Comment of the Day: Sometimes a Small-Block Chevy Swap Isn't the Answer

Illustration for article titled Comment of the Day: Sometimes a Small-Block Chevy Swap Isnt the Answerem/em
Photo: Craigslist

Today we showed you a Porsche 944 with a Chevy small-block under a modified hood. While some readers consider this modification an improvement, one does not. This reader is, of course, correct.

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“Just throw a small block Chevy motor in it!” is a refrain I hear all too often from uninspired gearheads. Yes, I said it: uninspired. Boring. Unimaginative. Stale. Www.Thesaurus.com.

One Jalopnik reader gets this, and now it’s time for the rest of the world to learn. Take it away Dave C.:

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As the owner of multiple AMC-engined Jeeps, I’ve been told to swap my beloved Kenosha, Wisconsin-built original motors for “SBCs” far too many times. This is terrible advice. Power and parts availability be damned! I’m keeping my boat anchors, thankyouverymuch.

And as someone shopping (ish) for a first-gen Mazda RX-7, I can’t tell you how many tears I’ve shed seeing beloved 12A and 13B motors ripped out and replaced with the standard Chevy V8.

Come on folks! Is anything sacred anymore?

If you want to see where an “SBC” truly belongs, have a look at this K10 splashing through the water in Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochee,” a song that I’m gifting Dave C. for his insightful comment:

Sr. Technical Editor, Jalopnik. Always interested in hearing from auto engineers—email me. Cars: Willys CJ-2A ('48), Jeep J10 ('85), Jeep Cherokee ('79, '91, '92, '00), Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd ('94).

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DISCUSSION

“Just throw a small block Chevy motor in it!” is a refrain I hear all too often from uninspired gearheads. Yes, I said it: uninspired. Boring.

As someone in the middle of an LS swap right now, I respectfully disagree. Swapping in ANY motor into a car that is not the original is a challenge, especially for amateur enthusiasts like us. I do not see the value in diminishing that work and enthusiasm just because “a lot of other people choose the same motor.”

The Chevy SBC and its later LS based counterparts are widely used for a reason; they are widely available, inexpensive obtain, build, and maintain, and compact enough to put in most engine bays. It is a swap that makes sense in many, many applications, and it’s ubiquity and price point make it accessible for the average gear head, not just the wealthy. And all that should be celebrated, rather than looked down on merely because it doesn’t satisfy some arbitrary measure of “uniqueness.”