Best V8 to build and swap

I’m looking for a V8 to rebuild and Eventually put into a car and I’ve found some pre eagle hemi An LS 2v 4.6 and a BMW 4.4i just don’t know what engine to build and
to put into a car. I want a good bit of power and pair it to manual but from a car that offered it from the factors so it will connect without issue. Like a hemi with a charger but they only offered an auto. Any ideas or suggestions on a good engines and car

You’re asking the wrong question because I’ve seen V8s stuffed into practically everything so the the real questions are, “What do you want to end up with?”, “What’s your level of expertise?” and “What’s your budget (money and time)?”.

Popular car V8 swaps include the MGB and Sunbeam Alpine because the factory offered V8 versions which can be copied and cars like the Chevy II, 1950’s Chevy’s and the Jag XKE because of their large engine bays.

In the 60’s and 70’s mopar offered several manual Hemi options including Chargers, Barracuda’s, Challenger’s to name a few. As above I’ve seen V8’s in Pinto’s, Vega’s and even Datsun Z cars. Hell you can even buy a motorcycle with a V8. Since you think The “hemis” only came with an auto trans I would guess your just young and dreaming anyways. Don’t get stuck on the word “hemi” even my 75 Toyota 1.5 liter (2-TC, all 79 hp of it) Corolla was technically a hemi. But back to the question of “best”, that’s an entirely subjective answer. I would say Chevy Small Blocks for parts availability and ease of mating a manual to it. After you choose your “best engine” then the work begins. If you choose a unibody car the whole thing needs to be stiffened so your “monster hemi” doesn’t twist it into a pretzel. Rework the suspension to handle the extra weight and actually get the traction to the ground, you don’t get anywhere just smoking the tires. Don’t forget beefing up the brakes after all getting moving is optional, stopping is mandatory. Others will have different ideas as to “best”. And just another thought, if you plan on registering such a cluster, be prepared to jump through lots of hoops with any car later than about 1975 that doesn’t at least have the engine it came with for federal emissions certification. And the dreaded safety inspections if you area has them. But just about anything is possible with enough $$$’s to throw at it. It’s generally a lot (actually way more more than a lot) work and money than most think to do it right. Dream big or go home!


Connecting an engine to a transmission with which it was not originally paired will require an adapter plate. It’s not like plugging an appliance into a standard outlet.

This may be of some help:

The easiest and cheapest V8 engine to rebuild and swap is the small block Chevrolet V8 built from 1955 to around 1999 or so. There is a huge aftermarket parts supply and they are relatively small on the outside but can easily be expanded to 6L. Virtually any type of transmission can be fitted with the proper bellhousing. Swap kits for popular cars exist to make it almost a bolt-in.

The second best would be a Chevy LS V8 from about 99 to now availble from 4.8 to 7 L in size. But you won’t have to rebuild that engine. They last 300K miles (especially pre 2007 or so) They can be purchased for $1000 from any wrecking yard with the wiring harness and computer. Swap kits for these engines are also plentiful.

Swapping either into a car depends on what car. The older the better (30 + years old) as there are far fewer issues with computer controlled systems in the car as well as possible emissions testing where you live. Swapped engines are immediate fails in most places with inspections!


Weight can also be an issue. If you are putting a V8 into a small car like the Sunbeam or MG mentioned above, the weight distribution will be skewed to the front. A nose heavy car won’t handle particularly well. A smaller V8, especially with aluminum block and heads, would make more sense there.

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Just like your other threads you are dreaming but reality or cost will burst those dreams . Engine rebulding and putting in a different vehicle is not nearly as easy as some of the Television shows make it look.

And none of this will happen on the 15000.00 budget you have in your other threads.


When Studebaker installed massive Packard V-8s into their Golden Hawk series, the amount of understeer was ridiculously high. Switching to the smaller Stude V-8–with an added supercharger–yielded the same amount of power, and greatly improved the handling in the process.


I presume you are outside the USA, but if I were doing that myself I’d use either the Chevy engine mentioned above, or some version of the Ford 302. However I’m willing to trade off some performance & weight in return for ease in finding parts, adapters to fit to easily obtained manual transmissions, and engine robustness.

With so many V8 cars available, I don’t see any reason to buy one that needs an engine rebuild.

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All modern hemis and only offer a auto except for the challenger

Had a bud put a 8 cyl chevy into an mg, it was fun had to beef up the front suspension, probably many would say can’t be done, you idiot, we did it anyway!

That doesn’t mean a modern hemi can’t have a manual attached. Aftermarket companies have that handled. Just takes money.


Like I said don’t get all hung up on “hemi”. There are lots of SBC’s and Ford motors out there with comparable hp, out there for less $$ and definitely less headaches. It’s basically just a bragging rights thing. You can tell all of you “don’t know any better buddies”, “look I put. Hemi in it”. But look at it for what it is. A dream that ain’t going to happen. If it was you’d be on a engine and car building forum, or in a race car fabrication shop asking them, (they can tell you exactly how to mate just about any trans to any engine) not on a general car question forum.


Plenty of small and big blocks were sold with four speed sticks during the 60s from all the domestic manufacturers except Studebaker, while AMC had an excellent small block. With MOPAR, the wedge engines were considered better street motors than the Hemi’s.
Before getting hung up on the engine/transmission, think about the vehicle it is going into.

Those old engines can’t be used in a late model car unless it is for off-road use.

If the OP wants a Hemi, buy a car with a Hemi engine.

The OP has not yet stated what he wants to put it in. Only that he wants a manual transmission.

IIRC this guy has made several posts about wanting a performance car an his budget is $15k. I think it really is a 16-20 year old with big dreams and can’t even afford to pay attention.


The modern "Hemi "doesn’t even have a hemispherical combustion chamber. It is more of a pent roof design. It is just a marketing tool to take advantage of the reputation of engines that were remarkable for their time.

Studebaker did have 4-speed sticks available in the '60s.