Most people don’t immediately think of a 911 when they hear the term “engine swap”, because when “911” is spoken, a sense of delicate nostalgia fills their hearts and they would rather die than swap out that symphonic flat 6, right? Wrong. The Porsche 911 is an icon to its core undoubtedly, but the idea that they are untouchable and completely sacred is ignorant.
What Motor Is Worthy Of a Porsche?
In the past few years enthusiasts that could never afford a 911 or any other Porsche before are now starting to realize it is okay to buy them as shells and give them their own flavor, enter Subaru motors. This is a real thing. And before people declare blasphemy and throw their laptops reading this, just hear me out.
If you are looking for a cheap engine, more often than not, the engine you’re going to find on Craigslist is either a small block, an SR20, or a WRX motor. WRXs get a bad rap from the enthusiast community mostly because of the sheer number of them on the road and the drivers themselves, but these people aren’t driving them for no reason.
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The E series motors found in the Subaru WRX are considered to be extremely well built power plants. They are reliable, sound good, and capable of making great power. The best thing though is the price. They are dirt cheap and you can go out and find one in a junkyard everywhere, they made so many of them that you can practically hear that rumble echoing for miles in every direction.
4 Reasons Why a Subaru Motor Swap Is A Good Idea
Firstly, 911s are getting expensive to an unattainable point. A decent G-series car is $40,000-$50,000 at the low end and the people who want one with a Porsche flat 6, can’t afford it. So, they go buy one with no motor for half the price and swap in the WRX motor.
Secondly, the EJ and EG Subaru motors are flat fours and flat sixes, which keeps the weight distribution and engine-bay geometry as close as possible to how it would be with the OEM flat 6. Even I, somewhat of a purist, would tip my hat to the gentleman or lady who does this swap because at least I have the piece of mind, knowing those cylinder-heads are transposed horizontally, that’s enough for me.
Thirdly, maintenance on a WRX motor is going to be A LOT cheaper than its Porsche counterpart. And the engine itself is cheaper to buy. Spending 5 minutes comparing 911 and WRX crate motors online will tell you that finding a decent Porsche motor will be just as expensive as your 911 shell itself. Of course, accessing the motor is always a little more difficult than a front engined Subaru, so labor costs are going to be hiked up a bit, but it won’t get much easier than finding parts for a WRX.
Fourth and finally, we get introspective. My point is, a build like this is finally something fresh in the Porsche aftermarket community. Sure, we have Singer, Guntherworks, and Aime Leon Dore 964s but these are cars that are multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars and show up way too often at Porsches and Coffee these days. It seems like every other brand (save a few at the top like Ferrari and Lamborghini) have seen it all with the aftermarket builders, except Porsche. Every American car has seen a new V8 swap here, every Japanese car has seen an RB swap there, and with the amount of old 911s still out there, it’s time everyone stops being so picky about their 911 and do something unique.
And it really is just the 911s sadly. The 944, Cayman, and Boxster have all seen it all from their crazy owners and been spared from the hate, but when a twin turbo Chevy LS7 finds its way underneath that 997, it’s complete sacrilege. I don’t expect a Japanese motor to receive any less outrage, but I would like to hear an ear-shattering blow off noise come from a non-turbo 911 one day.
See you in my next story in which I discuss Porsche's statement on Florida Taycan garage fire.
Max Larsen is the Porsche reporter at Torque News. Since he was 15 years old Max was building old cars and selling them for profit, spawning his love for cars. He has been around Porsches his entire life. His grandpa had several 911s and he owned a Porsche 944 when he was younger, which made the auto-shop class cars a lot simpler. Reading old car magazines and seeing press cars at shows gave he the passion to write and pursue the industry. He is currently studying for Journalism at Western Washington University and writing for the racing team there locally. Follow Max on Torque News Porsche and on Twitter at @maxlarsencars. Search Torque News Porsche for daily Porsche news coverage by our expert automotive reporters.