Spring has kicked in and that meant it was time to visit the desert burg of Las Vegas for the annual Holley LS Fest West. It's a celebration of all things LS and, like its counterpart in the east, shows how popular and versatile this engine really is. And while the tarmac was stuffed with newer Camaros and Corvettes, what really blows us away each year is just how many cars show up that didn't come with an LS originally under their hood, or a GM mill of any sort.
If you can name it chances are some gearhead has figured out a way to LS swap it. And we're not just talking about stuffing an LS into a vintage Chevy that originally had a Gen I small-block; that's child's play. We're talking about LS engines in things that were never designed to host an LS powerplant. Looking at the variety of these cars, it really is a testament to how easy the LS engine is to work with, both in terms of size and parts availability. Want to stuff and LS into an old Volvo wagon? Been done already. How about an AMC Pacer? Too late. There was an LS stuffed in the back of a Porsche 911 and one under the hood of a Jaguar. We saw them shoehorned into Japanese imports and even slid under the bonnet of a newer Mustang. Motorcycles, trucks, sand buggies, Trophy Trucks; the list of rides receiving what is arguably Chevrolet's most successful mill is staggering and nearly endless.
The LS platform offers a lot of performance in a relatively small package. Add in how easy it is to bolt on a variety of transmissions, from old Powerglides to modern computer-controlled four-speeds and numerous manual transmissions, and it's easy to see why the LS is the go-to mill for those that want to inject a ton of performance and a lot of coolness into everything they can get their hands on. Hell, if you can make a Pacer cool with a dose of Chevy power, anything is possible.
Photography by Steven Rupp