Engine swaps are nothing new. In fact, power transplants have been part of automotive experimentation since the very beginning. Hagerty’s Brad Phillips teamed up with our own rebuild expert, Davin Reckow, to hash through a few history’s greatest swaps. Along the way, the duo touched on lessons learned from doing a few greasy surgeries of their own ... Read the full article on Hagerty.com:
I always wanted a Mercedes-Benz diesel-powered convertible and finally found one! 1978 300-CD which had the roof chopped off and an electric-over-hydraulic top was installed. Granted, not an "engine-swap", but a unique car nonetheless. Conversion done by a company which was in Georgia and eventually moved to Connecticut. Wished I still had that car! Believe it or not, it was a pleasant car to drive until one was stopped at a traffic light and the prevailing wind was coming from behind....
The tank car is spectacular! My best swap was a LT1 into a 1977 Mercedes Gwagen. Made it convertible and gave it air suspension (among other things) while I was at it.
Ford FE (390, 410, 428) into a C3 Corvette as payback for all the small block Chevy's transplanted into Fords over the years. Personalized plates that say "PAYBACK". Always wanted to take it to a "Fords Only" car show and see the look on everyone's faces when the hood goes up.
My first swap was a Chrysler 383 with torqueflite in a 1956 Chev 2 dr post. Why did I do that? Well, in 1968 there were only 283 Chev V8s in salvage yards. No 327s, in fact it was rare to see a Chev with a 327. I wanted more power and for $150 at government salvage I got the 383 and I can't remember what I paid for the torqueflite. I drove that car for years through winters on bias ply summer tires. -40F. I finally sold it in 1975.
Then I put a 289 in a first gen Ford Bronco. I bought it as a 1964 but now I find 1966 were the first. I drove that all over as well. Finally someone drove me off the road and I wrecked it. Years after I bought a C class motorhome with 350. Pulled that and installed a Chev 400. Took it to Disneyland twice. My last is also current. 1997 BMW 318i with a 600 hp LS custom engine and T56 trans. I have had that for 4 or 5 years now. Still enjoy it. Although I do have an annoying whine. "No AC, it is too loud, it rides rough, you drive jerky"
The only engine swap I've personally done was years ago when I bought a 1972 Camaro with a crushed rear end and another Camaro that was totalled in front. Pulled the front clip off of the rear totalled car and joined it to the front totalled car. Took all of like six hours in total and three people to move the chunks around. The end result was a nearly perfect car with a good title. Painted it a nice metallic light blue with a white stripe down the center. Great car. It took about a year and maybe 25 calls to the cops and code enforcement from my neighbors before all the broken bits were sold off and the last piece was trucked to the recyclers.
The Renault F1 Espace. The best mini van engine swap ever...194mph!