Queenslander Reece Jones bought it as just a bare shell, and after two years of concentrated work the car is ready for engineering.
“I spent the first six months planning the build and searching the internet around the world for parts,” Reece explains. “After that it’s been full-on. Luckily a good mate of mine, Jay Logan, was great with the TIG, so we started manufacturing everything at home.
“The biggest issue in fitting the LS was the length of the motor,” he continues. “Most people use a Porsche gearbox when doing any type of re-power conversion, but I didn’t have one to start with.”
Instead, Reece started working on a transaxle out of an all-wheel-drive Subaru STI. He effectively cut the last 30cm off the gearbox, made a new bellhousing, machined a new flywheel and adapted a Subaru clutch to the package.
His research led him to Tom from Subarugears, a company that makes reversed five-speed Subaru transmissions for rear-engined VWs and Porsches. He overhauled the ’box with a better set of gear ratios and even swapped out the crown wheel and pinion to suit the torque of the LS.
Even with this shortened ’box, all the accessories needed to be removed from the front of the motor to get it to fit. After an engine cradle was built from scratch, the LS fit with just 9mm to spare.
In place of the RSR oil cooler in the front of the car, Reece has fitted an early Jeep radiator that has been trimmed down, and has run all the cooling lines in hard-line alloy up through the wheelarches and across the floor of the car to a Davies Craig electric water pump and controller in the rear.
“Width-wise, there is actually a ton of room in the back of these cars, and once I get it legally registered I will fit a turbo set-up to smarten things up,” Reece reckons.
The car itself has had some serious mods too, with carbonfibre guards and fibreglass deck lid, bonnet and bumpers. The pedal box has been replaced with a Tilton 600-Series, and brakes are two-piece 300mm Rebel Racing rotors with Brembo four-spot calipers all ’round.
The engine has had a freshen-up with a mild cam and still runs a factory ECU. With horsepower in the low 400s at the tyres and the car roughly 300kg lighter than factory, it should easily run into the bottom 11s as it is. We’ll have more on this car soon.