LS-swap all the things!
If there's one major detriment to Tesla's image as a sustainable, eco-friendly manufacturer of emissions-free pure-electric vehicles, it's the company's stance on repairs and rebuilds. The automaker maintains an iron tight grip over the parts market for its own vehicles, and more often than not, when a customer car needs a significant amount of attention, Tesla would sooner guide that customer toward buying an all-new vehicle than repairing the one they've got.
But all else being equal, keeping an already-built vehicle on the road is generally much more sustainable than purchasing an all-new one. That's part of what inspired YouTube's Rich Rebuilds to embark upon a Tesla Model S V8-swap project.
"If I drop a V8 in the Tesla, I can call the company that built the engine and get any part for it within hours," Rich tells the inevitable haters. "In addition to that, I'm making a car that was once a pile of non-working parts, instead of buying a new car. You're welcome."
That's good enough for us.
As for the potential criticism that Rich is taking a Tesla and "making it slower" by introducing an internal combustion engine without the impressive instant torque of an electric motor, he says: "the fastest Tesla in the world runs 10.4 seconds in the quarter-mile with the 'Cheetah Stance' update. The fastest LS-powered vehicle in the world has been running in the single digits [since] before I was old enough to walk."
And while no factory small-block can measure up to the best, most fast-accelerating Tesla, the V8 is far, far easier to modify.
In a new video that premiered this week, Rich gets to work on the first step of his ambitious, never-been-done-before build: procuring parts. He purchases a naturally aspirated small-block V8 and six-speed manual transmission from a wrecked Chevrolet Camaro, and hauls a completely destroyed Tesla Model S to his home. There are still plenty more parts to procure, including a steering rack and custom CV axles, and the tub from the donor Tesla will require extensive modification; with no battery pack lining the floor, Rich reckons the car will require extra chassis bracing so that it doesn't twist from the torque of the powertrain, and the floor and firewall will have to be cut to make room for the manual transmission.
We can't wait to see how it all comes together.