Lack of engine power can be traced as a direct cause to poor quality of life, and even the most beautiful of bodylines can’t always be guaranteed to help. No, there must always be plenty of maintenance-free horsepower on offer from the engine bay. It’s the only way to avoid soul-destroying suffering and instead find eternal salvation.
At least it seems to work for some. For a certain fraction of our classic car scene, an engine swap is simply the only way forward when they take on another project, while for others it’s one of the most horrible things imaginable. A kind of Frankenstein’s attempt of inserting his wife’s brain into the head of his young daughter, or putting black-glazed roof tiles on a modest villa in a simple suburban neighbourhood. There is of course also a third group, but they remain indifferent to this form of surgery and therefore occupy no real position on today’s subject.
There may be several reasons for an engine replacement other than having ambitions towards become a master of boulevard racing. One could perhaps be the owner of a very rare car where the engine is not salvageable and another type simply must take its place to make the car drivable again. I just struggle to think of any such examples other than the Bugatti Atlantic replica which the Danish classic car dealer Daytona had for sale years ago. The otherwise fairly accurate replica body was equipped with a Jaguar XK engine, as a Bugatti engine proved impossible or at least too expensive to acquire. Not that a Jaguar XK engine is a bad engine by any stretch of the imagination, but a Bugatti engine it is not, and many enthusiasts at the time raised an eyebrow over the combination.
The more trivial causes for engine replacements are perhaps the most interesting. Those which perhaps could tempt any one of us: Either seeking a surplus of raw power, better sound or easier maintenance.
However, some engine swaps require quite a significant change to the car’s structure or design, but gradually a large number of conversion kits are available from the trade for some of the most obvious engine swaps. That no doubt makes this black magic much more accessible. Again, the skeptics will watch from the sidelines and probably comment vigorously on do-it-yourself silicone implants for women and syringes full of Botox for over-the-counter sales in your local Seven Eleven.
What is your hottest dream of an engine swap? And why? Is it the soundtrack, horsepower or easier maintenance you are after? Here within the borders of quiet little Denmark, engine swaps are complicated affairs due to our governing regulations concerning modifications on cars in general, further regulations focused on registering your classic car as a historic vehicle and not least the challenges of achieving a Danish MOT pass with a non-standard engine tucked away under the bonnet. Still, there are examples of these engine swaps on Danish soil too, and we can certainly still talk about this controversial phenomenon even if it is more common beyond our borders.