An LS3-Powered Tesla Model S – Say What?

This photo we found on East Bay Muscle Cars‘ Facebook page had us excited, shocked, and confused, all in one fell swoop.

Being an all-electric car, the Tesla Model S was never outfitted for an internal combustion engine, especially a 480 horsepower LS3. But why an LS3 and not another more powerful LS engine, to be in closer reach of the Tesla Model S P85D’s performance? The guys over at East Bay Muscle Cars haven’t given out much info about the build, and that’s because it was a joke all along.

EBMC was actually recruited by Draper University in San Mateo, California, to take a Tesla Model S shell and turn it into a reception desk. It came out awesome, nonetheless, but during the early stages of the build, the guys at the shop couldn’t help themselves and dropped an LS3 into the “frunk” of the Model S shell.

We’re not going to lie; once we found out the photo was a joke, we were a little disappointed. From the angle of the photo, it looks like the engine fits really well, but we can’t actually tell how far back the engine is really sitting. And for the team over at EBMC to turn the Model S into an LS-powered masterpiece would be a lot of work. There would have to be a lot of cutting, hacking, and fabricating to get the engine and all of the auxiliary systems to fit in the car. The floorpan (basically the battery compartment) would have to be nixed in favor of a new floor with a driveshaft tunnel, and a firewall would have to be fabricated as well. There would have to be one-off subframes made to accommodate suspension components, a rearend, and much more.

When we saw the photo of the LS3 sitting in the Model S shell, we started to think about the VL Destino, Bob Lutz and Gilbert Villareal’s Fisker Karma-based, LS9-powered super sedan. The result of converting the Karma’s electric drivetrain over to a internal combustion drivetrain was 630 horsepower and 1,000 pounds of curb weight sheared off. It wasn’t easy, and definitely isn’t cheap to do, but there are people out there that have Fisker Karmas and want the conversion. VL Automotive will sell a complete Destino to a customer for about $200,000, or take a customer’s existing Karma and convert it for $100,000.

We know there are people out there who love their Tesla Model S for how it drives and handles, but wonder how the car would react to a different engine and drivetrain. It would most definitely throw us off if a Model S pulled up next to us at a stoplight with an LS in the frunk with an aggressive cam and a burly exhaust note. If East Bay Muscle Cars, or any other shop, could actually formulate an LSX conversion for the Model S, it would be a master stroke. But it would also be contradictory because the Model S was originally meant to be an all-electric, zero-emissions car. Would the DMV still let you register it as a Model S, or would it have to be registered as a kit car?

There are so many variables and contradictions to think about if a build like this were to be taken on. What do you think about a Tesla Model S LSX conversion? Do you think it would be practical or do you think it would flop? Let us know your feelings in the comments!

About the author

Josh Kirsh

Born in Van Nuys, Raised in Murrieta, Joshua Kirsh is a SoCal Native. With a love for anything on wheels since the ripe young age of two, Joshua Managed to turn his love for automobiles into a career. As Power Automedia's newest writer, he plans to bring you some of the industry's hottest news topics while he's not out in the shop wrenching on some of our badass in-house project builds.
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