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The Engine Swap Hall of Fame:
Hilly’s Audi V8 Lotus Esprit

November 10, 2011 by Matt

Hilly Lotus Esprit S3 Audi ABZ V8 Engine Motor Swap Motorgeek

For anyone interested in wild and wacky engine-and-chassis pairings, visit the Motorgeek community Projects subforum. On any given week, there are at least two dozen projects underway involving major engine relocation (a mid-engined V8 Golf, for example), completely custom sheetmetal fabrication and insane power builds. It’s mostly Audi- and VW-related, but some non-VAG stuff does pop in from time to time.

One of my all-time favorite project threads on Motorgeek is dedicated to Hilly’s Audi 4.2l V8 and 6-speed transaxle swap into an S3 Lotus Esprit. Ditching the anemic and temperamental stock 4-cylinder engine, Hilly went for Audi’s all-aluminum unit, in the process creating a sort of proto-twin-turbo V8 Esprit, a homemade version of what the automaker would later do themselves. You can browse the whole build thread here (it’s worth the read); I’ve grabbed a few highlights:



Hilly Lotus Esprit S3 Audi ABZ V8 Engine Motor Swap Motorgeek

The old Lotus 4-banger on the way out. Pretty cam covers, but a relatively weak 172 hp. The Citro├źn-sourced 5-speed transaxle is attached.

Hilly Lotus Esprit S3 Audi ABZ V8 Engine Motor Swap Motorgeek

A surprisingly large amount of room is vacated by the old engine.

Hilly Lotus Esprit S3 Audi ABZ V8 Engine Motor Swap Motorgeek

The transplant: A 4.2l Audi ABZ V8 from a first-generation A8. Its 295 hp represents a nice, healthy bump over the stock engine’s power.

Hilly Lotus Esprit S3 Audi ABZ V8 Engine Motor Swap Motorgeek

A little custom sump and oil pan modification had to be performed in order for the engine to clear one of the frame rails.

Hilly Lotus Esprit S3 Audi ABZ V8 Engine Motor Swap Motorgeek

Custom drive belt pulley arrangement and crank trigger for the engine management system.

Hilly Lotus Esprit S3 Audi ABZ V8 Engine Motor Swap Motorgeek

Hilly’s completely custom billet-machined and anodized shift linkage is a work of art. The powder-coated custom transmission mount is apparent, too.

Hilly Lotus Esprit S3 Audi ABZ V8 Engine Motor Swap Motorgeek

Tagging the wiring harness in order to mate all the sensors and electronics from the body to the engine properly.

Hilly Lotus Esprit S3 Audi ABZ V8 Engine Motor Swap Motorgeek

As it comes from the factory, the S3 Esprit sports inboard rear brakes attached to the transmission. Hilly fabricated bespoke rear brake caliper mounts to relocate the stopping gear outboard to the wheels.

Hilly Lotus Esprit S3 Audi ABZ V8 Engine Motor Swap Motorgeek

Going in!

Hilly Lotus Esprit S3 Audi ABZ V8 Engine Motor Swap Motorgeek

Beautiful TIG welding on the custom exhaust, including crossover x-pipe.

Hilly Lotus Esprit S3 Audi ABZ V8 Engine Motor Swap Motorgeek

She’s in! With the specially-made engine cover surround, it looks like it’s always been there.

And the beast in action!

Editor’s note: This post is part of an ongoing series showcasing awesome engine swaps and builds. Read the other installments here:

Filed under: Audi, Engine Swap Hall of Fame, Lotus, Technical, Tinkering

2 Comments

  1. Pete says:

    Hi i love your build what nice work you do i have some questions for you if your willing to help me out ? the question is about the tirgger wheel. im working on a 2001 audi s4 and i have to move the vr senson from the fly wheel like the v8 you have and move it to the front like you did

    hope to hear from you

    thanks for your time

    Pete

    E-mail is

    palpal2071@gmail.com

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