While society frowns on making advances on your siblings, the automotive market is ripe for getting your hands on the special bits from other well endowed relatives. Here are five engine swaps that keep it in the family.
M givith and M takeith away. Sure the original E30 M3 was only available with two doors. After developing the hotted up version of E36 platform, the car was finally available in both coupé and saloon versions. The following generation would leave enthusiasts with a case of Bavarian Blue Balls when they failed to release the E46 M3 in a 4 door variant. The ideal fix would be to put the engine from the M3 into a ZHP sedan. The ZHP performance pack came with the M3's suspension as well as some fancy interior bits. That would be the simplest approach, but seeing as how those examples are pretty rare and highly coveted you might want to start with the base sedan. You're basically doing open heart surgery, what's a bit of plastic surgery on top of that? Nobody expects the Bavarian inquisition.
You know it, I know it, hell even a bicycle commuting hipster knows that Porsche gimped the Cayman when it came to power. You can't have the smaller, less expensive brother, running Bridge to Gantry faster than the 911. Of course having the engine mounted amidships is the best layout for getting grip to the wheels. Porsche has been charging headfirst with their RR layout for years following the end of WW2. Rumors are growing of an in house project, which would seat a more powerful engine in the 2 seater's chassis. Until the GT4 goes from vaporware to production, putting a GT3 engine in the Cayman is the most dynamic vehicle you can drive. There are a few of these examples running around from certain tuners but they're about as common as an Agera in the states. Family be damned.
(photo courtesy of worldcarfans.com)
This one was whispered about for years until they finally did it. The Nissan GTR is a monster. Its very presence is aggressive and in your face anytime you see one on the road. You know the fellow who registered this car said hell yes to single digit MPGs all in the interest in being the fastest guy around. Unfortunately you couldn't really ferry more than one acquaintance around. Unless you're friends with a sadist, climbing behind the front row in a GTR is pure hell. I raise my glass to you, Nissan engineer. You convinced corporate to throw arguably the most competent drivetrain on the market in a saloon. The Infiniti Eau Rouge edition is the single most redeeming thing the brand has done since it started sponsoring Red Bull Racing in Formula 1. I kinda doubt Mr. Vettel had anything to do with this decision, but if him getting a paycheck from Datsun means we see Godzilla wearing a dress I'm totally cool with it.
The Mazda Miata. Sure when you read that your mind goes to "Track Day, Bro" and Flyin' Miata LS swaps. Why put a V8 up front and ruin the weight distribution? What you want is something that keeps the center of mass low. Instead of a Mazda eXpiremental number 5 you could put the other engine that the Japanese automaker is known for. Turn your MX-5 into an RX-5 by throwing the Wankel engine from an RX-7 in there. Now every time you turn the key it sounds like you took a bat to the bee's nest under the bonnet. It's now got enough power to get the tail out, so make sure you don't get stung.
(photo courtesy of Eric Dowd on Flickr)
Bonus clip thanks to XCar: http://youtu.be/rZudJiJcw3s?t=…
The Swap of Tomorrow
While the Fiesta ST seems to be getting all the attention lately, there's no escaping the fact that its quite a small A segment car. Perhaps you're still upset at Ford's short sightedness in the past few years for not giving us the RS500. Why not make your own? With the introduction of the new Ecoboost engine in the Mustang, the 2.3 liter 4 banger will arguably be more open to tuning. With 310hp and 320lb-ft of torque the standard engine would be quite a bump over the stock Focus' mill. The Mustang has always been about trap speeds and quartle mile times, so naturally the engineers left some headroom in the 'lowest' trim level. The V-6 no doubt exists only for fleet sales to rental car agencies, so the 4 cylinder should be able to readily accept more power. In an age of restrictive exhaust piping and gimped fuel mappings there's no doubt Ford's newest block can easily best the RS500's 350hp. Get a wider stance and uprate the suspension and you'll have the most potent hot hatch this side of the Atlantic. The Europeans might have gotten an STD, but there's nothing stopping us from going raw.
While SEMA may be dominated by Coyote and LS swaps, theres more than a few head turning combos still left undone.