Hooniverse Weekend Edition: The Best Foreign Cars to Swap V-8 Power, according to BangShift


Matt Cramer over at BangShift compiled this list of the eleven best foreign cars to drop a full grunt, domestic V-8 into. This particular post had me intrigued, so of course it was a natural to share it with the Hoons at Hooniverse. Read more after the jump.

Matt opened the post this way:

The AC Ace would probably be little more than another entry on a list of obscure British cars if it hadn’t been for Carroll Shelby’s decision to buy them in bulk and stuff Ford motors into them, creating the legendary AC Cobra. While most BangShifters have a love of American iron, sometimes the power which moved that American iron can work magic when stuffed into an import. Many foreign cars are front wheel drive transportation appliances, but there’s a couple of them that are just about perfect for V8 swaps. With enough room under the hood, rear wheel drive, light weight, a great chassis, and a price close enough to the bottom of the depreciation curve that you don’t need factory Ford backing to play at being Shelby and swap a V8 into an import to turn an old beater into a world beater.

So, without any further interuption, here is Matt’s list:

11) The Mazda RX-7. Image Credit: CarDomain.com

10) The Porsche 924. Image Credit: Photobucket.com

9 ) Early Datsun Z-Cars: Image Credit: Gawker.com (OK, So it’s not a V-8, but a glorious V-12)

8 ) Early Jaguar Sedans and Coupes: Image Credit: Suncoastconversions.com

7 ) Nissan 300-ZX: Image Credit: Invoauto.co.uk

6 ) The MGB: Image Credit: BritishV8.org

5 ) Volvo 240 and 740: Image Credit: Volvoadventures.com

4 ) The BMW 750i: Image Credit: auto-directory.org

3 ) The Porsche 914: Image Credit: Porsche928Forums.com

2 ) The Nissan 240SX: Image Credit: Mouseattack.org

1 ) The Mazda Miata: Image Credit: Lotustalk.com
Read what Matt Cramer has to say about each entry by going to his article over at BangShift.com.

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  1. buzzboy7 Avatar

    What is that in the 300zx?

    1. dmilligan Avatar

      Yeah, no kidding! Lots of lovely plumbing and a motor I can't recognize. I like it though.

    2. Saturnsufferer Avatar

      Red paint, aluminum tubing, stickers and whole bunch of hope.

    3. Syrax Avatar

      Is the VG isn't it?

    4. SteveR Avatar

      That's the VG30DETT V6 that the car came with. I don't think I've ever seen a 90's 300ZX with a V8. I've seen a few hybridized 80's 300ZXs but that's not nearly as common as most of the other cars in this list.

      1. SVT2888 Avatar

        I've seen a 90's 300ZX with an LS1 on a forum before. The car resided in Arizona.

  2. JoeDunlap Avatar

    Oh hell yeah! Anything worth doin' is worth overdoin'. (apologies to Meatloaf)

  3. Mechanically Inept Avatar

    Now, I'm no rotary fanatic, but that FD RX-7 with an LS1 is both incredibly appealing and somewhat off-putting at the same time. I feel that the RX-7 loses its uniqueness, as well as some of its appeal upon losing its religion rotary. I'm also not sold on a V8 in a 914, as those cars are not about power. I'd rather drop an air-cooled 911 engine in there and have my own little 914-6.

    1. JayP Avatar

      Seeing both rotary and LS engined RX7s on track days, the Chebbys seem to get all their laps in for the weekend.

  4. Cynic Avatar

    No, no, and no on the RX-7. It's a Porsche-beating cult-followed 20 year old car and the real reason why the car is so intriguing is specifically BECAUSE it has a rotary engine. Turbocharging is the main reason for its unreliability – rotors hate boost, but otherwise can cope just like any other engine.
    Rebuild it properly and don't disgrace a classic.

    1. Deartháir Avatar

      Having played with my fair share of rotary-powered beasts — starting with an RX2 — I have to disagree. While I give Mazda credit for their stubborn insistence on adhering to the cult of rotary in the face of all justifiable evidence and reasonable rationale to the contrary, and their blind denial of all the common sense and logic that would make it obvious that the rotary should be retired with a trebuchet somewhere off the coast of Japan, I see absolutely no reason why any Mazda rotary owner should adhere to their same idiocy stubbornness peculiar obsession.
      A rotary is one of the first things I think of when I think of an engine that needs to be taken out and replaced. Right behind anything British.

      1. Cynicist Avatar

        Well, I suppose we’ll feel the way we want to. Tons of American cars go by without turbos just fine. I would think that Wankel and his rotary engine deserve more credit than they get, seeing development for the short time that it has.
        Plus, the SOUND, man. Two rotors sounds like a jet engine at low revs; three and four sound like an F1.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqzSfZ9C5z4 Non-turboed tri rotor.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQcMlJmz2Zs Turbocharged, tri rotor.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJnyJyBxzCE Four rotors.

        1. Cynic Avatar

          Er, and again. As capable as the RX-7 chassis is, it's not like there are a billion of them laying around; therefore I feel it should retain its namesake should you decide to trick it out.

  5. austinminiman Avatar

    What does it take to put one in a 750i? That seems like it'd be a wiring nightmare. Never seen it done… is there a kit or something?
    As the owner of a 960 Wagon with a 302 and a T56, I suppose I agree with #5….

  6. CptSevere Avatar

    Cramming a V8 into an MGB sounds delightfully insane. I've spent enough time around MGB's, though, to wonder if anybody with feet larger than a 12 year old girl's would have enough room to work the pedals once the firewall is modified to fit that big bellhousing. It's already narrow down there. Hey, I have size 11 feet, that's a concern.

    1. dmilligan Avatar

      But then it's so easy to heel & toe, right?

    2. ZomBee Racer Avatar

      The factory made around 2000 MGBGT V8 cars with the Buick/Rover 3.5. Just a little trimming around the top of the firewall to clear the V8 heads is all that's really needed, along with creative exhaust routing (usually through fender holes). There is a surprising amount of room for a variety of bellhousings. The transmission tunnel sometimes needs to be clearanced depending on tranny used. I came within a gnat's fart of swapping a rover into my BGT, but had a change of heart after gathering everything I needed. Kinda missed the sound of the old BMC 5-main.

  7. alewifecove Avatar

    RE: 928: Let's take a car with a v-8 and put a V-8 into it. WTF is the point?
    More money and time than common sense.

    1. Deartháir Avatar

      Reliability. The 928 was never a particularly… oh what's the word I'm looking for… ah yes, GOOD car. Taking out the notoriously, um, terrible Porsche V8 and swapping in a far simpler and more powerful (and often lighter) American one makes the car far less horrible.

      1. alewifecove Avatar

        Hmmm. Me thinks he never DROVE one. Not a 911 I will admit but one hell of a touring car. A friend and I did 3000 miles in 3 days and it was AWESOME. Best damned high speed highway car I have ever driven.
        Still seems like a complete and total waste of time and money in my book. And do not even get me started on the blower…

      2. dragon951 Avatar

        That V8 was a masterpiece of over-engineering and unnecessary complexity! Sure it cost more to maintain than a Laguna Beach trophy wife, but on the off chance everything was working right it was a force to be reckoned with.
        In all seriousness though, for all its complexity, that V8 was pretty efficient. Its not impossible to get 700hp out of a NA example, which is pretty good considering its only a five liter engine. Try getting that out of a 'stang 5.0. She was heavy though, like 3700lbs.

    2. dmilligan Avatar

      It's a BLOWN V-8, that's the point. Idiotic amounts of horsepower to hoon around with. Take a sedate car and turn it into a beast that's been kicked in the balls and will try to kill you if it can. It's the dream, man.

  8. retro Avatar

    There is a cool old british roadster called the AC Ace which might be interesting with an excessively large V8 in it…
    <img src="http://ploader.net/files/a304224283bf4c1df6f1604cace3efc7.jpg&quot; with="80%">

    1. Deartháir Avatar

      It'd never catch on.

    2. dmilligan Avatar

      Nah, racers would hate it.

    3. austinminiman Avatar

      You'd probably get sued for copyright infringement if you even tried.

  9. JayP Avatar

    Rover in the 924?
    That's like salsa on schnitzel.
    It goes American engine, then native engine (German to German, Brit to Brit), then electric motor, then spare parts.
    Do I need to email the rulebook again?

    1. dragon951 Avatar

      I'd say more like American cheese on your sauerbraten.

  10. Jo_Schmo Avatar

    While I cannot disagree with any of these choices as they are all epic, I would like to add to the list the dream I have for Eleanor:

    http://www.britishv8.org/MG/BillJacobson.htm

    1. ZomBee Racer Avatar

      That's a sweet bit-o-engineering. Makes me re-think my re-think of re-powering my GBT.

  11. junkman Avatar

    Although I love the concept, I think the list is fairly boring and formulaic. I saw a mid-'80's VW Cabriolet with a small block Chevy at the local cruise in the other night. Cosmetics weren't done yet but it was super cool. I had a 356 with a hi-po Chevy V8 installed in front which was a hoot and still have my Pontiac V8 powered Deutsch-Bonnet. The possibilities are endless if you use your imagination.

  12. Hopman Avatar

    What about a DeLorean with a V8 swap? Nothing crazy. Just a 5.0 or a SB Chevy.

  13. abe98 Avatar

    I really don't know what to think about it.

  14. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    I was going to suggest the Merkur XR4Ti, but I suddenly remembered that you could buy my proposal off the peg in South African Ford dealerships.
    <img src="http://www.africanmusclecars.com/XR8side.jpg"&gt;
    It was called the Sierra XR8 and it had the 305HO 'Stang engine minus all the smog gear. Quite sought after these days

  15. muthalovin Avatar

    The 914 is the most appealing here. It is in the most dire need of +hpz. The Miata is not about power, its about being super-light. Everything else had a decent motor (sans 928, which, uh, kasplodes).

  16. step by step making money with clickbank Avatar

    Cool post, thanks for that. Can I ask the webmaster where he purchased his theme? Or does it come default at this blog? Keep it up and thanks again for your time and effort.

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