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Unveiling the World’s First V8 Tesla at SEMA

Posted by: Jesse Kleib on November 15, 2021

In this day and age, the prevalence of the electric motor swap is certainly gaining some momentum. I don’t think it’s quite as popular as the LS swap has been over the years but in time, maybe we will see a little bit of a battle for market share there.

However, no matter which way we look, it’s hard to deny the fact that electric vehicles are certainly getting their feet beneath them. Some might even say that electric power is the way of the future.

This time, though, we check in with a swap that has never been done until now. The idea kind of reverse engineers what has been going on in the automotive market. Debuting at SEMA, Rich Benoit of Rich Rebuilds would show off a Tesla unlike any other. Instead of taking Tesla power and sticking it in another vehicle, the exact opposite would happen here.

In place of the original electric powertrain, Rich would find a Camaro SS engine as a donor. Over the course of a couple of years, he would take the LS3 from the car and figure out a way to fashion it into a Tesla Model S.

While some people might think that their engine swap is difficult because they need to find the right motor mounts and which transmission will fit, Rich basically built an entire car for himself. The body is a Tesla but don’t get it confused. Everything from the transmission tunnel all the way to the rear and had to be custom-built because Tesla’s design lacks many components that one would find in a combustion-powered vehicle – not just the engine. Even having the engine mounted upfront is a challenge because that space used to be nothing more than a trunk!

By following along with the future below from RacingJunk, we go over the build and learn a little bit about how this thing came together.

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