We see a lot of unconventional engine swaps here at Drive, and they all make you wonder, “Why did you go and do that?” From a 2JZ on a tractor to a Tesla with a 6.2-liter V8, some of these projects raise eyebrows, while others just piss people off. The newest of these—I’ll get straight to the chase—is of the latter kind. Personally, I think it’s great. Puritan corvettes? Maybe not so much.
Yes, some fans from a shop in Georgia called Unruly Motorsports decided that their C6 Corvette didn’t cut it in stock form. The 6.0 liter LS2 isn’t what the doctor ordered, I guess. What they were more interested in was installing a turbocharged four-cylinder K24 from Honda. In fact, they are doing that as I write this.
I spoke to Kevin Prescott, one of the brains behind the operation along with his friend Austin Brown who turned the stock ‘Vette into a Honda-powered drag racer. He said he did it simply because he loved the powerful little four-cylinder engine from the Japanese automaker, and a love for racing under the lights. As far as negative reactions went, he didn’t understand. I don’t understand why everyone took it [so] personal,” he told me, clearly amused. “That’s not their car.”
The project started in earnest a few days ago when a 6.0-liter V8 spun around, powered the Corvette to the store, and then got ripped off. Prescott says he’s already found a buyer for it, unlike the rear-mounted transaxle that comes with the vehicle from the factory. This was replaced by a solid 8.8-inch axle from Ford, a popular mod for drag racers. All the same, the mono-leaf front and rear suspension won’t survive the swap. Unruly Motorsports has got a full set of customizable coilovers from the QA1 to precisely set up car stances and drag racing launches.
Speaking of things that aren’t quite stocked anymore, the K24 that’s been installed in the engine room isn’t anything special. It has new forged rods, forged pistons and 11:1 compression to take advantage of all its new boost, which comes from a 67mm turbo with dual ceramic ball bearings. The block itself has a covered deck for increased rigidity, and Prescott says this combination should be enough to hold up to the 900 horsepower he wants to build. In fact, this machine has been made close to that before.
“I made 828 [hp] for just 20 pounds [of boost]”he told me, referring to previous builds with this engine. “We never started it,” he said, explaining in detail how a collapsed vacuum line caused the turbocharger to increase spikes to 42 psi, lifting heads in the block. “That’s why it’s now separate.”
Prescott noted how some claim the K24—a 2.4-liter DOHC engine—will be as heavy or heavier than the aluminum V8 pushrod that came with the car. He said he weighed both, and that wasn’t the case. “LS2 is like 488 [pounds] and K24 is 318 [pounds]turbos, manifolds and all,” he told me. “From what we’ve done, I think we’re in the 3,000 pound range.”
What would also help is the fact that they ditched the Corvette’s torque tube and used a conventional driveshaft. The new gearbox was originally planned to be a four-speed 200R4 with overdrive; however, they were worried about damaging it by performing a dyno pull, so they decided to use a two-speed Powerglide instead. Equipped with a loose torque converter tuned to stop at 4,500 rpm, it’s a solid choice for the quarter mile. There’s going to be a lot of thrust and a lot of fire from the fender-mounted exhaust before this Honda-powered C6 gets off track.
And yes, for those curious, someone made a kit to adapt the Powerglide to the K24. To quote Prescott, you only need to know a man.
The hope is to bring the car to hot rodNext year’s Drag Week, a week-long competition where cars have to stumble, race, and then stumble again onto multiple dragstrips across the country. It was a grueling event, but Prescott thought that once the car was ready with the cage, the right tires, and the right turn, it would be pretty fast. “This bike is what we’re testing,” he told me. Once they get the K-Series setup right and have the know-how to do a final build, he thinks they can pull off some really impressive numbers. “I would love to get this thing at seven lows, six highs in the quarter—long term.”
That, if I had to guess, would make Corvette purists pause before typing an angry comment. Or maybe not. Prescott didn’t seem to care.
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