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Holley LSFest West 2019

The cars that stood out most, through the eyes of a pbskids editor

Sam Du
May 10, 2019
Holley-LSFest-West-2019-Cleetus-McFarland-Corvette-Exo-Car-02

I've heard the arguments, hell, I even lived 'em. "Engine transplants should stay within the [brand] family and LS swaps are unoriginal, sacrilegious and boring." I felt this way for many years; however, as I've indulged myself at shows like SEMA every year, observed different car cultures and witnessed the interest of enthusiasts around me evolve, many of those barriers that once stood tall, have been taken down. I began spotting Honda guys buying BMWs, drag racers jumping into off-road, Japanese wheels looking right at home on Euros, and yes, LS swaps going into any coupe, sedan, wagon or truck imaginable. Let's not forget, we can't watch a round of Formula DRIFT without acknowledging the engine's superiority in the series.

I've come to terms with LS swaps, in fact, I've begun to embrace them and the car builders who aren't unscathed by the haters. This revelation has also allowed me to meet new heroes out there, for example Tyler Powell and his "Fairlady Z06", Sam Morris and his "Pistachio FD", plus many more. And now, as of this week I've done something a little bit more outside my bubble by paying a visit to my first Holley LSFest West-a three-day-long festival at Las Vegas Motor Speedway comprised of all things LS-powered.

Strolling the showgrounds, there were definitely some eye-openers...Some that made me think, "that's badass," others "that's interesting," while there were certainly some vehicles that I knew were gonna piss people off. But all in all, it was a great experience as it cracked open my mind a tad more, allowing me to accept what's become the LS phenomenon. I'll leave you with a gallery of some of the most fascinating things I saw last weekend. At the end of the day, I'm still an import guy who came from the Euro scene and works with Japanese cars 99 percent of the time today, but there's a melting pot of car enthusiasts and builders that don't care what people think and know a good engine when they see one.

Holley LSFest West 2019 Dirt Everyday Winnebago 01 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 Dirt Everyday Winnebago 02 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 Dirt Everyday Winnebago LS7 Swap 01 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 Dirt Everyday Winnebago LS7 Swap 02 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019

This was maybe the wildest thing I saw, which just so happened to belong to the guys over at Dirt Everyday—a Winnebago motorhome that's powered by an LS7 and outfitted to take on off-roading. Probably not the most ideal thing to do donuts in as you can tell from this video.

Holley LSFest West 2019 Cleetus McFarland Corvette Exo Car 01 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 Cleetus McFarland Corvette Exo Car 03 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 Cleetus McFarland Corvette Exo Car 07 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 Cleetus McFarland Corvette Exo Car 12 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019

Meet Cleetus McFarland. He's a bit of a celebrity among the Corvette guys but he's new to me (shrug). He turned this Corvette named "Leroy" into a twin-turbo exo-skeleton car and put down 1,352hp on the LSFest dyno, and he's also made a 7-second pass on the drag strip.

Holley LSFest West 2019 GMC Jimmy 05 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 GMC Jimmy 01 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 GMC Jimmy 03 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 GMC Jimmy 04 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019

I didn't come across too many polished builds, but for whatever reason, this GMC Jimmy looked the part with its lime green paint and twin-turbo LS powerplant.

Holley LSFest West 2019 John Lazorack Chrysler Conquest 01 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 John Lazorack Chrysler Conquest 02 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 John Lazorack Chrysler Conquest 05 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 John Lazorack Chrysler Conquest 06 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019

I'm a huge fan of John Lazorack III's Chrysler Conquest. Easily one of the coolest Starion/Conquest builds in recent times, maybe even history...

Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped Porsche 944 01 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped Porsche 944 02 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019

Although we didn't see under the hood, LS swaps and Porsche 944s seem to make quite a bit of sense.

Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped Volvo Wagon 01 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped Volvo Wagon 02 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped Volvo Wagon 03 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019

Came across this beat-up Volvo Station wagon with an old supercharged LS wagon under the hood. He was driving it like he stole it and gets a thumbs up from me.

Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped S13 01 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped S13 02 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019

Not sure how I feel about someone using the "Ratchet Bunny" name but as suspected, Nissan S13s were the most popular swapped Japanese imports at LS Fest.

Holley LSFest West 2019 Twin Turbo LS Mercedes 01 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 Twin Turbo LS Mercedes 02 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019

This old Mercedes doesn't look like much on the outside, but inside is a whole different story with its twin-turbo LS ...

Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped Nissan S13 01 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped Nissan S13 02 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped Nissan S15 01 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped Nissan S15 04 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 Brandon Schmidt S13 01 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 Brandon Schmidt S13 03 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019

These Nissans were all parked next to each other and looked like some serious competitors in the drift competition. I kind of cringe at the thought of a S15 Silvia with an LS but it was interesting to see.

Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped Datsun 240Z Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019

There were a handful of Datsuns on hand...

Holley LSFest West 2019 Moto IQ V8 RX701 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 Moto IQ V8 RX702 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019

Moto IQ's Project V8 RX-7

Holley LSFest West 2019 House Of Boost Mini 01 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 House Of Boost Mini 03 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 House Of Boost Mini 04 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 House Of Boost Mini 05 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019

This supercharged LS-swapped Mini from The House of Boost was one of my favorite things to look at and just be completely confused by! I wish I could've seen this little beast burn some tires but it was still mind boggling to see how they were able to make it all work.

Holley LSFest West 2019 Ryan Gordner R32 Skyline 001 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 Ryan Gordner R32 Skyline 002 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 Ryan Gordner R32 Skyline 003 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 Ryan Gordner R32 Skyline 004 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019

Another one of those interesting (and maybe slightly cringeworthy) builds was this widebody R32 Skyline with a turbo LS.

Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped Cart 001 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped Cart 002 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped Cart 003 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019

Not sure what this thing is but it just goes to show the scope of what you'll find at LS Fest. Not surprising to see things you might not even understand.

Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped Toyota HiLux001 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped Toyota HiLux002 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped Toyota HiLux003 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019

Took me a while to figure out this was a 1977 Toyota Hilux truck. Its bodywork is a bit on the "what's going on here" side, but it did look like it packed a lot of power and fun with the exposed turbo and nitrous.

Holley LSFest West 2019 Honky Donk 01 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 Honky Donk 02 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019

The Honky Donk—'67 Camaro body on a H1 Hummer chassis with a turbo LS motor. Mind blown!

Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped BMW 01 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped E36 02 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped BMW 02 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped BMW 04 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019

There wasn't a huge contingent of LS-swapped BMWs, but I was able to find these. As you can tell, some were built for drift, others for time attack.

Holley LSFest West 2019 Jason Delehay R32 Skyline 01 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 Jason Delehay R32 Skyline 03 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 Jason Delehay R32 Skyline 04 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019
Holley LSFest West 2019 Jason Delehay R32 Skyline 05 Photo 86/86   |   Holley LSFest West 2019

Last but not least, I had the pleasure of meeting pro-am Canadian drifter Jason Delehay who made the trek from Calgary. His R32 Skyline didn't look like a complete drift missile which was a relief, and it makes about 700hp thanks to a 6.0L LSx engine with TorqStorm blower. In my convo with him, he mentioned that he's gone the RB route and has tried to make it work, but for competitive drifting, the LS simply performed better and made the most sense.

  • Holley LSFest West 2019 S13 01
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 Nissan Skyline Mini
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped Z32
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped Nissan S15 05
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped Nissan S15 03
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped Nissan S15 02
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped E36 01
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped BMW 05
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped BMW 03
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 LS Swapped ATV
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 John Lazorack Chrysler Conquest 04
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 John Lazorack Chrysler Conquest 03
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 Jason Delehay R32 Skyline 06
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 Jason Delehay R32 Skyline 02
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 House Of Boost Mini 02
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 GMC Jimmy 02
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 Dirt Everyday Winnebago Sam Du
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 Dirt Everyday Winnebago 03
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 Corvettes Porsche
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 Cleetus McFarland Corvette Exo Car 11
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 Cleetus McFarland Corvette Exo Car 10
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 Cleetus McFarland Corvette Exo Car 09
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 Cleetus McFarland Corvette Exo Car 08
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 Cleetus McFarland Corvette Exo Car 06
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 Cleetus McFarland Corvette Exo Car 05
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 Cleetus McFarland Corvette Exo Car 04
  • Holley LSFest West 2019 Brandon Schmidt S13 02
By Sam Du
869 Articles

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