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The Subaru BRZ is beloved by many, but it also caught a lot of flack when it first came out for not having enough horsepower until the very end of the power band. The aftermarket community came up with many solutions, including cold air intakes and exhausts, but none of it really made enough of a difference. Some owners found forced induction solutions but ended up with blown engines. This owner saw a different way out of their horsepower deficit, and it came in the form of a wailing LS V8 from General Motors. 

There are 40 different LS variants

The car comes to us from The Smoking Tire channel on Youtube. LS swaps are commonplace, but there are many good reasons for that. LS engines are rock solid, lightweight, and can handle lots of power. They’re also affordable since GM built about a million of them. While there are 40 different LS engines to choose from, this owner went with an LS3. 

What’s so special about the LS3?

2015 Chevrolet SS engine
2015 Chevrolet SS engine | Chevrolet

The LS3 is all aluminum down to the pistons with a cast-iron crankshaft. Chevrolet outfitted it with aluminum pistons to improve throttle response throughout the rev range. A hydraulic roller camshaft, Z06 fuel injectors, and a pair of high-flow cylinder heads complete the LS3 package for 430 horsepower. The Chevrolet Corvette C6 got the LS3e, as did the 2009-2015 Camaro SS, and the sleeper sedan Chevrolet SS. 

This Subaru BRZ has more than twice its original horsepower

This Subaru BRZ’s LS3 from The Smoking Gun is a particular case. The owner bored it to 416 cubic inches and gave it 503 horsepower thanks to a laundry list of mods, including a Motec M130 ECU. Other mods include a T56 Magnum transmission, Brembo brakes, a Wavetrac limited-slip differential, and a half cage for driver protection. Other knick-knacks include Sparco seats and an Android head unit.

V8-swapped Subaru BRZs are common

LS-swaps are not only common in general; they’re common with Subaru BRZs. The 503-hp BRZ isn’t even the most powerful one. However, it’s not as simple as just swapping the engine. Fitting a V8 into a BRZ means running a ton of torque through a chassis that wasn’t built for it. Chassis reinforcements, beefier suspension, and a quick, responsive brake system are all required to handle the new horsepower. Not to mention the big tires needed to put down all that power. You can go the cheap route with the LS swap, but that requires lots of custom fabrication. If you’re willing to pony up a few extra bills, aftermarket manufacturers make kits that cost around $2,300. 

Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 are the next Nissan 240sx

Subaru BRZ on display in Chicago
Subaru BRZ on display in Chicago | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

When Subaru and Toyota released their sister cars BRZ and FR-S, respectively, it was touted as the next Nissan 240sx. The 240sx provided a malleable platform for a multitude of modifications. The Subaru BRZ is starting down the same path and clearly fulfilling the prophecy. 


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