If you’re looking for something off the beaten path to do an LS swap on, an older german car might be a good option. Cars like the BMW E30, Mercedes 380SL, or Porsche 944 are all solid canidates. There are plenty of these vehicles on the market and can be picked up rather cheap, depending on what model you purchase.
Out of the cars that are listed, the Porsche 944 would be our choice. Not because it’s the best candidate for a swap, but because we have driven the naturally aspirated turd back in the day. The 944 was available as both n/a and a turbo model. As you can imagine, the turbo version of the Porsche still commands a premium price tag. However, you can find the NA version of this sporty little car for under $5,000. But why is there such a variance in price?
We can shed some light on that for you. The naturally aspirated 944 was a lightweight car coming in at under 3,000 pounds. But with only 150 horsepower, it certainly didn’t live up to all of the Porsche hype. Despite these low power numbers, the car still managed a 1/4-mile time in the 14-second range. It’s a solid car that handles well, brakes good, and looks cooler than most affordable german vehicles of the same age. It just lacked power. The turbo version wasn’t much better but evidently people would rather own a slow turbocharged Porsche than the naturally asspirated one which drives the price up.
So what would it take to take the little sports car to the next level? An LS swap, of course. The guys over at EverydayDriver got their hands on a nicely swapped 944, and to be honest, we forgot all about the mid-80s Porsche. Why? Because it was a forgettable car. It drove good, but as we mentioned before, the performance was not impressive. Nevertheless, with an LS nestled under the hood, all of a sudden, this car becomes a different animal.
You might think that the Corvette LS3 would add substantial weight to the nose of the car, killing the balance. Surprisingly, it only adds 140-pounds and gives the vehicle a weight balance of 49.9-percent in the front and 50.1-percent rear over. The 944 also goes from 150 horsepower with the engine swap to 450 and still right at 3,000-pounds.
For almost 10-minutes, the two hosts of the show do nothing more than apply the throttle to the 944 and immediately grin from ear to ear. In fact, the only complaint they have other than the ridiculous bowtie exhaust tip is how stiff the car rides. That’s pretty impressive considering this 944 is over 35-years old. The only problem with this video, we want an LS-swapped Porsche now. But, maybe that’s not a problem after all. No… It’s definitely going to be a problem.