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Brand X Engine in Brand Y: Sacrilege?

Posted in Chevrolet, DIY, Dodge, Domestic Rides, Engines, Rides by MrAngry | June 21st, 2011 | 5 Responses |

1973 plymouth roadrunner
*Photo Credit: Motortopia.com

As most of you know, I’m a huge fan of old school muscle cars. Their looks are timeless, their sound is legendary and their attitudes simply can’t be matched. In short, they’re a way of life if you happen to own one. However living the muscle car lifestyle does not come without its headaches. For example, old school engines, while easy to work on, are simply not as reliable or efficient as anything that’s being produced today. Sure having big cubic inches under the hood sounds great, but in the end it gets tiresome paying $4.50 per gallon whilst only getting about 8-10 mpg on a daily basis. Recently at a car show I saw a gentleman with a 1973 Plymouth Road Runner with a modern day 400 hp Chevrolet LS2 under the hood. Now for some, sticking a brand X engine in a brand Y car is a huge no no, but after talking to the owner for a bit, the swap made perfect sense.

LS2 2005 6.0L V-8 (LS2) for Pontiac GTO

He explained that his Road Runner had been parked about 4 years ago due to his stock 400 cubic inch engine taking a dump. Not having the money to rebuild the engine, the car just sat until one day a buddy who owned a wrecking yard called him letting him know that a wrecked 2006 Pontiac GTO had just come in. The body was trashed but the engine, transmission and wiring harness were all in tip top shape. Excited, a low buck deal was struck and presto! The old Mopar was given a new lease on life thanks to a donor Pontiac. As we talked I watched the reaction of those who passed by and viewed the car. Some thought it was cool, others (Mopar guys mostly) thought it was an atrocity, but most simply looked confused. As for me, I thought it was the right thing to do considering the owners situation. In the end the owner couldn’t have been happier. He explained that he now has a car that’s reliable, gets 22 mpg and has the power to shred the tires with ease. Hmm… sound like the right choice to me. What do you guys think? – right, wrong or indifferent?

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5 Responses

  1. Pozz says:

    Yes, i like it…

    But taking the engine from the same brand.

    Mopar? put a Hemi in it. Chevy? put a LS in it. and so on…

  2. BigRuss says:

    im sure he coulda scored a Hemi out of a ram pretty cheap… but thats still not a bad way to hook up your ride

  3. PFULMTL says:

    I think it’s fine. I don’t know much about muscle cars, but for Japanese cars from the 90’s, many people put in newer model year engines in them instead of trying to outsource one from overseas. If you just want to get it running with something faster, then a modern engine would be the way to go to refresh the life of your car. It’s like doing a PC upgrade while keeping the same case.
    In this guys case the MPG gain is great because many people drive cars for the way they look and sound. But don’t put in a slower engine in it or else it’s a downgrade. You want something with similar specs or faster.

  4. djrosa says:

    well as im not a muscle car fan i dont really know how i feel about this perticular car but i still think that if you have a classic you should atleast keep it in the family. i dont know if its the same way with the american muscle cars like the Swedish Saab/volvo battle but in sweden there are two camps in car geekdom either you are a volvo fan or a Saab fan and those two dont mix and ive heard and seen Saabs with volvo drivetrain/engine and in those cases i think that it would be more ok with a BMW engine /drivetrain or something like that

  5. Set says:

    The LS mill is one of those engines that works in (nearly) every car. It’s great performance to cost ratio, vast supply of aftermarket parts, and excellent reliability is something most manufactures can only dream of.

    Outside of that engine(s technically), I think you should stick pretty brand loyal.