10 factory-built engine swaps


Developing an engine takes a whole lot of time and a whole lot of money, two luxuries automakers don’t always have. Rather than spin their wheels, they’ll sometimes stuff someone else’s engine under the hood of a car they designed.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/03/29/10-factory-built-engine-swaps

What’s up with the yellow grille surrounds on the Pontiac T/A? Ugh.


They left out the Mitsubishi and Volkswagen powered Dodges. I had an '84 Dodge Caravan with a 2.6 liter Mitsubishi 4 cylinder, and an Omni 024 (the 2-door, “sports car” version of the Omni) with a 1.7 Volkswagen, which I believe was the Rabbit engine.


In addition to the International Scout II, Nissan diesels were installed in late 70’s Dodge pickups and cargo vans. Some full-size Pontiacs received the Oldsmobile 307 V8 as well as Firebirds in the late 70’s into 1981 when destined for sale in CA. Cadillac Fleetwoods and Buick Roadmasters of the mid-90’s had the 350 Chevy small-block V8 inserted under their lengthy hoods.


The Ford Ranger was available with a Perkins diesel in 1983, and continued with a Mitsubishi diesel through 1986. The same engine was offered in the Bronco II in 1986 and 1987. As far as the GM models are concerned, I wouldn’t consider any GM powertrain in any GM brand vehicle as a factory swap. They are all GM engines.


International also put the Nissan diesel in to the Scout II’s big brother the Traveler II. I nearly bought a new 4x4 Traveler II with the diesel in 1978. I bought a Dodge B200 Maxivan w/318 and 4speed-OD transmission instead. The strange thing I remember though is that the valve cover of the Nissan diesel wore a Chrysler Petastar.


Writer didn’t do enough research! Studebaker used Chevy engines the last couple years they were in production (65 and 66 models), after they moved to Canada. Checker Motors used Chevrolet engines for many years in their taxis and civilian models (65-82). Of course Checker never made their own engines, using Continentals before Chevies.

Then he went and mentioned some overseas models. AMC Hornets used Chevy sixes in 72-74 in South Africa, where Toyota also used them in trucks, I believe. This was right before US car makers left the SA market, partly in protest to Apartheid, but tariff regulations made it hard to produce cars in SA at a profit and very expensive to export to SA. Parts were tariffed by weight, so AMC, GM, and Toyota entered into some lucrative parts/manufacturing sharing deals. I’m doing this from memory… Toyota may have been making some GM engine parts rather than using GM engines… may have done both. IIRC Toyota and GM had foundry capacity in SA at the time (according to some SA auto magazine articles from the early 70s).


I thoroughly enjoyed my 1989 Ford Taurus SHO with the Yamaha engine. I think it was a well executed factory engine swap. If only I’d kept it!


How about the 350 Oldsmobile Diesel swapped in the Late 70s to early 80s Chevy/GMC trucks. Junk engine, but think of the 455 Rocket swap possibilities!!!


Get a load out of this… Growing up on a farm in the 60’s & 70’s, we had a couple different Massey Ferguson combines, one with a Chrysler slant 6 and another with a 327 Chevy with straight pipes! That was the best sounding combine I’ve ever heard!

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Thank you Eric! I was going to mention the same thing. I had a 93 3.2l. Loved it (but crashed it; I still have the drivetrain and have ended up with a second engine over the years.)

After ford pulled the plug in favor of a jaguar engine in the gen 3 SHO Yamaha was using (if not the same a very similar) the twin runner V6 in their larger jet boats in the early 2000’s


It saddens me to think of a poor Lincoln Mark VII saddled with that stinky weakling diesel. I recall reading about them when they were first made, but never have actually seen one out and about.


Saab Sonett II saw the change from 2-stroke to the 1.5-liter Ford V4, but by 1971 all Sonett III models (which started in 1970 and ended in 1974) had an upgraded 1.7-liter Ford V4.