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DO YOU WANT TO SEE VINTAGE PONTIACS WITH LS ENGINES

DO YOU WANT TO SEE VINTAGE PONTIACS WITH LS ENGINES?
Posted February 27 2009 12:19 PM by HPP_EDITOR 
Filed under: Editorials, Tom DeMauro

In the past, any mention of putting a non-Pontiac engine in a vintage Pontiac has met with negative feedback from some readers. Are they speaking for all of you?

      


      A couple of years ago we did a two-part story on how to install an LS1 and a six-speed in a 1969 Firebird. There was some hate mail and a few subs were cancelled. I can handle that because I know that you can’t please everyone, but what was more telling was the fact that there was no positive mail regarding the concept at all.

I’m seeing more and more vintage Pontiacs with LS engine swaps at events each year, and we have featured components to do the swaps like motor mounts and headers, etc. We even had a bunch of sub-frames in the last issue that will accept LS engines.

My question is, “Do you want to see LS-powered vintage Pontiacs as feature cars and tech subjects in HPP? E-mail me at Tomdemauro@windstream.net and let me know. Then I’ll let all of you know where the readership stands on the subject.



12 comments
mrnoya
mrnoya

As a young person i can see that my opinion is much different from the old school guys, i didnt buy my firebird(1978 base model) for the same reasons as most older gen would or did. My firebird looks great, needs work but looks super cool in my eyes, i love the sound it makes...my friends and family say it sounds just like thunder hit the front yard when i pull up and rev the engine. one problem...my engine is weak putting a less than 200 hp its slow and heavy all bark no bite......ive been looking at the ls1 as a possible engine swap and would love to see more firebirds with it intalled. i can give crap really what engine is in there just want something that has good power and torque and having all the high tech perks would be great too, i mean why not right? will it feel ten times better to drive down the road with a ls1 engine under the hood? uh yeah...if the ls1 didnt cost me my left nut id have that thing in by the weekend.....but for now i can only dream.

inthewoods
inthewoods

Each to his own If it is yours then you do as you wish,you build it and pay for gas-So who really has to like it except for you?Opinions are fine but the very essence of being a gearhead is to respect the time and effort someone puts into their car regardless of the powerplant,etc.

barneyformula
barneyformula

I can appreciate all the views posted above, they are your cars and your views. Personally I don't like late model EFI swaps into classic iron, I feel it cheapens the experience of owning an older car. If your classic Pontiac has a late model EFI LS engine and electronic OD trans, monster 4 wheel disc brakes, full poly suspension and 17" wheels and tires, are you really experiencing the car as it was intended? I don't think so. Of course I am a bit of a hypocrite, I plan on installing an overdrive auto in my 79 Formula, but it won't be electronically controlled. The part I enjoy most about my vintage car is knowing that any fuel or ignition system failure that happens on the road won't require a tow truck, just a tool box! It's also nice to open the hood and not see another "me too" small block Chevy (although I have an issue with GM calling the LS a small block, since it is really an entirely different engine design).It's even better to open the hood for the guy I just beat and show him what beat him!Steve

SDW72TA
SDW72TA

Personally, I feel it is your car, do what you want. GM had no problems dropping in whatever engine they wanted that would fit the bill. Chevy engines were available in 80 and 81 in the Trans Am. Buick V6, Oldsmobile V8 also were available in the F-body over a variety of years.Hot rodding started with dropping different make motors in for more power. Obviously, if you have a numbers matching car, it may not be the best idea, especially if you are a trophy hunter. For the rest of us, these cars were meant to be driven. Why not update the drivetrain along with the suspension, brakes, etc.? I think the 69 Firebird they featured could do nothing but benefit from LS power. The LS family of motors is easily modified, fuel efficient and clean burning and is not as expensive as one may think. The cost benefit is definitely there. It's your car, your money, do what you want! I don't see High Performance Pontiac magazines' name saying "For Purists Only" Why can't everyone just appreciate each other sharing the same thread we all have in common? We are car nuts, especially for Pontiacs. Maybe you do not like what someone else has done to their car but is that a reason to be excluded? Maybe you don't like the guy who has the show car that pushes it off the trailer, to the judging stand and then to the parking spot at the show because he doesn't want to burn the paint on the motor. Or maybe the guy who just drives his Pontiac and only repairs it enough to keep it going because he simply cannot afford to do more but he loves his Pontiac. We all share a common thread, we love our cars! Can't we all just get along and realize everyone has different tastes? Does it boil down to jealousy and envy? I can appreciate people either modifying or perfectly restoring their cars. Whether I like it or not doesn't matter. Finally, how many more articles can the editor and his contributing editors do on just Pontiac powered cars and the technical aspects of the Pontiac motor that hasn't already been covered before? Let's embrace the hobby as a whole whether it was originally Pontiac powered or not. Let us also hope that GM not only stays alive but they don't become the US Government fleet provider!

AGTO66
AGTO66

To all GTO lovers. It seems that I opened a can of worms. I have been a member of GTOAA for many years, and I must tell you that the attitude of other members about excepting the new GTO's is very disturbing. I do not agree with what Pontiac did when they brought back the GTO. Personally I would not buy one, I have to respect the car for what it is. The performance,and handling is by far a great improvement over the older ones. I have excepted them for what they are. We all have different views that is why they make so many different types of cars. It is not my place to judge what is right, or wrong. I say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There is a place for everything in todays world. Except change even if you don't like it , for that is how we advance in life.

creepyracing
creepyracing

Sorry AGTO66 I Have no GTO so i can't meet up with you at the GTOAA nats. I'm not retired either so I don't have time on my hands to mess around refitting a LS motor into my firebird.I have been pounding on my 455, which I built myself,over the last 10 years. It has 10 years of bracket racing on it and it's still going strong. doesn't even burn oil.I do wish I could've met up with you at a dragstrip sounds like we could have a good race. You do realize you are running a Chevrolet motor in a pontiac? Sorry had to get that in. Both motor series,LS's and traditional, have their pros and cons.I guess all the headaches of refitting all the various systems of the modern LS into a old car push the LS away from my patience level. We had a local Hot Rodder,(Yahoo search :Todd Millers 70 Buick GSX),build a show stopper LS car but he had a lot of glitches and headaches getting it to run right. Have fun in Ohio if the snow leaves by then.........

AGTO66
AGTO66

Creepyracing thanks for the review. I am a retired roofer so I understand the adverage joe . My last 66 GTO I had was equiped with a Jim Butler 400 cu in motor. In fact it had 2 of them. Blew both of them on the strip. The stock LS1 out perfoms both of them. The switch was also done on a very limited budget. I purchased the motor, 6spd,dash,& computer for less than $ 5,000.00 . Can't buy a Butler motor for that. The switch can be done at a very reasonable cost. The results are very rewarding. This my not meet with everyones approval, but after all these years I wanted to try something different. I will be displaying the car at the GTOAA Nationals in Ohio in July. I hope to see you there. Thanks once again for your views. AGTO66

dimitrim
dimitrim

a pontiac is a pontiac is a pontiac is a pontiac etc. i have a 68 gto with over 300,000 miles on it and a 2002 firebird. it is the exterior styling of a pontiac that makes it stand out so well. who cares what's under the hood as long as its fast. dimitri manesisnovato ca

Werewolf486
Werewolf486

Yes AGTO66 you do need to say more. If you start putting LS engines in your vintage Pontiac it looks pretty, it gets better fuel mileage, it may even be more reliable....but it's no more right than molesting a vintage Poncho with 28'S or 32'S putting fuzzy seats in, and curb feelers on with static straps. You just took a beautiful piece of pontiac history and defaced it. It would be like putting a fresh coat of paint on the Mona lisa, yep looks good, but you just messed it up! I'm not saying it has to be a concours resto. What it will all come down to is a matter of opinion. Mine, yours, his, and their's will all be different. I'm 33 and feel that vintage should remain vintage in spirit at the very least. I think of an engine as the heart of the car and should remain true to it's original type. It's like everyones feelings on Abortion, you may think it's ok to perform them, I may not. This subject and abortion are a lot alike in the fact that there is NO GREY area for anybody, it has to be black or white and it's not, so you have a perpetual argument. I think if you put an LS engine in a vintage Pontiac it's an abortion! If you put an LS in a vintage Chevelle it's a good idea if you have a non-numbers matching car. If you had a 66 Mustang and drop a 4.6L modular engine in because the origional engine was destroyed, fine good job. Want to put a Viper V10 in you 70 Cuda because it had no engine cool. The thing is your stayed with the manufactures on the choice of engine. I've heard the argument for the corprate engine, so would you put a Olds motor in that GTO? What about a Opel engine, or SAAB engine. Seems the same to me, may not to you. Guess numbers will decide. They should really just have set up a voting poll! Would cause less controversy!BTW If your cars came out nice congrats, I can appreciate the work and I'm not knocking your work.

creepyracing
creepyracing

You can call it a corpoorate engine but a LS series engine is a chevy and EXPENSIVE. Not to mention a pain to install and rewire everything.Why would You not want to build your own or even by a crate motor from various sources like KRE, BUTLER and several others out there. Especially if your looking for performance these companies offer alot of choices for alot less money than a LS9,computer,wiring harness,new fuel system ect.Most of us are not named Foose with all the resourses making it look so easy on television. We have day jobs and this is our hobby.Let the pros build $100,000 dollar cars we can't afford it.

AGTO66
AGTO66

Well I have to say to Werewolf486 is come out of the dark age. First of all the GTO was built for performance,and to drive. That is on the street,or drag strip. Not on ,and off of a trailer. I have owned ( 6 ) 66 GTO's, ( 1 ) 64 GTO, and (1) 66 Lamans. I purchased my first one in 1965 after I returned from the Army. Up until my present GTO I was all Pontiac. I did a complete body off restro, and installed a 1998 LS1,6 spd, and dash out of a 1998 TranAm with 63,000 miles on it. I now have 70,000 miles on it. The car @ 3640 lbs runs 13.07 in the 1/4 mile @105 mph. It also has classic air, power disc brakes,and power steering. The best thing is I get 21mpg on the highway @ 70mph. Need I say more. AGTO66

Werewolf486
Werewolf486

They speak for me! Never do I want to see a Pontiac that originally came with Poncho power being propelled by anything but! Now if someone wants to take an aluminum Pontiac racing block, aluminum heads and build there own fuel injected computer controlled monster I would support that all the way cause the roots are Pontiac and it's still a 90 degree V instead of the 60 degree V. If someone takes a 3rd gen Firebird, T/A and does that OK, if someone takes a 80's Grand Prix and does that...freaky but cool! Personally I want to see a 92 Formula with the LS9 in it! Anything else is sacrilegious!

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High Performance Pontiac
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