Journal: This V12-Swapped Ferrari 308 Is The Ultimate One-Man Garage Build

This V12-Swapped Ferrari 308 Is The Ultimate One-Man Garage Build

Alex Sobran By Alex Sobran
January 28, 2019
9 comments

Photography by Grassroots Motorsports user “mke”

Swapping engines is a daunting task, especially so if the metallic heart transplant in question is being carried out in one’s own garage. Even if set up with the most straightforward plug-and-play small-block V8 adapter kit and all the tools required to wedge some extra displacement below the hood, there’s still the issue of finding enough time to DIY or enough money to drop it off at “the shop.” Many swap projects ultimately end up in a state of limbo, engine bays barren and half-assembled cylinder heads still wrapped up in moving blankets long after the motivation withered.

The more complex examples of these mix-and-matches require an immense amount of perseverance and mechanical aptitude, or else a fat check to see them through to the running, driving end. This is an example of the former, and one of the most involved stories of home-brewed engineering we’ve ever come across.

It’s told in much greater detail over on the Grassroots Motorsports forum thread where the owner, a one “mke,” details the work he’s done over the course of the last decade and change (and we encourage anyone with some time on his or her hands or a hankering for some terrific procrastination fuel to read it in full right here), but here are the basics: engineer has a 1984 Ferrari 308 GTS QV and a V12 from a Ferrari 400i that was pulled from a junkyard, and wants to combine them. Engineer doesn’t mind putting a new motor in the car, but wants to retain the sincerity of the “Quattrovalvole” badge next to the license plate so sources a four-valve Testarossa head from the same junkyard to play Dr. Frankenstein with. Engineer proceeds to bore the motor out from 4.8 to 5.4 liters, machine his own camshafts, and embark on what can only be called a Homeric odyssey of metal work to harmonize it all.

The build is nearing completion and is purportedly going to make horsepower in the 900 range once it’s all buttoned up (mke mentions nitrous should he fall short of those figures, naturally), but regardless of the outcome’s exact degree of incredible, this is one of those adventures where the journey is at least as enjoyable as the destination. Hop over to the forum thread linked above to build it vicariously. Prepare to scrape your jaw off the floor and feel complete inadequacy and awe at the same time.

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mark gemellocattivoDistraxiJB21RockdadPeter J Smith Recent comment authors
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JB21
JB21

This is really amazing. You guys need to do an in-depth feature on this one.

Rockdad
Rockdad

There’s no way a 400i V-12 will put out 900HP without nitrous. I built a 365/4 engine with hollow racing camshafts and nitrous that put out far less. It’s just not possible with this engine without either a turbo or nitrous.

Distraxi
Distraxi

There’s very little 400i left in this engine except the V angle and bore spacing: he’s modified everything else to the point that the only Ferrari left is a small fraction of the raw aluminum. You’re essentially saying “it’s not possible to get 900hp out of a random 5.4l engine”. Which is a harder argument to support.

Rockdad
Rockdad

Perhaps you meant “remachine” the camshafts instead of “machine” them. Camshafts are machined, heat treated, then ground to specifications.

mark gemellocattivo
mark gemellocattivo

They are new, machined from 8620 billet, drilled on the mill, roughed on the lathe, lobes rough ground, heat treated, then the finish ground. Web cams did the finish work.

Peter J Smith
Peter J Smith

Where is this mythical junkyard this engineer is visiting? A 400i, Testarossa heads, sonds like Heaven!

Rockdad
Rockdad

GT Car Parts in Phoenix, AZ is the place to find Ferrari parts such as these.

Chad C.
Chad C.

There aren’t words for how great this is. The self-efficacy that produced this is as impressive as the end result.

mark gemellocattivo
mark gemellocattivo

Thanks!