I recently attended a mid-winter indoor car show that featured two cars with very non-traditional engine swaps. The first one is this little 1962 Ford Falcon two door. The partially exposed fuel cell gives an indication that something other than the stock inline six powers it. Take a guess before hitting the jump but I suspect few will get it.
That sure doesn’t look like any classic Detroit sourced lump …
A closer look reveals a Nissan RB20DET inline six engine. Decoding the Nissan nomenclature we get RB engine family, 2.0L displacement, dual over head cams, electronically fuel injected and single turbocharger. This engine would originally been at home in a Cefiro, Laurel or R32 generation Skyline. In stock form it would have developed 212hp but given this engine’s popularity with the tuner set I suspect this example makes a decent bit more than that now.
Looks reasonably stock in here given the radical engine transplant. A little splash of orange, column mounted tachometer and a sign that says “Warning – The car vehicle is BOOSTED” are the most obvious clues. A hat tip to the builder for retaining the bench seat and stock gauges.
The owner is probably not a member of Green Peace with this sticker and exhaust side exit. The most amazing feature on this conversion was the retention of the skinny steel rims and stock size rubber. It must be a challenge to get all that power down to the pavement.
In order to bring the automotive world back into balance perhaps we should check out this four door 1991 Nissan Skyline. It has also had its engine plucked and replaced. This time we go the other way with a Japanese chassis and American motivation.
Inside the spacious engine compartment we find a General Motors LS series V8 engine with a turbocharger strapped on. There was no mention of horsepower on this one but it is undoubtedly quite stout.
The Skyline’s interior is a little less subtle than the Falcon with a removable steering wheel, additional gauges and an aftermarket shifter.
The Skyline is, however, more generously endowed with rubber making it easier to hookup all those Chevy horses. Which do you prefer?
I’ll take the Nissan with Chevy small block, please.
Unexpected indeed. Those very skinny tires on the Falcon are almost a joke. Trying a bit too hard to look like it has a 144 under the hood?
I almost wondered if he just puts those wheels on to show and has another set of “driver” rims and tires.
I like the Falcon. I have entertained a similar idea for quite some time, using a Toyota Supra 7M-GE and MT, but then I would need to revamp the front and rear suspension and…… pretty soon it gets expensive
Looks like the show was full of interteresting cars. Was there a theme? Who sponsored the vent? Inquiring minds want to know…
No real theme. The big local club hosts a show to get cars folks through the long winter. There are some more photos here but I generally skip photographing the more common vehicles (69 Camaros, Tri5 Chevs, Mustangs, etc). There was a twin turbo Lexus powered 70s Celica there too.
love the stance on the Falcon…now just do another swap between the falcon and the Nissan and we are all good..:)
In high school, I knew a guy who had a first-generation Falcon. It was a worn-out mess, with a hole in the front seat so big, it looked like a toilet seat. I wish I was exaggerating. This was back in the late 70s. He paid $200.00 for it, and therefore paid too much for it. It was a 4-door sedan, with an awful 2-speed automatic. There was always a very pronounced “bang” when it made the shift from Low to High. Just awful. And if you’re thinking of a full-color Batman TV show “bang,” you’re missing the point. It was a grainy, black-and-white bang. And when Bryce says that these cars had a suspension designed by noted Ford engineer Robert U. Bish, he ain’t kidding. I hope the owner of the Falcon does some suspension upgrades. I think I’ll take the Datsun.
I had a 65 Fairmont auto paid $400 it was junk.
Well, the gen 1 Mustang was largely sourced from the Falcon so upgrading the suspension would be relatively easy. Nearly anything that will bolt on the Mustang will fit the Falcon as well. I would spring for some bigger tires/wheels though, the current setup would be seriously overloaded.
Love the Falcon all it needs is a XF suspension/brake swap and it would be fine. RB20 was also installed into NZ new VL Holden Commodores as an economy engine alternative to the RB30 in the Aussie model.
I was going to guess the VW engine had gone into the Falcon until I saw the photos.
That would be interesting if a little slow.
That’s what I thought, too. Hope he at least has a posi in it.
Millenium Falcon. “May not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts.”
Fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy!
Falcon fan here
Hard to decide.
On the engine swap topics, there was a Ford Mustang used in the Fast and Furious movie series who got a Nissan engine.
A guy I know has a 49 Ford pickup and a 86 Falcon ute both nissan 6 powered but with RD 28 engines/5speeds and turboed neither are tyre smokers with the diesels but cheap as on fuel.
The Nissan RB30 was used in local Holden Commodores from 1986-88, the turbo version was quicker than the V8 in the day, & guys now have them running 8-sec quarter miles on the stock drive train, Jatco 4sp auto and Borg Warner/BTR diff and un-tubbed.
I love the FnF series, but that RB-Stang is one of my stand-out favourite cars. Such an unexpectedly different idea, brilliantly executed.
That Falcon is lighter than a Fiesta – source says 2259 pounds WITH the 144 Six in it. A Fiesta hatch weighs 2537 pounds… Put an Ecoboost in it!
I am glad to see that I am not the only one who has been dreaming of putting a new crate ecoboost into some old iron….I was thinking a 1963 Ranchero, but a Falcon will certainly work. Anybody know what manual trans can work behind an ecoboost in a rear drive car? T–5 I am guessing…but bellhousing…?
The Falcon here in Australia has the 240hp 2.0 Ecoboost in rwd hooked up to a ZF auto trans, just wait until the new Mustang comes out for a manual version.
I wonder how long it will be before that combo will be available for a reasonable price, it would go very well in a Mark 1 Escort I think! (<1800lb)
Did you see the CC that Paul did on an ecoboost Edsel? Pretty cool.
That sounds like a dry weight for the Falcon — curb weight for a four-door 1960 with the 144 and stick was 2,375 lb, about 25 lb less for the two-door. The 1962 and ’63 were a bit heavier (2,408 lb for the two-door ’63). So, yes, it was lighter, but not quite that much lighter.
I want to know what engine was swapped into that breadbox American.
That one still runs the stock motor if you can believe it. It has the opposite issue to the Falcon – lots of rubber, little power!
I really like this principle, and expect to do it one day when I’ve found my keeper and I’ve lost more hair. I met a guy in Adelaide who was pouring $100k into his Jag Mk10. The motorvation? Lexus.
Lexus into Jag? Heresy! Who won the war anyway? 😉 I can understand it though, as the Lexus V8 engine is a nice engine and is readily available at comparatively low cost. I’d still have gone with a modern Jag V8 though, keeping it consistent. Having said that, with a Mk 10/420G being my dream car, I’d love to see what one looks like after 100K’s been hurled at it! Edit: I forgot about John Fluevog’s incredible Mk 10; google it if you haven’t seen it – it’s simply magnificent!
Oh that Fluevog is clean! Reminds me of the Hot Wheels 2 door custom job.
Was it a Lexus V88 or one of the JZZ sixes? I would think the 1JZZ-GTE or 2JZZ-GE might be an easier fit in a Mk10 than a V-8. I know some people in OZ and NZ import the JDM 1JZZ-GTE (2.5-liter turbo or twin turbo) in the Soarer.
A guy around the corner has a Lexlux every now and then he gives it the jandal and rubber everywhere quite a weapon and other than bigger rims looks stock, but at full noise it sounds awesome.
Holy moley, ate up! You know my knowledge of cars is skin deep. Next I’m in Adelaide, I will search him out and get pics.
I’d guess the V8 because the 6 would probably be called a Toyota
Good point, I assumed it was a V8 because they’re so plentiful! Forgot all about the 6 cylinders. The 1JZ-GTE would be quite accessible here (as well as Soarers we also got it in the Chaser/Cresta/Mark II/Blit/Verossa), but not sure about Australia. A few years ago a local guy shoehorned a 1JZ-GTE into a Mk V Ford Cortina, it sounded amazing!
The 1JZ-GTE was also more powerful than the V-8, although the twin-turbo version didn’t have a lot of low-end torque and wouldn’t be ideal for something as big as a Mark X. (A Mk2, on the other hand…) The single turbo version in late Z40 Soarers, which had variable valve timing, was quite another matter: 280 lb-ft/378 Nm at 2,400 rpm stock from 2,491cc. The JDM engine was rated at 280 PS/206 kW, which was probably an understatement, and since I think it’s substantially the same block as the 2JZ in the Supra with a shorter stroke, there’s obviously more to be had if you want to tinker.
(Er, JZ, not JZZ. Can’t type today, apparently.)
Saw a nice MK10 last week rego plate I prrrr
I’m not a fan of personal plates, but KiwiBryce you just changed my mind.
In a column in the 70s/80s, Wheels described the 420G as “Old fatty the G”. I do prefer age-original plates, but since reading that Wheels column as an impressionable teen, I’ve known that if I realise my 420G dream, it’s getting “FATTY G” on a personalised plate. No accounting for tastes huh!
Wait until he uncork the exhaust of that thing. I’ve heard a couple of SC400 here in Melbourne that sound GLORIOUS.
I wish I could put a Coyote V8 into a C3 Corvette
Although the Jag guy should have also considered the Barra Turbo.
I love the RB-Falcon and require it to be posted to me immediately. I’ll leave you to arrange it David – when should I expect delivery? 😉
No doubt about it. Lifelong Nissan fan here so going for the Falcon. Would upgrade nothing more that you can see if I could help it.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this car shows up a Bonneville this year. Bonneville has a penchant for attracting weirdness and cars from Alberta. Although neither of the cars in the attached photo are from Alberta, they do feature interesting engines. The Ranchero has an inline six Nissan, and the Studebaker an Isuzu Diesel. For more on these cars go to http://wp.me/p1maKU-epp
I have a picture of that Stude in my rolling wallpaper folder.
The Falcon is entertaining, although it gives me pause thinking how many things would have to be beefed up — a stock R20DBE-T has something close to three times the net power of a 144 Falcon engine and the early Falcon was not what I’d call over-built (which is why it only weighed 2,400 pounds despite almost the size of a modern Ford Fusion!).
Its my car and dont worry everything on the car is new and been to bare metal except the outside paint ..Air ride all the way around etc etc
Awesome car Dillon – you’ve combined two of my favourite things, a 60s Falcon and an RB engine. Loving the creativity and skill involved!
Thank you the car is now air ride on all corners and has alot of hidden modern touches ex. all the seats when i redid them are re foamed with memory foam and the front bench seat both sides are heated there is alot more going on than people can see
Like them both. My buddy Mike is very slowly building a Cummins 4BT-powered ’92 Ranger… methinks that’s a pretty unexpected swap, no?
Definitely. Should be impressively torquey when finished.
I saw this more conventional Falcon at a local cruise in 2012 – small-block Ford power.
Last summer I was walking through a local car show and someone had a Chevette there. I smiled to myself, thinking it was someone’s first car, and he was just proud that he had one that is now rather unusual. There are hardly any left.
The wheels were wrong on it, but I couldn’t place them. I walked by the open hood and it says “Volvo” on the cam cover. Took a moment. Stopped. Backed up. A couple more looks showed they were Volvo wheels on it. The owner came up. Young guy. The engine is a four cylinder turbocharged engine from a 740 (? – I think, I can’t remember) as was the transmission. The axle is from a 240 series Volvo and bolted right in, according to him. He used adapters to bolt on the front wheels. Very clean looking. The wheels filled the wheel wells nicely and didn’t look ridiculous at all. The only bad part of the conversion, according to him was that he had to remove the heater box. The Volvo engine leans over to starboard and the heater box is in the way.
I don’t know if he’s fixed that yet. But it certainly was a cool little project.
Now that is an interesting swap! The 240 axle is much more narrow than one would think so I can see how that would swap in. It would get ride of that odd torque tube arrangement the Chevette has.
I vote for the Falcon. Where is the creativity when everyone sticks an SBC in every “hot rod” you see.
What a weird find. This show is in canada not Australia and is hosted by my car club. It’s done in January to help raise money for charity.
The falcon does run the 155 tires all around and is probably the comfiest car I’ve been in for a long time.
The skyline is more race look and actually running now.
As for mention of the Celia. It’s a 1973 with a 1uzfe in it. Twin precision 6262 turbos and megasquirt ecu. It’s pretty awesome.