LS Fest West 2024: Autocross

05/01/2024

LS Fest West 2024: Autocross

05/01/2024

In the muscle-bound world of LS Fest West, it isn't all about brute force. Enter autocross, where finesse meets fury, and handling reigns supreme. It's a trifecta of power, vehicular athleticism, and driving ability, all condensed into a thrilling spectacle – a dance of precision that combines ballet-like grace and bull-riding brawn. With cones marking the battlefield, the otherwise mundane Las Vegas Motor Speedway lot transforms into a grueling arena, testing the limits of human ability and machine mettle in a relentless pursuit of perfection. In other words, an ideal exhibition of LS power in all its glorious forms.

LS-Swapped Sleeper BMW E30

What started as a mild sporty car with a modest 100-horsepower inline-six engine has transformed into an LS-swapped sleeper. The clean aesthetics and trim, conservative bodywork of this somewhat vintage BMW are now coupled with the raw, muscular prowess of an American V8. Kyle Hanson's LS-swapped 1985 BMW 325 is a combination that wouldn't have existed without enthusiasts like him.


Kyle, hailing from Ogden, Utah, used Holley Performance front accessories, a Terminator X, and Sikky swap kit to install this 5.3L LS. Despite the added mass of this iron-block engine, the car's weight distribution is nonetheless fairly even at around 52/48-percent front and back, respectively. Hanson's E30 maintains its road-going practicality, retaining features like air conditioning, power steering, and stock suspension. With approximately 10,000 miles logged since the swap, Hanson's BMW has proven to be not only powerful but also reliable.


Inside the cockpit, Hanson has struck a balance between performance and comfort, installing LMP seats and a four-point roll bar for added safety during spirited driving. However, for long road trips, he switches back to the stock seats for added convenience. While the hood vents and wheels provide clues to the car's capabilities, the overall appearance remains understated, in line with Hanson's desire for a sleeper build. Even a factory-appearing single muffler exits under the rear bumper.


Behind the LS is an F-body T-56 from American Powertrain. Out back is a rear end from an E36 BMW. Wilwood clutch/brake pedals help for tight packaging inside, along with Wilwood brakes front and rear. Kyle built custom hangers to make the brakes work on an E36-swapped rear differential.


Kyle said people have mixed reactions to his creation; young people often love the combination of LS power and BMW style, but many older diehards aren't fans of the pristine BMW losing its original heart. Kyle is unphased, though. This is his first time at LS Fest West and we found him at the autocross first thing Friday.


With his LS-powered BMW, he proves that with vision, dedication, and a little bit of horsepower, anything is possible on four wheels.

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