Last post on Nov 18, 2012 at 5:43 AM
You are in the Classic Cars
What is this discussion about?
Convertible, Sedan, Wagon
#1 of 190 New Topic
Oct 28, 2002 (1:27 pm)
I figured we could discuss V8 conversions on this board. A BB Chevy in a late model Corvette, or a Ford 289 in a Volvo P1800?
Oct 28, 2002 (3:33 pm)
Or one of my personal favorites, a 454 Chevy in a Jag Series 3 XJ6. Purists will cringe!
#3 of 190 sense and nonsense
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Oct 28, 2002 (3:36 pm)
There seem to be, to my mind anyway, V8 conversions that make a lot of sense, some that are dubious at best, and some that are a crime.
Oct 28, 2002 (4:27 pm)
So what are the good ones in your mind, Shifty? Not thinking of replacing that tired Miata engine with a nice Ford 5.0 are you?
Oct 29, 2002 (9:03 am)
Oh dear....well I hope his insurance is paid up.
I think a "good" V8 conversion would include something like Big Engine into Big Car as a baseline.
So the conversions I like personally would be to put a modern FI block into older 50s and 60s cars (along with better brakes, tires, suspension,etc) while retaining the "classic" look of the 50s and 60s. In this way you get much better fuel mileage and performance and you can enjoy your old car out in the Modern World at modern speeds.
Of course, I wouldn't do this to a '57 Chevy convertible (well, maybe I would) but to any say 4-door car or 2-door post sedan, sure why not?
Another conversion I like is a V8 in the rather ponderous cars of the 30s and 40s. It really livens them up and makes them more practical to drive.
Conversions I don't like are butchering a British sports car or a Jaguar sedan, since putting a V8 in either ruins the very character and balance of the car, and contrary to popular belief, does not improve "reliability". In the case of the British cars, it's not the engines that are the problem.
I realize people put big V8s in small cars for the rush of straight-on acceleration, but I've found at least from my experience that driving this type of conversion gets old pretty fast, after the first few days of that "rush". The cars are clumsy, scary, hard to control, and often look pretty ugly with all the chopping, lifting and the hood scoops. That Spitfire you linked to is a perfect example of how the aesthetics suffer, and I'm sure the handling. It can't be very pleasant to drive.
Some people point to a Sunbeam Tiger as an example of how a good conversion can work in a small car, but even those are not pleasant cars to drive. Aside from having to steer with the gas pedal, you have a very cramped cockpit, no leg room, and scads of engine heat wafting up at you on summer days. Not fun.
Of course, I have seen Tigers "corrected" for some of these deficiencies, and they are better, but they ain't Cobras by a long shot. The fact that Tigers have barely broken $20K in value after all these years says something about their desirability as a driving car.
#7 of 190 One conversion I want to try...
Oct 29, 2002 (9:36 am)
...once it doesn't have to go through the emissions test anymore (and I have the money!) is to put a big block in my '79 New Yorker. Or I wonder if one of the modern 360 crate motors would work just as well?
Another pipe dream I had awhile back, when I had my '82 Cutlass Supreme with its shot 231, was putting a Pontiac 400 in it. At the time I had this beat-up '69 Bonneville that had a great engine. It could move that beast of a Bonneville with no trouble, so I always wondered what it would've done in something lightweight, like my Cutlass?
Oct 29, 2002 (12:30 pm)
Is that the best you can do? Come on, somebody has got to have a Viper engined Lotus Seven out there.