I’ve said this before, but it’s the humble yet amazing DIY garage builds that truly encompass the mantra of this website, and it’s a sentiment that Greg, the owner of this Swift, agrees with. His words: “1987 Pontiac Firefly (That’s a Canadian-Market Suzuki Swift or Chevy Sprint), with a full tube-frame, full cage, small-block Chevy, converted to front-engine-rear-wheel-drive. It all fits under the body work, and looks a sleeper.” The best part? The total cost came in at $3200CDN (roughly $2500US), an exercise in true DIY (see: transmission tunnel sheetmetal pillaged from dead freezer).
The remnants of a Datsun 240Z, a late-model engine swap, a whole lot of tubing, and a slathering of carbon fibre thrown in for good measure. This is a complete ground-up build if I’ve ever seen one. The thread actually started in 2009, so there are a few dead links, but all the oily bits are still there for us to enjoy.
You can check out the owner’s website here: Z-car. Thanks to Geoff for submitting (waaay back in 2014!).
What do you do with yourself after building a V10-powered E30? You do it all over again, this time with a slightly more exotic subject. This Lotus Exige gets stretched and widened in order to fit the M5-sourced 10-cylinder power-plant, culminating in a very sleek and capable supercar-fighter that gets put through it’s paces at the track.
On this site alone, we’ve seen more than a few different types of MX5 engine swaps, including a 13B turbo, 20B PP, 2x LS3 V8s (here and here), and of course the standard engine converted to turbo (here, here and here) and even supercharged. More often than not, though, it’s the MX5 that becomes the donor vehicle, with many vintage chassis swaps using venerable Miata’s for their drivetrains. This build there, though, is one of the first times I can honestly say I’ve seen something entirely different applied to a Mazda roadster, in the way of a Mitsubishi Evolution 8 engine converted to rear wheel drive. Along with the very interesting engine choice comes a stack of gorgeous home-built fabrication work to set off the rest of the car, transforming it into a formidable track beast.
When I posted a small update about my own Datsun the other day, it reminded me of a build that I’ve been meaning to post for a while. This car may share a model name and basic shape with my own, but that’s where the similarities end. This 510 has been cut, chopped, grinded and welded to within an inch of it’s life, now sitting on airbagged Toyota truck suspension with an angry rotary engine on tyre smoking duties. It may look rusty on the outside, but underneath that wonderful patina are some surgical-grade underpinnings.
Hailing from Bristol in the UK, this unorthodox drift car starts out as a Mk1 Ford Escort estate. Soon enough the guts of the car are unceremoniously removed and everything that goes back in is custom built by a very talented owner/builder. The finishing touch is the ex-350Z V6 that finds itself in front of the firewall. The most impressive part about this build (well, the whole damn thing is impressive) is just how fast the progress takes place. With the shell currently in undercoat, I don’t think it will be too long before we see it completed.
Thanks to Alan for submitting. Click here for more drift builds.
It’s time for another memory test. Who remembers the rear-engine V6-swapped Geo Metro Lemons racer that was featured almost 5 years ago? Well, the same guys are back again with a new death trap, this time a Subaru 360 micro-car packing a Honda Fireblade bike engine (sadly no longer eligible due to new rules implemented mid-build). I present to you, the Firebug!
Click here for more engine conversion builds.
Sure, you could buy yourself an STi Impreza, but where’s the fun in that? What about taking an all original, low-milage 1986 Subaru Leone, converted to AWD thanks to an XT6 (Vortex) donor, with an engine consisting of a built EJ22T bottom end and STi Version 8 Type RA heads? Yeah, I’d choose the Leone too. The initial build is done and dusted quite quickly, but the car continues to evolve throughout the thread. Unfortunately it meets a guard rail towards the end, but is thankfully repaired swiftly and with OEM parts back to better than new condition.
Thanks to Rodd and Tom for both submitting separately. Click here for more Subaru builds.
Let’s take it waaaay back to the start of 2011 (that’s over four and half years ago, wow!). That’s when, at the end of my Speedhunters guest post, I posted a teaser image of an upcoming build. That image was a GC Impreza with an SR20 sitting neatly between the strut towers. Rob is the owner of that car, and he and I have been in contact since well before then, waiting for the perfect moment to feature his car. Well, things change, like engine swap choices, and that same Impreza now finds itself with double the cylinders and 100% less turbochargers. It’s been a long road for Rob and his Subaru, but the time is finally here to share his build with the rest of the world.
This build came to my attention via it’s eBay auction, of all places. A friend linked it to me and within the description was a build thread link. Now who of us here would be stupid enough to NOT click that link? What I found was an obscure little 70’s Honda whose body shape I was not familiar with. Reading a little further into it, I was delighted to see fabricated parts, various body modifications, a motorbike engine conversion and a narrowed Mazda Miata/MX5 rear end to top it off (there’s also a funky transmission setup that goes way over my head, so I’ll let you read about it yourself). It’s been a while since I’ve featured something bike powered, and this just might be the best one yet.
Click here for more engine conversion builds.