Think a Chevy engine swap is bad? - Page 2 - Pontiac GTO Forum
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 07:09 PM
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Converting classic cars to electric power is becoming a more reasonable idea every day, but potentially much more dangerous than most people imagine. There are a lot of things that can go wrong if the system isn't designed and built correctly. I guess the same is true for internal combustion engines though.....we are just more informed since we all grew up with these machines in our driveways.

I used to think that electric powered vehicles would be boring but then I bought one and found they are extremely interesting machines. I will even go so far as to say that it has re-ignited my enthusiasm for vehicles. In the end it comes down to the same things as's about how energy efficient the power plant is....the weight of the vehicle....and managing the heat produced. Some of the technology is amazing, especially the Power Split Device found on some PHEV vehicles. I am currently more interested in PHEV vs BEV since there still is an engine on board and the ICE is still more effective at higher speeds so if the manufacturers can figure out how to double the efficiency of the engine then PHEV will have a strong future in performance vehicles. The driver is a MAJOR component in these vehicles, especially with mild and plug in hybrid vehicles because there is a lot of interaction between the driver and the equipment.

However, in reference to the original question for this thread.....
The MOST important part of a muscle car is the power train so converting that to electric would be senseless in my opinion. Converting a Beetle or Mustang or old Cadillac etc would be fine since the power train isn't what makes those cars's the body style and how the car is used that people enjoy so having it electrified would be fine. I checked out the link posted above and a LOT of stuff is overlooked in the simple electric conversion. It turns out that electric heaters consume FAR more kilowatts than Air Conditioners so things like heated seats in an electric car actually make a ton of sense. There is a bunch of tech that is involved with regeneration, battery conditioning, range maximization etc. The major manufacturers are making huge gains so fast that some 'new' models are already dated by the time they hit the sales room floors. I think these electric conversion kits for classic cars likely fall short in all these areas.....and that is the part that is the most 'fun' with electric vehicles so it's possible a lot will be lost with those conversions. One of our favorite features of our plug in hybrid is that is has the car ready for you when you need it. It knows when my wife will be leaving for work and it has the cabin warmed up with the windows defrosted so all she has to do is unplug it and drive away. If it's warm out then it will have the A/C running and the interior cooled down so you aren't dripping with sweat before you leave the driveway.

It's a very interesting time right now. In summer of 2018 was the turning point where Electric Vehicle sales growth began to double from the previous year while at the same time Internal Combustion Engine vehicles sales slipped compared to the previous year. So far that trend has continued into 2019 and it looks like it's going to remain that way for a while.

Just my $0.02.....
Happy Motoring!
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Shake-N-Bake, this is the sort of response I was looking for, pro's and con's, etc. Thanks for a well written post.

Best of luck as you get closer to completion on "Voodoo II"!
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 08:24 PM
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These types of conversions have been around for quite some time. I find the demographic for electric conversions to be quite specific, and the total disregard for cost in order to prove a point seems a bit to West Coast for me. I consider performance Vs price Always to be part of the equation……

There is no doubt that electric cars are the future, however unlike other technologies the progress to affordability is slow. Though electric sales have been improving year to year, its hard to sort out the hybrids from the pure electrics, and sales are still fractional compared to ICE cars. One day you will be able to buy an electric car that can go 360 miles on one charge, have 10 year / 100k mile warranty and cost less than 35 grand, one day, but not this decade. But there are a few ICE cars that can meet that spec. for close to 10 grand less. And let’s not forget plugging in your electric is not free.

There is always lots of chatter about the heretic swapping a Chevy engine into a Pontiac, and its usually cost driven. Today there are reasonably priced options for the Pontiac engine builder that were not available in the past at any price., that to me would invalidate the electric option.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-16-2019, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by justoldal View Post
New here at the forum, but been a Pontiac guy for years. Never understood why someone would swap a Chevy engine into a Pontiac, particularly a GTO. OK, back a couple of decades ago, not much "stuff" was available for Pontiac engines, but all that has changed. While it's true, it will cost more to put together a Pontiac engine, the end results are worth it. The bottom end torque of these motors are very street friendly. Yes high RPMs aren't their friend, unless the bottom end is modified, but keep them below 5800 or so and they will surprise a lot of people.
A little off topic - but I'd be terrified to rev mine (Stock) to 5800.
I feel like I'm "pushing it" at 5000-5200.

Looking at dyno charts for stock 400s it doesn't make sense to "push it" in my opinion

Throwing this question out there - what do you guys use as your "red-line"?



"Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you." - Saint Augustine
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-17-2019, 11:27 AM
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I used to shift when the valves floated...well over 6500 RPM. (389 and 400's) I was young, dumb, and very, very lucky. I found out that a Pontiac 428 will rev to 7000 rpm with stock cast pistons......ONCE. (broke 4 or 5 pistons) The Pontiac is an odd duck: has the torque of a big block but will wind up as fast as a small block. These days, I keep the revs down. Below 5000 rpm. These engines were designed to come on like gangbusters at 2000 RPM anyway. As for LS engines, electric engines, etc, you can do what you want, but I personally drive these old cars for the era-experience. Putting an LS in a '65 GTO is the same as putting a Hyabusa engine in a '47 Indian Chief. The Japanese modern motor is WAY better. But the end result is nothing like 1947. No thanks. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
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