PCH, Mix-n-Match Edition: Fun With Engine Swaps!S

After seeing the '49 Cadillac cruise to victory over the '68 Cad in yesterday's Project Ambulance Hell poll, we realized that we've been making the choices too easy lately. See, the whole point is to make you need the car, even with full open-eyed awareness that it will soon reduce you to a broken, weeping heap of misery crawling across the garage floor. And what better way to reach that goal than via a staggeringly difficult engine swap? We've picked two cars and four engines, giving you eight wonderful choices!


First, the cars: Old British cars have a storied drag racing history in the USA, with the V8-ified Ford Anglias being the most famous examples, and seeing the Morris Minor family tree yesterday put us in a Morris sort of mood. Therefore, the obvious choice for Mix-n-Match Car #1 is this 1957 Morris Minor. The seller seems to think it's a Mini, but he'll be even more confused when you tell him what kind of engine you plan to stuff under its bonnet. It's got some rust, but that just makes it easier to remove metal for drivetrain clearance!

The Morris would be fun with a great big engine, but you know people will be laughing behind your back that you chose a simple front-engine/rear-drive car. That's just too easy! What you need is this 1966 Porsche 912, my engine-swapping friend! Imagine the fabrication skills you'll be showcasing when you drop any one of our four engine choices into this thing... and hey, it comes with a (possibly running) factory engine, so you'll be able to sell it to defray 0.004% of the project's expenses!


Now, the engines: We would be totally remiss if we didn't include at least one example of good old Detroit Muscle in the engine choices; unfortunately we couldn't find any Cammer 427 Fords for sale. But don't worry, we've found this 1962 Chevy 409 for you! It's got dual four-barrel carbs, a funky head/piston design, and possibly 425 factory horsepower. Of course, it's been stored since the early 70s, so there's no telling what kind of shape the innards are in, but that'll be the least of your worries once you start measuring it and comparing those measurements to your chosen car's engine compartment!

Speaking of engine measurements, this BMW M70 V12 is a little on the bulky side, what with its overhead cams and all, but imagine all that Teutonic power launching your Morris or Porsche as you cackle with glee. Of course, you'll be cackling with something other than glee after trying to rig up some sort of fuel-delivery system for this engine, since you get no throttle bodies and both engine computers are AWOL (we suggest a really, really complicated Megasquirt setup, using 12 updraft Carters converted into throttle bodies), and by the time you manage to shoehorn this monster into your car you'll probably be having long conversations with the voices in the power lines.

But what if you eschew gasoline and want to get all green with a biodiesel-powered project? Something that will run on bacon grease! Hey, there's no reason such a project needs to be slow... and it won't be if you miraculously find a way to fit this Detroit Diesel Series 60 in your selected car. Conventional wisdom says it can't be done... in fact, conventional wisdom says you'll have a hard time even squeezing this 500-horse, 1600 lb-ft brute into your garage. It probably weighs more than either of our vehicle choices, and it's definitely taller. But pay no mind to naysayers and the can't-do-ers! You'll find a way! And when you do, the road will be yours!

You know, if you're going to go to all the trouble of swapping a ridiculously huge engine into a tiny car, don't you want that car to sound just like a Testarossa? That's why we've found this genuine Ferrari boxer-12! It's a little pricey- a cool 12 grand- but: Testarossa engine! Actually, that $12,000 doesn't quite exactly get you the whole engine, as shown in the photo; you'll need to negotiate the price of everything beyond the long block with the seller, who will no doubt be extremely understanding about your needs. Oh yeah, not only is this engine on the wide side (being a boxer with overhead cams and all), it's made to be transversely mounted... and, by the way, you'll need to find some kind of transaxle for it. As long as you don't install any sort of mufflers behind it, all is well.


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