LS Fest West 2018: Our Favorite LS Swapped Rides

Day two of Holley LS Fest West has come and gone. And while plenty of competition went down today, we thought we’d bring you something a little different for today’s coverage of the largest LS-centric event in the world. Today we focus on what has made the LS such a prevalent platform, especially when it comes to vehicles it didn’t originally appear in.

In current form, the Chevrolet LS is giving the Gen I small-block a run for its money for the title of mostly commonly swapped engine of all time. And in no place is that more obvious than LS Fest. With that in mind, we decided to bring you some of the more unique and well-executed builds we came across in our frantic day. So, without further ado, here are some of the best LS swaps of the event.

Lamborghini Countach

Yep, you read that right. And though it seems like a crazy swap, we could understand if someone wanted something a little more reliable than what Italy’s finest had to offer. However, you may be relieved—or bummed depending on how you felt about the swap—to find out that this is actually a kit car.

This particular faux Lambo is built on the ever-popular kit car base that is the Pontiac Fiero. Typically, they are easy to spot because many of them are either poorly executed, or the proportions are just slightly off. This kit car, however, is the exception to the rule. Miguel Perez tells us that his company went above and beyond to make actual molds of original Countach panels that were then made to fit the Pontiac.

This means that the proportions on the kit stayed just right and make it hard to tell that it isn’t actually a Lamborghini. The exhaust note, on the other hand, is definitely a giveaway as the car is powered by a relatively stock LS1. Due to the car’s lightweight and relatively beefy 350 horsepower, it’s likely faster than an actual Countach. While it may be a kit, it is definitely a unique LS swap any way you cut it. The car was drawing a crowd all day and it certainly caught our eye.

Porsche 914

LS swapped Porsches are certainly nothing new, as we can attest that we’ve seen our fair share of them over the years. However, we must admit that we don’t think we can name the last time we saw a Porsche 914 powered by an LS engine, and this one was certainly fitting the bill.

Sean Thomas is the owner of this custom Porsche, which is now powered by a bolt-on 5.7-liter LS1 V8 engine. A mild camshaft helps the new GM powerplant produce a steady and healthy 450HP at the crank, and Sean was using every pony possible out of his Porsche to dominate the autocross and the dragstrip.

Chevrolet Impala SS

If an LS swap makes a vehicle cooler, then an LT1 swap certainly makes one that much better. The folks at Three Pedals, more specifically, Josh Korsower, gave us the scoop on this sedan-turned-autocrosser of an Impala. Josh explained that the car came to fruition when the company wanted to show off its TREMEC T56 Magnum XL six-speed manual transmission kit, and what better way to display its diversity than in a family sedan?

Under the hood of this Impala, you’ll find a 6.2-liter LT1 V8 from a C7 Stingray Corvette (or current-gen Camaro SS, too) and an MSD Atomic AirForce intake manifold. Of course, the gold heat tape helps keep IATs that much cooler on the LT1 as well. Jared Ochs of Current Performance Wiring handled all of the wiring in order to get the stock ’96 Impala SS gauges talking to the factory LT1 computer, and we find that to be one of the most impressive aspects of the entire build. Talk about a factory finish.

Buick Regal T-Type

Certainly, this T-Type was a contender when it had its original turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 engine under the hood, but as the saying goes at LS Fest, “Everything’s better with LS power,” and that couldn’t be truer in the case of this Regal. One look under the hood, and you’ll find a 2.9-liter Whipple twin-screw supercharger adorning a massive 454ci LSX V8 engine.

But that might be just the appetizer in this whole meal. Check out the new tubular frame rails, custom A-arms and SpeedTech coilover suspension, and ridiculously wide BFGoodrich Rival tires for the autocross. Don’t let those crazy wide tires fool you, though. The owner of this nasty Buick, Sam Puleri with P2 Fabrications, actually took this G-bodied GM on the dragstrip, too. We can only imagine how great this LS-powered Buick feels on the autocross and the strip with its PPG six-speed sequential transmission!

Mazda Rx-7

Would you believe us if we told you that this wickedly wide, backyard built Mazda Rx-7 ran low 8s in the quarter-mile this weekend? And that’s in 90-plus degree weather with a DA of well over 4,500. This insane Mazda is owned by Jesus, and boy does it have a story.

The car is powered by a 6.0-liter iron block V8 and features only forged rods and pistons on the build. A beefed-up fuel system and a pair of 72mm turbochargers on only 15 pounds of boost allow Jesus’ Rx-7 to run mid 8s.

However, when he turns the boost up to 20-25 pounds, the car makes well over 1,200 horsepower at the tires (yes, those massive 32-inch M/T slicks) and runs bottom 8s. Jesus says he built the car in just one week’s time, specifically to make LS Fest West, and even tuned the car the night before the event started.

With no track time, built in a backyard by hand and no on-site tuning support, Jesus is taking a gamble with his wild Rx-7 that he also drives on the street; maybe that’s why his license plate says “Lucky7”?

Stay connected with us throughout the rest of LS Fest West coming at you from Las Vegas, Nevada, folks!

About the author

Harrison Noble

Living in San Diego for most of his life, Harrison was exposed to a variety of cars at an early age. His passion for anything that is fast, or has a V8, brought him to Power Automedia.
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