Can You Put A New Engine In A Classic Car?


Owning a classic car can hold so many fun memories and bring a lot of joy to one’s life. There are many components to a classic car that make it as such: a classic. Each owner, however, may choose to change a few things here and there to their particular taste. One car owner can have a completely different preference compared to another. But there seems to be a big question among classic car owners and many aren’t sure if it’s possible or if it’s even a good idea.

Can you put a new engine in a classic car? It is entirely possible to put a new engine in a classic car to replace the old one. You will need to make sure it is compatible with the transmission and other components of the car for it to work, but many people have done it to give their classic car more power.

Once an owner decides to replace the engine in his/her classic car, there are usually a slew of other questions that need to be answered. There’s a lot more to it than just replacing the engine. I have rebuilt several classic cars, all of which I have replaced the engine. Through my own experiences and personal trial and error, I can help answer other questions you may have about this subject.

How To Put A New Engine In A Classic Car

Anyone who has pulled an engine out of a car know that it’s not exactly the easiest project to do, but is certainly doable if you have a few Saturdays to do it and a buddy to help. Review the steps you’ll need to take to finish this project before getting started and be sure you have the right tools to get the job done.

Have a box of plastic baggies handy as well as some scotch tape and a sharpie marker. You’ll want to label every single wire you disassemble from the engine so reassembling will be much easier. Any bolts you take off should be placed in a plastic baggie with a clear label on it. Take hundreds of pictures during the process so you won’t have any question about what goes where.

First, you’ll need to find what engine you want to put in it. You can either find a donor engine or purchase a crate engine, either way has proven to work well. Be sure to do your research before buying it and make sure it is compatible with your car. You’ll especially need to make sure it’s compatible with your transmission or that you can at least get an adapter for it.

You’ll also need to remove the hood of your car because it’ll get in the way of your engine hoist otherwise. Make sure you have some sort of rope or chain handy to wrap around the engine to lift it out when the time comes. You’ll need to have enough space to store the engine hoist with the engine one it for at least a few days until you finish your project.

Once you find a place to put the old engine, attach the new engine to the engine hoist and lower it into the engine bay. By this point, you should have the engine mounts in the right place and know where they’re going to connect to the frame.

The more times you do something like this, the faster you’ll get. If this is your first time, don’t get frustrated with yourself because it’ll probably take you a while to complete the whole engine replacement process.

Pros And Cons Of Putting A New Engine In A Classic Car

There are many advantages as well as disadvantages to replacing the engine in your classic car. When it comes down to it, it all depends on you as the owner of the classic car and what your personal preferences are since you are the one who is driving it.

The first advantage of adding a new engine to your classic car is that it will usually give you more power. Older engines tend to keep you going slower than 60 miles per hour which, for a classic car enthusiast, can be a little painful. New engines give you the freedom to ride around the neighborhood and show off your ride or ride it down the highway to the next town over.

The second biggest advantage is that you’ll have less maintenance and more reliability. Older engines have a tendency to leak, overheat, and just straight up break down during the worst times because they are, well, old. Having that new engine will give you the peace of mind that your classic ride will take you from A to B without problems.

The disadvantage of putting a new engine in your classic is that you take out a huge part of it’s originality. Many argue that all parts of a classic car should be preserved at all costs, even if that means a little discomfort for the driver. The engine is kind of the heart and soul of a classic car, so you’d basically be giving it a heart transplant by replacing the engine.

The other disadvantage may be that replacing the engine may require you to replace other parts in the engine bay, too, simply because other parts may not be compatible with the technology of a new engine. It can get a bit pricey after adding up all the replacement parts you’ll need to get.

Does Adding A New Engine Decrease A Classic Car’s Value?

The answer to this question is entirely relevant and is a big argument among classic car enthusiasts. Obviously, any huge modifications made to a classic car per a specific person’s taste will decrease the value of the car. But usually a new engine doesn’t fall under that category.

There are a lot of purests out there that claim a car is only classic if you keep the original engine in it. While that is a valid point, some classic cars don’t have a chance at that because of the stock engine they came with. It’s hard for an engine to last 50 years without rebuilding it. Often times before a car became a classic, owners replaced the engine anyway. And that is possibly why people say that original engines are more rare and therefore worth more.

However, because original engines aren’t as powerful and may hold some reliability issues, other classic car enthusiasts straight up prefer having a new engine in the car anyway. They may purposely seek out a car that has a new engine because that means less work for them in the future.

While it is incredible to be able to claim that your classic car “is all original,” its not detrimental that you replace in engine in it because chances are, someone either already did years before or you’ll find people who prefer that anyway.

Cost Of Putting A New Engine In A Classic Car

Aside from body work, replacing the engine in a classic car can be one of the most expensive fixes during the restoration process. This is especially true if you don’t do it yourself and pay a professional to do it.

You can expect to pay about $1,500 – $4,000 for the engine itself. If you plan on buying a used engine, the price range decreases a little bit. If you plan on installing the engine yourself, then you’ll save yourself a lot of money and will have minimal future costs for the new engine installation. If you plan on having a professional do it, plan on an additional $1,500 – $3,000 for labor since this is a time consuming project.

Putting an engine in yourself is doable even for a first-timer. With the world of the internet at our fingertips, you can learn how to do just about anything, especially on cars. If you have the motivation and desire, try installing the engine yourself with the help of a friend. The only thing you’ll lose is time. If you get stuck, take it to a mechanic. That way you know you at least tried.

If you succeed with your engine transplant, you’ll be able to drive your classic car and take it to shows with the satisfaction of your accomplishment.

Related Questions

Is classic car insurance expensive? Insurance for classic and antique cars tend to be more expensive than just regular car insurance. This is mostly due to the fact that classic cars appreciate, meaning their value increases over time. It is very important to get insurance on your classic car.

Can you switch from drum brakes to disc brakes on a classic car? It is possible to switch from drum brakes to disc brakes on a classic car. In fact, it is recommended you do so because disc brakes are much more reliable and safer than drum brakes. It is, however, quite expensive to do so.

Recent Posts