Hooniverse Asks- What's the World's Wildest Engine Swap You Can Find?


Okay my pretties, it’s time to go searching. One of the craziest things one can do to a car is to rip out its heart and soul and plug in that of another. Quite frequently that means the replacement of a timid – or wallet-consumingly unreliable – engine with something more common and accountable – say an SBC for example. 

Other times it’s just because the entire idea, or its progenitor just happens to be bat guano insane. Those are the ones I want you to find for me today. Sure, that’s a lot more work than demanded by your usual Hooniverse Asks, but it’s just after the holidays and I’m sure a few of you could stand a little extra mental exercise to get back in the swing of things.

We’ve seen some crazy stuff right here on Hooniverse, like that insane 510 LT1 mashup from a few weeks back. That’s the kind of crazy I want you to bring me. Slant six in a Saab? I want to see it! Porsche 928 V8 in a ’58 Chevy pickup – yeah, that’s out there, go get it. Fly my pretties, bring me back the ludicrous, the preposterous. . .  and her little dog too!

Image: [Imgur]

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109 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- What's the World's Wildest Engine Swap You Can Find?”

  1. Kris_01 Avatar

    Submitted without comment:
    <img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v285/euroscene/DSC01373.jpg"&gt;

    1. JayP2112 Avatar

      Where is this car and how can I make it mine?

    2. Robert Emslie Avatar
      Robert Emslie

      Yum. . . .

      1. danleym Avatar

        Do we have an official Hooniverse Seal of Approval? If not, we should, and if so, I think this is deserving.

  2. Maymar Avatar

    [youtube f2V7B7-gdRA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2V7B7-gdRA youtube]
    I mean, it's this, or any number of Merlin engine swaps.

    1. CABEZAGRANDE Avatar

      Beat me to it. Such an awesome little car. Watching it spit flames is one of the best things ever.[youtube TEKyu5xN6ik http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEKyu5xN6ik youtube]

      1. Slow_Joe_Crow Avatar

        Thanks to both of for saving me a search, since radial Goggomobil was the first answer I came up with too.

  3. Kris_01 Avatar

    Oh, and I one-up your original photo with a 50 shot of Nas:
    <img src="http://www.tacomaworld.com/gallery/data/500/medium/2jz50nas.jpg"&gt;

  4. muthalovin Avatar

    I am just going to leave this link here:

    1. danleym Avatar

      I'm not sure we're going to find anything more insane than this.

    2. fodder650 Avatar

      Ok how about two Allison V-1720's put together powering a boat? Sure it's not a car but this is in answer to your Isetta. The engine was known as a V-3420.
      <img src="http://gallery.oldholden.com/d/95837-2/Allison+V-3420+in+boat.jpg&quot; width="500">
      [image credit – oldholden.com]

      1. danleym Avatar

        To be fair, the question didn't say anything about cars. That must be a crazy ride.

        1. fodder650 Avatar

          I have a bit of a small obsession with this couple engine actually. I've written about most of the aircraft it was used in. So I remembered this picture from all my studying.

          1. danleym Avatar

            Thanks for the link! I'd never heard of it before. I've also never seen that Chain Lightning before- also a cool write up, btw.

          2. fodder650 Avatar

            Thank you.

    3. Irishzombieman Avatar

      Because deathwish.

    4. DemonXanth Avatar

      <img src="http://thekneeslider.com/images/merlinvtwin2.jpg&quot; width="500/">
      Challenge accepted.
      V-twin made from a Merlin in a motorcycle. With a 3-71 supercharger. And nitrous. http://thekneeslider.com/5000cc-v-twin-motorcycle

      1. P161911 Avatar

        Well if you are talking motorcycles, how about chainsaw engines!
        <img src="http://hackedgadgets.com/wp-content/2/Dolmar_chainsaw_motorcycle_3.jpg"width=500&gt;

        1. DemonXanth Avatar

          <img src="http://www.luxurylaunches.com/entry_image/0609/19/48-Cylinder_Kawasaki2.jpg"width=500&gt;
          What is that? 24 cylinders? Try 48 not including the pony engine to start it.

  5. Vavon Avatar

    How about a little 5.7L Oldsmobile V8 in a Citroën 2CV.
    <img src="http://www.2cv.nl/publicaties/v8/5.jpg"&gt;
    Sadly, the only links I could find were in Dutch: http://www.2cv.nl/publicaties/v8/index2.html

    1. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

      It was done by a Dutchman, the story tells he lost about 20.000 Euro and six girlfriends during the building time of three years.

      1. danleym Avatar

        Sounds about like what I'd expect. They say behind every good man is a strong woman, or something to that effect. Well, behind every man who finishes "bat guano insane" projects is a lot of debt and a divorce or two (or a woman with some seriously uncommon patience). At least this guy had the wisdom to not marry the girls.

        1. longrooffan Avatar

          The Missus excepted of course.

      2. Vairship Avatar

        Given that at least 5 out of 6 must have known he was working on the car before they became serious, you can also read that as: a 2cv with a Buick engine garnered him 5 girlfriends in 3 years!

  6. P161911 Avatar
    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      A Quad4 in an MGB sounds like an extremely, sane, reasonable, intelligent and practical choice.

      1. P161911 Avatar

        I saw one with the swap, maybe the same one pictured, in the infield of the Runoffs at Mid Ohio in about 1996. It looked really nice. It was a rubber bumpered model with the bumpers painted body color, which looked GREAT. If MG/BMC had installed a 4V engine and painted the bumpers they could have sold them for another 10 years or more.

        1. JayP2112 Avatar

          They were working on a cross flow head. Not sure it it was 16v though.
          It would have taken more than body colored bumpers and an updated engine. The 1980 model was a serious anachronism and only 8 years later the Miata would come and eat its cake.
          But I would have loved to have a 1986 MGB MkXX 16v Euro-style with an IRS.

  7. Hopman Avatar

    I sadly don't have the pic any more. but it was one I saw at LeMons New England in 2010: a Saab 2.3 turbo dropped into a Nissan 280ZX. Swedish meatball sushi anyone?

    1. Jordan Avatar

      The SHO Espirt is better!

  8. DemonXanth Avatar

    <img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_wLCwqBnLqGI/SKxZyw0FOlI/AAAAAAAAA0w/1BRxD8E5JyI/s1600/IMG_1533.JPG&quot; width=500>
    Buick straight 8 inside a 240SX.
    Why you ask? Vintage engine classes at Bonneville.

    1. engineerd Avatar

      That's actually very cool!

    2. danleym Avatar

      I wasn't going to ask why. There doesn't need to be any more reason than "I thought it would be cool."

    3. LTDScott Avatar


    4. CptSevere Avatar

      Wonderful. I'll bet the sound sends chills up your spine.

      1. CABEZAGRANDE Avatar

        Wish I could find a video of it making a run, but here it is getting warmed up.[youtube 917bo0fmpIo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=917bo0fmpIo youtube]

    1. DemonXanth Avatar

      I refreshed the page and went "wait, I didn't post that picture…"

      1. $kaycog Avatar

        That's hilarious!

  9. DemonXanth Avatar

    <img src="http://image.dieselpowermag.com/f/10407451+w750+st0/0810dp_06_z+1995_ford_f150_cummins_diesel+rear_engine_install.jpg&quot; width="500/">
    Cummins N14 in an F150 http://www.dieselpowermag.com/features/ford/0810d
    Though technically not a swap since the original 4.9 I-6 is still there to run the accessories.
    edit: skaycog beat me while typing.

    1. SSurfer321 Avatar

      We all know $kaycog is talented and able to multi-task, but why would she beat you, while typing? What did she beat you with? Baseball bat? 1:18 Ford GT model?

      1. $kaycog Avatar

        I can't stop laughing………..you funny man!

    2. dukeisduke Avatar

      An F-150 Eddie Bauer with the 4.9l six makes it even more unusual.

  10. engineerd Avatar

    Jag XJ220's 3.5L V6 making ~540 hp…
    in a Transit Van.
    <img width=500 src="http://www.supercars.net/gallery/119513/2446/940352.jpg"&gt;

  11. SSurfer321 Avatar

    Rocket powered scooter?
    <img src="http://www.solidsmack.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/rocket-powered-scooter.jpg"&gt;
    Brought to us by the owner of the rocket powered VW Beetle.
    IMG from solidsmack.com

    1. trhyne Avatar

      Damn. Beat me too it. I was looking through these posts to see if anyone had posted this… Because if not I was going to.

    1. JayP2112 Avatar

      Looks like a real-life "RatFink: Wanna Race?"

      1. vroomsocko Avatar

        Or a real life Krass & Bernie CARtoon.
        <img src="http://www.georgetrosley.com/wpimages/wp3a690923_0f.jpg&quot; width="400">

        1. JayP2112 Avatar

          I've got a few CARtoons around here somewhere.

  12. Bryce Womeldurf Avatar

    I'm not sure if this would be considered a swap or not, but it's one of my all time favorite oddities. The twin engine Tiburon from back in the SCC days. Well, they did swap the trunk for additional engine. 😐
    [youtube WlAyaCKVBTQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlAyaCKVBTQ youtube]

    1. P161911 Avatar

      I'll see your twin engined Tiburon and raise you a Mosler twin engined Caddy El Dorado
      <img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_leoGYAeiH44/TL2kxnOB4lI/AAAAAAAAL1U/jt2ZfCRsEL0/s1600/2000_Mosler_TwinstarEldorado1.jpg"width=500&gt;

      1. Bryce Womeldurf Avatar

        A Northstar and a Southstar? Nice!

  13. needthatcar Avatar

    The white Zombie. 10 second quarter mile electric BAMF.
    <img src="http://www.acarplace.com/photos/white-zombie/drag.jpg"&gt;

  14. fodder650 Avatar

    How about a pulse jet powered bicycle? The pulsejet was the type of motor used on the V-1 Buzzbomb. Oh and there is video of this actually running.
    <img src="http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/autopia/images/2008/05/20/jet_bike04.jpg&quot; width=600 />

    1. Robert Emslie Avatar
      Robert Emslie

      Wow, they used to sell those pulse jets – pop, pop, pop, pop – in the back of Popular Science magazine with drawings of them on go karts and stuff. This is truly something I'd like to own.

      1. fodder650 Avatar

        The guy who developed this has created a series of pulse jets actually. I'm trying to remember his name so I can link the Youtube video's. He has gotten some very impressive power of them as well.
        edit – found it go to this guys channel [youtube Wb2Cl03E3t4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wb2Cl03E3t4 youtube]

  15. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
    mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    [youtube ygSOLZY0YrU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygSOLZY0YrU youtube] These area ll really good so far, thanks! My favorite go to for this question used to be the Danish mid-engined Type I with the Rover V8 (the headers are art too), but now it's this 164 with a Jag V12. I've never been able to dig-up any more on it though.

    1. CJinSD Avatar

      Jay Eitel's Jaguar powered, Tempest Super-Duty-transaxled Corvair is my favorite engine swap.

  16. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    I'll just leave this here.
    <img src="http://tanshanomi.com/temp/P8012795.JPG&quot; width="500">
    Click to embiggen.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Another view, just to verify that you really are seeing what you think you're seeing.
      <img src="http://tanshanomi.com/temp/P8012793_reduced.jpg"&gt;

      1. JayP2112 Avatar

        Homebrew version of TWINMILL!
        <img src="http://image.streetrodderweb.com/f/8715992/0307sr_milestones02_z.jpg&quot; width="600">

  17. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    Tuesday answer: Yamaha XJ600S motor in a 1938 DKW NZ350.
    <img src="http://www.pipeburn.com/storage/IMAG0171.jpg&quot; width="500"> <a href="http://www.pipeburn.com/home/2012/11/11/1938-dkw-nz350.html” target=”_blank”>http://www.pipeburn.com/home/2012/11/11/1938-dkw-nz350.html

    1. skitter Avatar

      Not a motorcyclist.
      (Can't be trusted.)
      Do want.

    2. P161911 Avatar

      This is my favorite answer for crazy motorcycle engine swap:
      <img src="http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2006/04/FerrariDinoMotorcycle.jpg"width=500&gt;
      A Ferrari V-8 motorcycle.

  18. fodder650 Avatar

    I'm surprised we haven't seen more LeMon's entries in this thread. Murilee Martin wrote about this Harley powered Prius last week.
    <img src="http://blog.caranddriver.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/21-BS-Inspection-at-the-2012-Heaps-in-the-Heart-of-Texas-24-Hours-of-LeMons-Photo-by-Ron-Vickers-626×426.jpg&quot; width=600 />

    1. LTDScott Avatar

      Ha, just yesterday a co-worker sent me a link to an article stating the government may soon mandate that hybrid cars have some sort of artificial noise maker under about 20 MPH because deaf pedestrians can't hear them coming otherwise.
      I sent him that photo as my suggested solution to the problem.

      1. fodder650 Avatar

        HA! Loud pipes save…

        1. LTDScott Avatar

          I found this on the LeMons forum:
          "I can feel the Prius idle through the brake pedal!" – Roland, warming up the Simca/MR2 next to the Harley-powered Prius.

      2. SSurfer321 Avatar

        if the pedestrians are deaf, they won't hear the artificial noise either. They're deaf; by definition they can't hear anything.

        1. LTDScott Avatar

          Wow… good catch, haha. That's what I get for posting here while trying to work.

      3. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
        Peter Tanshanomi

        I think you mean "blind pedestrians can't hear them coming otherwise." Deaf people can see cars coming just fine, it's blind people who need the sound signature to know the car is there.

        1. longrooffan Avatar

          While this legislation is at least three years old, that LEAF I piloted around a few years ago possessed this technology, when the non car neophites in my office started talking about this, apparently it was also announced on FB where they tend to get most of their information, anyway, they first started talking about deaf pedestrians and how it would affect them.
          Of course, this pompous olelongrooffan waited a few minutes for the twitters to slow down and made the very same point Tanshanomi makes in this comment.
          You could have heard a pin drop on that concrete floored showroom I work in.
          (Smugly returns to my cube and checks out Hooniverse to see the latest)
          But I think it was Rob, or maybe over at REDACTED, who said it best….the most desirable sound these hybrids could make would be "Nice Pants".

      4. Alff Avatar

        What is the sound of one smug clapping?

  19. pj134 Avatar

    Some day, if I ever grow a pair, the wildest engine swap title will be mine. Something along the lines of this:
    <img src="http://www.wjjeeps.com/i6engine2.jpg&quot; width="500/">
    In something like this:
    <img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-OiNq8J3WEuU/Tzj7uOAIHDI/AAAAAAAAAho/SDwxFAjTgl8/s640/vyper2.jpg&quot; width="500/">
    And it'll never happen.

    1. danleym Avatar

      A 4.0 is a damn big engine for a motorcycle. I'd think you would have to build the bike around the engine, rather than be able to fit it into an existing bike frame.
      But, if you could pull it off, yes, you would be a serious contender for the wildest engine swap title.

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
        Peter Tanshanomi

        <img src="http://oldbike.homestead.com/files/honest_charley_flathead_v8.jpg"&gt;
        P'shaw. Four liters is just about perfect.

        1. Alff Avatar

          Honest, Charley.

  20. LTDScott Avatar

    On the note of LeMons – the Saanda was one of my favorite cars at the last LeMons race I ran. Saab 9000 turbo motor in the back!
    <img src="http://i1215.photobucket.com/albums/cc506/TeamApathyRacing/102_0366.jpg&quot; width=650>
    <img src="http://www.drpneu.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/09-Saanda-Saab-powered-Honda-600-at-24-Hours-of-LeMons-Chuckwalla-626×426.jpg"&gt;

  21. Bryce Womeldurf Avatar

    <img src="http://photos.motoiq.com/MotoIQ/Project-Cars/Miatabusa/Miatabusa-intro-lead/823213267_SdhuD-L.jpg"&gt;
    Another favorite of mine that I've been following is Dave Coleman's Miatabusa. I think they were about finished with it when it was discovered that it made a terrible death rattle that's now causing them to have to completely redesign the clutch system to flip it around a different direction. <a href="http://www.motoiq.com/projects/mazda/project_mazda_miatabusa.aspx” target=”_blank”>http://www.motoiq.com/projects/mazda/project_mazda_miatabusa.aspx

  22. CptSevere Avatar

    Another Tuesday answer. The Honest Charley Ford V8 60 bike (because the Boss Hoss is too obvious). Not really a swap, custom frame, but it looks like it could be. Titled as a '72 or so Honda 750 because of the forks and steering head. I read about this bike years ago, and I swear to God right after I moved here to Tombstone a local antique dealer Hoon bought it, and rode it down the street. I ran up and stared. Like a grinning idiot. This same exact bike, no shit. Stock V8 60, straight pipes, the thing sounded just heavenly. Only one gear, Jim said that he had to slip the clutch to get it going, but once on the road, it cruised along just fine, kept up with Harleys and the like just fine. As long as your ass could withstand the hardtail frame. One of the most unique and just plain badass bikes I've seen. Who cares if you can't feel your ass after riding it for fifty miles?
    <img src="http://www.richmondlabs.com/Automotive/RichmondV8/FH15.jpeg"&gt;

  23. muthalovin Avatar

    I decided to do a "swap" search on Craigslist. This came up.
    <img src="http://images.craigslist.org/3F63L33N25N15E75F3cc3149c2ad913cd183d.jpg"&gt;
    "2000 GS300 Lexus with 2JZ-GTE VVTI turbo swap – 550+ hp"
    "This is a serious car and is as fast or faster than a Viper."
    Too bad homeslice's reaction time isn't fast at all.
    <a href="http://austin.craigslist.org/cto/3452809626.html” target=”_blank”>http://austin.craigslist.org/cto/3452809626.html

    1. CABEZAGRANDE Avatar

      Not much of a swap though, considering that's the engine the GS comes with in Japan as the Aristo. Actually, being a VVTI engine, it's probably an Aristo pullout, so while it is technically a swap, it's as simple as a swap can possibly be in a fuel injected vehicle.

    2. danleym Avatar

      Yeah, that's a damn fast time, but there's no way I'd be posting pictures of my time slip if I had a 3 second RT.

  24. scroggzilla Avatar

    Mazda powered Matra Murena, anyone.
    Praise be to Murilee! http://jalopnik.com/matra-murena/

  25. uai Avatar

    Cummins QSK78 diesel engine with no less than 18 cylinders in a V-bank, has 78 litres of displacement, and 12 turbochargers! It’s typically used to power much larger vehicles than this Austin Mini, such as mining industry dump trucks. This craziness will be displayed at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Perhaps it doesn’t run and is more of a ‘sculpture’.
    But my love belongs to brutus
    [youtube wJn7LHE83cc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJn7LHE83cc youtube]

  26. Maymar Avatar

    <img src="http://www.stanceiseverything.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/northstarcav2.jpg&quot; width=500 /img>
    This is a different kind of crazy, but equally valid. First, J-bodies are fantastic beaters, but not cars you spend time and money on (unless you're from Oshawa). Second, no same person swaps a Northstar into anything.

    1. Devin Avatar

      I've always wanted to put a Northstar into the back seat of a Cimarron.
      But you did say no sane person.

  27. vroomsocko Avatar

    1923 Ford Track T Roadster powered by a 1985 Toyota Century Hemi. Not the wildest but I love it!
    <img src="http://image.hotrod.com/f/featuredvehicles/8991402 w794/812large 1923_ford_track_t_roadster front_right_view.jpg" width="600">

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Frankly, I am surprised that Toyota hemis V8s are not more popular with hot rodders. Glorious engine.
      [Edit: I was attempting to refer to the current UZ-FE series, not the older hemi pictured.]

      1. CABEZAGRANDE Avatar

        I'm surprised the UZs aren't more popular with everyone. You can pick up a nice 1UZ out of an old LS400 for like $300. Or you could buy the whole car for $2000. The R154 or W58 5 speed goes behind it with little effort, it's easy to get 300 whp out of them, they're very light and compact for a DOHC V8, and they sound MEAN. You can get pretty big with displacement using a 2UZ block, and they take to boost like a fish to water. One of the cheapest great V8s out there, and one I'm surprised a lot more people aren't using. [youtube wFuOzqvYBOU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFuOzqvYBOU youtube]

        1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
          Peter Tanshanomi

          There's a guy over in Birmingham who's putting a UZ in an E30 Bimmer.
          <img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v649/b3rk/IMAG0020.jpg&quot; width="512"> http://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?t=10

          1. P161911 Avatar

            Wreck Racing has been running a UZ powered Miata for a few years in the $200x challenge.
            <img src="http://wreckracing.gatech.edu/wp-content/uploads/logoNEW.png"width=500&gt;

  28. buzzboy7 Avatar

    One of the stranger ones in my eyes. Let's swap out a Turbo'd big six for a Turbo'd big six (2jz in an R32)
    <img src="http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2012/322/7/1/2jzgte_twin_turbo_by_mhyaay-d5lcmuo.jpg&quot; width="600">
    Powerstroked Civic?
    <img src="http://engineswap.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/twin_turbo_diesel_civic.jpg&quot; width="600">
    LS7 Fiero
    <img src="http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r217/dwkraus/DSCF4463.jpg&quot; width="600">
    240SX with a VH45DE
    <img src="http://www.drivingenthusiast.net/sec-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/IMG_1403.jpg&quot; width="600">
    Frank Insight http://superfastminis.com/FRANK-INSIGHT.dwt

  29. wunno sev Avatar
    wunno sev

    there are a couple of wacky sw20 mr2 swaps that come to mind:
    1. radial engine into an mr2, for lemons:
    <img src="http://blog.caranddriver.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/02-BS-Inspection-at-2012-Showroom-Schlock-Shootout-24-Hours-of-LeMons-626×426.jpg"&gt;
    2. busa swap…with two transmissions in series: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1asUheKCOnE
    i believe they only kept the bike transmission, but it's fun to think they could have had a 30-speed on their hands

  30. trhyne Avatar

    Radial engine in a old Beetle.

  31. Fej Avatar

    My friends RWD CRX isn't the craziest I've seen but its up there…[youtube RIUC_iFSgLg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIUC_iFSgLg youtube]
    Build thread: http://honda-tech.com/showthread.php?t=2609439&am

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