It’s been four months (almost to the day) since I announced that I was swapping a Chevrolet LS V8 into my 1999 Porsche 911. I had never attempted such a massive project before, and I was totally clueless. Now that the project is finally done — and I’ve added up the costs — fixing what once was the cheapest Porsche 911 in the USA has cost way more than I ever expected.
The biggest expense of the project was the conversion kit, which includes an adapter to mate the aluminum V8 to the Porsche transmission, as well as a special mount arm to secure the engine to the chassis. There are several other bits that make this unlikely conversion possible — and since I wanted AC and power steering, the kit in its entirety totaled a whopping $7,322.00.
Sourcing a motor also proved expensive, as I was instructed that I needed to find an LS2 or LS3, since their aluminum blocks ensure they weigh roughly the same as the stock Porsche flat-6. I was also told that finding one of these engines being sold with its wiring harness, engine computer and throttle pedal would also help save me from buying extra parts. I eventually found a complete LS2 with all accessories out of a wrecked 2006 Corvette with 60,000 miles, and I had it shipped to my mechanic’s shop for $4,750.
Combined, these two bits were thousands more than what I paid for this tatty 911 with 248,000 miles in the first place. Once we un-boxed the kit, my mechanic — who certainly solidified his title of The Car Wizard after this project — realized how incomplete this kit was, and he was further shocked by the lack of instructions. Miraculously, he was able to figure it all out, but at great cost.
It took another $3,867 in extra parts to complete the conversion — which coincidentally, nearly matches the $3,864 for the 85 hours in labor. The car wizard generously figured my help with the swap earned a $1,260 discount in the labor charges, and I sold the old broken 3.4-liter flat-6 for $1,500.
In total, I spent $17,043 on this conversion, which is enough to buy me nice Corvette C5 Z06. If you combine it with what I’ve invested in the 911 since I purchased it over a year ago, I could have bought a nice 996-chassis 911 Turbo. On paper, this makes me look like a lunatic, or a total idiot — or both. Thankfully, after the driving the finished project, I don’t have an ounce of regret.
While it’s difficult to prove that I’m not totally insane, I will have some data to back up my feeling of satisfaction. Before blowing the original engine, my Porsche had completed a dyno test, several quarter mile runs, and a fateful appearance on a road course. I plan to repeat every single test with the new engine, and I’m betting the performance difference will be impressive — perhaps even besting the Corvette and 911 Turbo I could have purchased for the same amount of money. Stay tuned … Find a 1999 Porsche 911 for sale
Tyler Hoover went broke after 10 years in the car business and now sells hamburgers to support his fleet of needy cars. He lives in Wichita, Kansas.