Holley LS Fest 2017 Highlights: Our Favorite LS Swaps

If you are road-weary or well rested but regretful you missed the action, now is your chance to relive the glory that is the 2017 Holley LS Fest (also check out our coverage from Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3). The single coolest part of this event is the diversity of vehicles – from your bread and butter Camaros and Corvettes on the road course to LS swapped imports drifting, high dollar Pro Touring machines on the autocross course, C10s and other wild LS swaps in the car show, and a plethora of low-buck junkyard 5.3L swaps making pass after pass on the drag strip. Frankly, you never know who or what will show up. At one point we spotted One Eye Willys and even saw Leroy the Savage make a pass. Anyone who is anyone in the LS community has come to gather in Bowling Green for an enormous throw-down of LS power, and, as you’d imagine, LSX Magazine is here to embrace it and partake. Here are some of our favorite LS swaps from the event.

1984 Mazda RX7 Grudge Racer

Nicolas Feliciano is a noted no prep and grudge racer, which you may have heard of if you watched Speed Video’s coverage of Outlaw Armaggedon. This small tire 1987 Mazda RX7 relies on its lightweight – carbon lift-off front-end and doors on an already svelte chassis – and a Precision 94mm turbo to pump copious amounts of boost into the TFS headed, LSX combo with a FuelTech FT600 calling the shots. He clicked off several 7-second passes while shutting down after the 1/8-mile and pulling the chute. Clearly the Griffin, GA native is trying not to show his hand, but the RX7 is capable of 6s.

RX7 LS Swaps

1965 Volvo Wagon

Greg Carnsforth has probably put more hours into building his ’65 Volvo wagon than anyone has ever put into any Volvo. This is a clean build from the ground up, with a hand fabricated tube chassis underneath the unibody with a trailing arm suspension taken off one of Carl Edwards’ old NASCAR chassis. The detail is impressive from the grille that was cut with a router and replaced with mesh to the 4-door to 2-door conversion and flawless paint. Stay tuned for a full feature on this one coming soon.

1988 Chevy Monte Carlo

Personal note: I own a G-body LS swap, so when I saw Mike Personette’s ’87 Monte Carlo, I immediately drew comparisons to my car and realized just how clean this thing really is. Mike said that his father purchased the Monte in 1997, but the swap was started in 2011. It uses all of the Holley/Hooker G-body swap parts along with a Chevrolet Performance 515hp LS3 crate engine.

1968 Chevy C10

Tennessee shop Strange Motion is responsible for one of the cleanest C10s we have ever seen. Terry Rose has owned this ’68 for 9 years, but only started the build a year and a half ago. Under the hood is a smoothed out engine bay with a Magnacharged LS3. The exterior is just as smooth from the rockers to the bed and roofline. The unique blue hue is part of the Dupont Fleet line of paint. The coordination of dark gray on the bumpers, wheels, engine bay and interior really makes this ride incredible.

1955 Chevy Nomad

How could we leave out the incredible Tri-Fives of LS Fest? Lisa Craig’s ’55 Nomad won Best of Show, so it was the natural choice as our favorite of the bunch. The paint was simply immaculate, but even more impressive was that it was done at home. A couple of box fans and plastic wrap helped turn the garage into a paint booth. Every piece of metal on the Nomad has been polished or replaced, and they were careful to hide all tubing and wiring, using grommets through the engine bay.

Every Mustang

Yeah, someone had to say it. Take an affordable platform that you can build on, and then put a great engine in it. What a concept! The turbo Fox-bodies of Nicholas McGrath, Jeff Speer, Ryan Magee, and Derrick Kelly made a statement in the Real Street and Drag Radial classes. Quite a few were seen in Grudge Test ‘N’ Tune and True Street as well, clicking off some impressive times. And, yes, there was even a 1965 Mustang tearing up the autocross and road course.

Etc, Etc, Etc

With over 1,300 cars on the property, it was difficult to catch all of them. However, check out a few more of our favorites.

A ’63 split-window Corvette with a matte white pearl paint job and LS engine – what’s not to love? This car was on the autocross and road course non-stop.

The Superstreet Performance 1991 GMC Syclone sports an LSX 454, Magnacharger, and nitrous. Running solid 10s, it was the fastest vehicle on the drag strip competing for Grand Champion.

Another great pairing: 2002 Jaguar XJ-8 owned by Matthew Humphrey of Franklin, TN.

This Rolls Royce made several 11-second passes in the Rumble category and drew a lot of attention in the process.

This rat rod Cougar was yet another one that would make you stop in your tracks.

Here is a shout out to Blane Burnett at Holley who hustled to get his ’96 Nissan 240SX ready in time for the show with a boat load of new Holley/MSD parts. We’ve been following this build for years and it is really starting to shape up.

Here's a few for the Pontiac lovers.

The Tuning School brought a 7-series BMW that ditched a V12 and added a turbocharged and forged LS1. Pro Fab is doing the fabrication and swap work, which you can see is still in progress.

Cadillac Shawn showed us that Cadillacs were cool way before the V-series hit the scene. His twin turbocharged LQ4-swapped Caddy was throwing down consistent 8-second passes all weekend long. While this might actually be your father’s Cadillac, it isn’t anymore.

Photo gallery


About the author

Scott Parker

Scott dreamed of being in the automotive media in high school, growing up around car shows and just down the street from Atco Raceway. The technology, performance capability, and craftsmanship that goes into builds fuels his passion.
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