That’s not to say that Rich has skimped on quality parts where it counts, however. The engine is running on a Haltech Elite 2500 ECU, a quality option that’s far from the cheapest on the market. It’s paired with a digital dash to keep an eye on vital engine functions, though Rich also hopes to get some of the original Tesla gauge cluster working too.
With everything rigged up and the team waiting with bated breath, the flick of a cheap light switch brings the LS3 burbling into life. Of course, with no headers fitted and the ECU running a very rough base tune, there’s plenty of pops and bangs, and even some flames from raw fuel burning as it gets sprayed out of the open exhaust ports. However, no harm was done, and the team yell, cheer, and run around in circles celebrating their success. Wouldn’t you?
The rest of the project is moving along, too. The car now features a boxy transmission tunnel with plenty of room for the new driveshaft to run down the center of the car. Reportedly the first aluminum welding effort by team member Joshua, it’s a testament to the quality of work one can produce after reading one welding book. Rich also notes that there should be room for the circular tube exhausts under the car, though a side-exit setup will be necessary as there’s no easy way to snake the pipes past the rear suspension to the rear.
It’s a compelling project, and not just for the comedy value of swapping a V8 into a formerly electric car. It’s great to simply share in the fun with a bunch of car enthusiasts having a good time on a wild project. We can’t wait to see the car, fittingly nicknamed ICE-T, ripping fat, noisy burnouts—much to the confusion of any onlooking Tesla owners.
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