Engine swaps are a tale as old as time. Since cars have existed, people have been trying to shove larger, more powerful engines into them, for more speed and power. Today, one of the most popular swaps for any chassis is the Chevy V8 LS platform. With their relatively inexpensive price point, easily accessible parts, and bulletproof build, the LS has been a great “entry-level” swap for BMWs the world over. People love these engines.
My friend Josh Proposki is no different. He, too, was lured in by the prospect of “easy power” and bulletproof reliability. After going through the trouble of turbocharging his stock M50, Proposki was ready to move on from the stock drivetrain.
As long as I’ve known Proposki , he’s always had a big project car. He and his dad run a Saab specialty shop in Rockport, Massachusetts, called Rockport Service Station. RSS, as it’s known, has been a haven for our friend group to hang out and work on cars. And one day Proposki mentioned that he had picked up something a bit different….
Proposki and his father have an impressive Saab background. Anything from ’90s time-attack cars to an incredible 900 Turbo (on its seventh transmission; if you’ve ever seen a 900 transmission you’ll know why), the Proposki family knows a thing or two about the Swedish manufacturer.
Every once in a while, however, a deal comes up that you really can’t refuse. As the story goes, an older woman from town was ready to part ways with her E36 coupe. Not one to pass up a deal, Proposki picked it up with hopes of turning it into a drift car. This is a classic “grandma-driven Holy Grail” story. While it was a little rough around the edges, this diamond in the rough was ready for life as a race car.
Version one of Josh Proposki ’s build included a turbo kit for the stock M50. We all know what can happen to a turboed M50 with 200,000 miles….
While version one was short-lived, Proposki instantly switched focus to an LS: easy power, readily accessible, plenty of aftermarket support. Over the past several months, Proposki has been massaging the E36 to accept its new heart and soul, and I, for one, am pretty excited to see how it turns out.
I had hopes of one day swapping an S54 into my ex-wagon (we’ll get there), but with motors and doner cars creeping up in value, by the time I would be able to do it, things might be out of reach. An LS could have been a great option.
Proposki’s E36 should be an absolute weapon with its new 5.3-liter LS block. Square power and torque figures give a healthy upgrade over the stock unit. I understand the purist aspect of molesting a “perfectly good” BMW coupe, but that aside, what’s not to like about this build?
What do you think of the “LS Swap the world” movement, do you have or know someone who’s built an LS Bimmer? Let us know!—Tucker Beatty
[Photos courtesy Tucker Beatty.]