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Sagaris Chevrolet LS7 Engine Conversion
The team is embarking on their first installation of the awesome LS7 engine into a road-going car for Paul Black and his beloved Sagaris. Paul is a prolific contributor to the forums and social TVR gatherings and interest in the project from TVR owners has snowballed.
Topcats Racing and Paul Black want to give TVR owners a chance to follow the installation process from start to finish with a weekly blog and pictures.
We start the blog with an interview with Topcats Racing Director, Warren Gilbert, to find out why the LS engine makes so much sense.
Why change the engine on a Sagaris?
The Sagaris is the flagship and last TVR model produced; we felt there was no choice but to fit a big V8 as TVR are synonymous with that type of engine and the unique V8 sound. Why have we chosen the LS Chevrolet engine?…We have spent many years on engine research, having evolved our race cars through a number of engine manufacturers and the LS engine has been tested to the limit on both our Marcos Mantis GT race cars as well as our Mosler MT900 GT3. It is without doubt the most reliable engine we have ever worked with. This is a proven engine in every race category up to Le Mans, the Corvettes have won their class year after year.
How will this benefit TVR owners?
Like Paul Black, many feel that the Speed Six just doesn’t deliver the power. The LS engine will deliver the power to whatever level the customer requires coupled with superb reliability which is what Paul yearns for. It’s light, powerful & compact, simple to upgrade if wanted and considerably cheaper to maintain. Some LS engines have been tuned 1500bhp!
What is the plan with Paul Black’s Sagaris?
To convert the Sagaris into the most tractable and fastest TVR ever made (outside of the Speed 12) using as many off the shelf components as possible and replacing anything around the engine and gearbox area that may have given slight(!!!) problems on the standard car.
Believe it or not, the conversion is as much for the benefit of Paul’s partner, Samantha, who won’t drive it because it just doesn’t give her the drivability to make her comfortable. The LS engine will sit quite happily in 5th gear at low to mid speeds without any drama, then Paul can get in it and just blow his socks off!
When did it start?
We converted our first car 18 months ago, a Cerbera with a badly damaged 4.2 engine. With the LS engine, it has now covered many thousands of miles without any faults and is a huge step in drivability and performance over the standard car. The owner, Anthony Partridge said, “The torque it delivers from low down the rev range makes it more practical for fast road driving. When I want to over-take, I just do, without having to keep the engine singing like a soprano for that gap in traffic. Plus there’s the wonderful American V8 roar which has me pinned back in my seat at every opportunity. It’s the engine the car should have had. It’s cheap to maintain and so reliable, now I just get in and drive it without any worry and it starts with the power the TVR engine can only reach. I just love it.”
We began work on Paul Black’s Sagaris last week and have removed the engine and gearbox, the new engine and gearbox arrived couple of days ago. From date of order it takes 7-10 days to import the engine.
How long does it take to do the installation?
Once all the parts have arrived in stock, installation will normally take 2-3 weeks.
What is the estimated cost of doing this?
LS conversions start at around £10,000 depending on the specification; this includes a brand new engine, TKO600 gearbox, bell housing, clutch, flywheel, prop shaft, starter motor, power steering, ECU if required, coils, stainless steel manifolds, oil coolers and air filter.
How viable is it?
I think if you are planning to keep the car or you have any TVR with a badly damaged engine it makes perfect sense, a rebuilt original engine will cost anywhere between £6-10k fitted and will still have many old or second hand parts inside; with us you get all brand new parts.
The engine should be good for 100,000+ miles without any internal maintenance
Your service costs will be far cheaper, you’ll get much better fuel consumption and the performance gains are huge.
Something that that may not have been considered by owners who are still undecided is offsetting the cost of the LS engine by selling your old one.
What are the potential pitfalls?
I honestly can’t think of any! Some people say that to remove the TVR engine is like defacing the queen’s head on a bank note. I disagree, the Griff and Chimaera use non TVR engines along with all models benefiting from lights, switches, gearboxes and brakes from other cars, even multinational motor manufacturers share platforms across model ranges. I am sure Paul will explain why he feels it is the right way forward within our blog.
What is the first stage of the conversion?
We have removed the engine, gearbox and exhaust, then we dummy fitted the new components to align for engine and gearbox mounts. The engine is now in position and we have just finished making and are fitting the gearbox and engine mounts.
Please follow us as we move on to stage 2 of the conversion next week
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