I love seeing the Frankenstein engine swaps. Take a little car and jam the biggest engine you can find in it. This was the recipe for bootleggers in the 1930s, muscle car fanatics of the 1960s, drifters and drag racers of modern day. I think I’ve found a legendary engine swap here on Engine Swap Depot: A Yugo with the heart of a Chevy. That’s right, an LSx V8 swap into a 1988 Yugo GV.
The Yugo is a tiny little hatchback manufactured in Yugoslavia that came to the U.S. in the late 1980s thanks to an importer named Malcom Briklin. If you do a quick Google search on it, you’ll find several articles calling it one of the worst cars ever made. This particular model, the GV, came stock with a 1.1-liter inline-four-cylinder engine that pumped out a paltry 45 horsepower. There’s even a book called, “The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History.”
By most accounts, the Yugo was poorly engineered, underpowered, and butt-ugly. You can fix one out of three of those problems by swapping out the stock inline-four for an LSx.
What do you do with a 2,200-pound car with a 5.3-Liter LSx? Hook it up with nitrous and drag race it on frozen lakes, duh! Thanks to the folks at 1320 Video, there’s footage of this bad boy screaming down the ice at 100 miles per hour where it ran a personal best of 7.88 seconds at the Merrill Ice Drags at Lake Alexander in Merrill, Wisconsin. That’s 7.88 in the 1/8 mile on ice. To give you some perspective, that would probably run about 12.3 in the quarter…on ice!
I hope that we get some follow-up action on this car when the weather warms up. I’d love to see what this little car would run at the drag strip on a summer day.