THAT’S right, someone’s finally gone and done it. It took a bit longer than we expected, but at last the world has been graced with the first ever V8-swapped Tesla.
American YouTuber Rich Rebuilds is responsible for the creation, slapping an LS3 and six-speed manual from a Camaro SS into a flood-damaged Tesla Model S.
Rich has built a whole bunch of wacky and awesome project cars, and has something of a strained relationship with Tesla. We won’t get too bogged down with it here, but it appears Rich isn’t exactly a big fan of the way Tesla treats the owners of its cars.
That explains why he is more than happy to combine two written-off cars into a project that’s been dubbed ICE-T, which stands for ‘Internal Combustion Engine Tesla’.
“Here’s why we’re doing it: everything on the planet has been LS-swapped except for this. It’s a fun engineering, fabrication and learning exercise,” says Rich.
So far, the work to get the LS3 and manual combo into the Model S looks fairly extensive. Rich had one of his friends custom-make a trans tunnel that runs the entire length of the floor to accommodate the tailshaft and gearbox, and he had to rat all the body wiring and electronics from another smashed Tesla to replace all the flood-damaged gear.
The manual ’box will be sequentially shifted, and it’ll probably be the first Tesla in the world to be fitted with a clutch pedal.
Another cool part of the build is that Rich is using all Haltech gear to make the LS work in the Tesla. An Elite 2500 ECU, iC-7 dash and plug-and-play LS wiring harness got the V8 running for the first time in this video, proving that we Aussies really do make some killer gear that stacks up against anything else in the world.
Naturally, Rich has copped a fair bit of flak for sticking a dinosaur-guzzling powerplant into what many people consider the clean future of motoring. But he has a simple response for those trying to put him down: “To those saying I’m going backwards and spending money to make the car slower – enjoying life, making something no one has ever seen with friends and watching the world react is something I hope you get to experience some day.”
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Street Machine is the bible of Aussie modified auto culture, celebrating wild muscle cars, customs and hot rods – and the incredible humans who create them.
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