Lotus Esprit used to be one fine car in its time, but it initially offered quite an anemic powerplant for its class. How do you remedy that? By conducting an engine swap, of course. This Esprit had received nothing other than early Ford Taurus SHO V6 mill capable of making 220 horsepower. Needless to say, that Taurus SHO was very much underrated in terms of its actual power output. The important thing is that the SHO and Esprit were a perfect match. And, what do you call it? A SHOtus?
Mini Cooper With LS2 V8
When you decide to fit such a large engine into such a small car, it’s not an engine swap anymore. Basically, it then becomes a body build around the engine. This Mini Cooper nicknamed “The Monster” features a 6.0L LS2 V8 engine under its short and tight hood. It looks horrible but it flies.
Mini With QSK78 Cummins Engine For Mining
You think “The Monster” Mini from above is badass? What to say about this one, then? It packs the gargantuan QSK78 Cummins diesel engine found in equally gargantuan mining dump trucks. This 3,500 hp beast has 78L displacement (no, it’s not the 7.8L, it’s the 78L), 12 turbos, and produces 10,157 lb-ft of torque. In order to accommodate the powerplant which is clearly larger than the car itself, Mini needed the extended wheelbase. Way extended wheelbase, I might add. Let the pictures do the talking.
Chevrolet Camaro With Duramax V8
Duramax diesel in a Camaro? Why not! It’s not that the 6.6L mill is that much bigger than the V6 and V8 installations that usually go in it. This 2010 Camaro SS was made what it is today by its owner – Nathan Mueller from Minnesota. Never mind the horsepower, the Camaro now produces 896 lb-ft of torque. That’s not all. As a bonus, Nathan also swapped 2006 Dodge Charger’s stock engine for 5.9L Cummins diesel V8. That car delivers even more. A whopping 1,100 feet-pound of torque. Diesel Power!
Lada 2104 Wagon With Nissan 4-Cylinder
And not just any 4-cylinder – it’s Nissan Silvia-sourced SR20DET which already packs twice the power of this Lada in its stock form. This wouldn’t have been a crazy engine swap had it not featured some extra flavor, though. Sleeper Lada wagon now packs around 400 horsepower and accelerates from 0 to 62 in just 4.6 seconds despite its horrendous aerodynamics. It only lacks the Adidas stripes and logo in order to become the ultimate Gopnik car. Well, at least it has the hammer and sickle.
Jeep Wagoneer With Ferrari V12 (Jerrari)
This engine swap was conducted years ago, but it’s still one of the craziest ones ever completed. The Jerraris (two were made) were basically Jeep Wagoneers with Ferrari engines, while one of them (1969 version) also featured the Ferrari 365 front end. 1977 Jerrari has Daytona V12 engine and it’s still exhibited at the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada. The same can’t be said about the Wagoneer/365 mashup which has lost its Ferrari V12 mill some time ago.
1967 Pontiac Firebird With Toyota Prius Hybrid System
This ongoing project we’ve a while back is more than a simple engine swap. It’s more than even a complex engine swap, for that matter. This is a full restoration and mashup of two entirely different platforms and philosophies as a whole. When it finally gets completed, it’ll ride on a Prius platform with all the perks of the hybrid powertrain, but it’ll look like a good old ’67 Firebird. Is there anything more one could ask for than economical classic muscle car?
Nash Rambler With Ferrari 360 V8
We’re concluding this list with another one of Ferrari-borrowed engine swaps. This one actually turned up quite well. Tim Divers and Mike Warn used the 1960 Nash Rambler body and 2002 Ferrari 360 Modena powerplant in order to create – wait for it – the Ferrambo. Not only that the 3.6L V8 packs close to 400 horsepower, but Ferrambo was completely overhauled in order to look as plush as possible. It even kept the rear-mid engine layout of a Ferrari in a way. Where else would you have put the engine but inside the trunk?