The appearance of an LS1-powered BMW E30 M3 on eBay has raised an interesting point: Controversy-prone engine swaps are not always a bad thing. If you had to pick one engine to put into everything, what would it be?
Nothing raises the hackles of the single-marque weirdo like the oddball engine swap. Why, they ask, would you want to undo Engineer X's glorious work? What did Engineer Y do wrong? Why, why, why do we have to stick an LS1 into everything?
Because it's there, that's why. Humans are an endlessly curious breed, and our survival as a species is rooted in our ability to evolve. Sometimes you cannot leave well enough alone, whether that "well enough" is choosing to crawl out of the sea and grow legs or choosing to screw with one of the greatest homologation specials ever built. In the case of BMW's E30-chassis M3, we are irrationally attached to the S14 four-cylinder, but not so much that we cannot appreciate one of the world's coolest V-8s.
Chevrolet's LS-family V-8 has long been the powerplant of choice for the low-cost, ass-hauling engine swap, but it's not the only answer. Still, we can't help but wonder: Is there a better solution? A small-block Chevy? Cosworth's insane BDA? An Offy? What?
We lean toward the LS7, the 7.0-liter, 505-hp small-block found in the C6 Corvette Z06, but that's just because it's durable as a rock, relatively affordable, and strong like ridiculous bull. If you had to pick one engine to swap into every car on the planet, what would it be?
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