We are Garret and Steve Van Swearingen, a father son duo who put a Corvette engine (LS1) in our 1987 e30.
Check out our extensive build thread over at r3vlimited.com http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=94451&highlight=garretvs
The car originally started out as my first car in high school. Ever since I was a kid, my dad (Steve) and I have wanted to build a hotrod. Through the years we’ve had lots of wild schemes. When I was in high school we started dreaming about Mercedes w123 touring that we could stuff a v8 in and make an awesome sleeper. Around the same time we saw that a a guy in Europe had stuffed a GTO engine in his e30 and decided that since we already owned an e30 this was the only proper course of action. Within a month we had ordered our LS1 from a junkyard with a destroyed Z28 Camaro. It came with a 6 speed t56 transmission and the driveshaft from the Camaro. 45,000 miles. It was perfect. After a weekend of thrashing the old m20 to the point it was billowing white smoke, we started ripping apart our engine bay.
That was the summer of 2006, the year before I entered college. For the next year, as we figured out how to cram the big v8 into our little e30 I came home on weekends from school and by the next summer we had our e30-ls1 on the road. Of course we had to document our progress during the build so we created build threads on r3vlimited.com and bimmerforums.com. A lot of people loved what we were doing, and we even managed to get featured on a few car blogs (jalopnik.com, thetruthaboutcars.com, among others). We couldn’t have been happier with how it turned out. It was just as light and nimble as the e30 had been before the swap, due to virtually no weight gain from the aluminum block of the LS1, but it had endless power!
Eventually, due to the overwhelming response from the message boards, we compiled all the pictures and engineering diagrams we had taken for the message boards and compiled them into a massive 200 page PDF that would serve as a guide for others to do the swap as well. There seemed to be quite a few people buying the guide so the natural evolution of the project was to pull the parts that we had made out of the car and design a kit to make the swap a direct bolt in for those without access or time to bother with fabricating their own parts.
We are loving that others are sharing in the awesomeness of the e30ls1.