Subscribe to the Free

Chevrolet LS1 Engine Swap - A Change of Heart

Swapping an LS1 Into Vintage Iron

Bob Mehlhoff Nov 1, 2003
148_0311_ls_1new_z 2/14

LS1 engines are available through local wrecking yards, the Internet, or vendors. Speed Automotive offers a selection of low-mileage LS1 engines with brackets, pulleys, computers, and wire harnesses. If you prefer new, Friendly Chevrolet offers GM LS1 crate engines.

Nail the throttle of an LS1-powered fourth-gen Camaro and you'll soon be dreaming of how to put one of GM's newest and hottest small-blocks into your classic ride. Apart from the easy 300-plus horses these motors muster from a large-by-huge torque curve, they also have very good street manners. The secret performance brew combines a well-developed intake with a pair of free-flowing cylinder heads fed by today's most advanced electronic fuel injection.

And if you're still hungering for more power, the aftermarket has plenty of internal and bolt-on items to transform a stock LS1 into a real street stormer. But until lately, swapping one of these cool mills into a vintage musclecar took plenty of patience. Fortunately, the aftermarket has been hard at work developing and testing all the necessary goodies to make an LS1 installation easy and well engineered.

With the LS1 rage increasing daily, we wanted to learn more. We visited with some LS1 swap providers and found plenty of info. Among the most popular LS1 swaps are the first-gen Camaros. If you've been reading CHP or following the latest LS1 trends, you've seen the cool LS1 '69 Camaro that Kevin King (President of Year One) has recently completed. This car served as a test and prototype vehicle to refine and develop a complete LS1 conversion package with the help of Brewer's Restoration and Performance (BRP). Now that the car is completed there are a multitude of parts available through Year One, BRP, and a growing list of others to enable you to >> make your own LS1 transformation in your own garage. With the growing LS1 interest, engine-swap parts for many more popular Chevy musclecars are emerging. BRP is currently building LS1 conversion parts for '64-'67 Novas and Chevelles and Monte Carlos up through the mid-'80s.

Whether you're looking for a complete LS1 installation package, LS1 motor mounts, or maybe just some computer-integration wiring, there is an easy solution to swapping an LS1 into your vintage musclecar.

148_0311_ls_10_s 15/14

Get the Goods

Year One enhanced the performance of its LS1 OEM short-block with a Comp valvetrain, and the fuel-delivery system was upgraded to ensure adequate fuel flow should additional modifications (nitrous or blower) be performed later. Custom computer programming removed those areas of the OEM system not needed for this application, such as the secondary O2 sensors, EGR, evaporative-control system, and so on. Here's a quick list of the items and vendors used to perform this LS1 installation.

'98 LS1 engine (OEM block, crank, rods, pistons)
'98 4L60E automatic transmission
ATI LS1 damper
Baer four-wheel disc brakes, EradiSpeed 13-inch rotors
BBK 80mm throttle body
Be Cool prototype aluminum radiator, electric fans
BRP engine mounts
BRP-modified '98 Z28 steering rack
BRP remote-mount coils with MSD plug wires
BRP transmission crossmember
BRP-fabricated cold-air system
BRP-modified front sway bar
BRP-modified OEM subframe
Comp Cams camshaft
Detroit Speed & Engineering
Selecta-Speed wiper kit
Flaming River steering shaft, components
Global West subframe connectors
Global West tubular front control arms
Holley fuel-system components, trunk-mounted race battery and bracket
Katech Engine Development C5-R valve covers
M&H Electric chassis wiring harnesses
Modified GM PCM
Painless engine wiring harness, modified by Year One/BRP
PST carbon-fiber driveshaft
Stainless Works stainless steel
3-inch chambered exhaust system
Stainless Works stainless steel long-tube headers
TCI Street Fighter lockup 2,800-stall torque converter
Vintage Air HVAC system
Weiand polished aluminum LS1 intake
Year One, many products


Comp Cams
Memphis, TN 38118
Chevrolet Performance Parts
Detroit, MI 48232
Flaming River
Berea, OH 44017
Street And Performance
Mena, AZ
Year One
Tucker, GA 30085
Billet Specialties Inc.
La Grange, IL 60526
Friendly Chevrolet
Fridley, MN 55432
The Nicholson Company
Hanover, PA 17331
Speed Automotive
Cleveland, TN 37323

Connect With Us

Get Latest News and Articles. Newsletter Sign Up

sponsored links

subscribe to the magazine

get digital get print