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Swapping a V8 engine into a smaller lightweight chassis may be considered blasphemous to some enthusiasts, but we think it’s really cool. Fortunately, there are plenty of smaller chassis out there to work with and finding a Chevy LS V8 is easy enough. Here are five of the best cars to start with if you’re thinking about making a little V8 monster.

1. Toyota 86/Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ

If you keep an open mind, the 2023 Subaru BRZ is a great Dodge Challenger alternative for under $30,000.
Subaru BRZ | Subaru

If you have ever driven a Subaru BRZ or its Toyota cousin, you have likely enjoyed its athletic handling characteristics. You also probably noted that its flat-four engine is a little underwhelming. Sure, it’s fun to rev it out to stratospheric RPM levels, but it lacks a lot of torque. Fortunately, that’s nothing that a V8 swap can’t fix.

2. Honda S2000

Silver Honda S2000 Posed Near a Beautiful View
Honda S2000 | Wiki Commons

We’re massive fans of the Honda S2000 and its legendary VTEC engine. Revving the car out to its 9,000-rpm redline is one of the most glorious driving experiences. However, just like the Subaru BRZ, it lacks torque. In that case, a nice Chevy LS swap could do the trick. There are plenty of S2000 owners that have done this swap, which has resulted in super-low quarter-mile times and crazy off-the-line launches.

3. Mazda MX-5 Miata

Front angle view of red 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata, one of the cheapest sports cars available
2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata | Mazda

We can’t have a list like this and not have the Mazda Miata on it. After all, the MX-5 Miata is a tiny two-seater that could use more horsepower and torque. Fortunately, aftermarket companies like Flyin’ Miata specialize in parts catered to this type of swap for the Miata. They have even built a V8 Miata of their own to showcase the parts. According to Road and Track, “It’s all the fun of driving a Miata, just with 400 extra horsepower.”

4. Jeep Wrangler

A red 2023 Jeep Wrangler off-road SUV driving through a muddy creek as it rains
2023 Jeep Wrangler | FCA

Did you think there would only be a bunch of small Japanese cars on this list? We don’t blame you since they’re good platforms to work with. But another good platform is the Jeep Wrangler. Plenty of off-road enthusiasts have swapped V8 engines into their Wranglers in the past, and one crazy example is this Lexus V8-swapped Jeep.

5. Pontiac Fiero

1983 Pontiac Fiero.
1983 Pontiac Fiero | Getty Images

We know that the Pontiac Fiero wasn’t the most sought-after car when it was around. In fact, you may be hard-pressed to find a decent example now. But if you do, it’s nice to know that you can swap a big V8 into it. It will definitely take a good amount of work, but considering the car’s tiny dimension and lightweight, not to mention its mid-engine layout, we’re sure it’ll all be worth it in the end.

The best cars to swap a V8 engine into

These are only five of the best car platforms that can accept a V8 engine between their front or rear fenders. There are many more to choose from. However, these five are likely the most popular. After all, there’s nothing better than hearing a loud V8 engine under the hood of a car that was never meant to have one. We don’t care if it’s blasphemous or not.


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