77 Scorpion Engine Swapping Recommendation

Discussion in 'X1/20 Forum' started by alex_dodge1977, Apr 4, 2017.


Engine Choice Suggestions

  1. Honda

    0 vote(s)
  2. Other

    4 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. alex_dodge1977

    alex_dodge1977 New Member

    Tappan, NY 10983
    Good day folks. This is my first time posting and I'm in need of some suggestions. I'm in the process of restoring a 77 Scorpion and my son offered me the engine out of his Civic. It's a turbo charged 1.8 L engine he use to race with. The motor is strong and pulls hard. I would still rebuild the Lancia motor to bring it back to original if desired but would love to play with some real horse power for a change. Any suggestions would be most appreciated. Thanks
  2. Pete Whitstone

    Pete Whitstone True Classic

    McKinney, TX
    If you're interested in keeping it Italian, the Alfa 3.0l V6 swap has been done a couple times. Ken Stevenson here on the forum has a very nice example. Ken Haven (what is it with Ken's and Scorpion engine swaps?) has turbocharged his, and is now taking that out and putting in a Toyota engine. Scott Hay also has a Toyota engine in his.

    I was contemplating a 89-95 Taurus SHO V6 swap in transverse configuration before I decided to do the full 037 thing.

    Nothing wrong with a Honda engine either, I have a K20 in my X.

    The Scorpion engine bay is very roomy, and if the rumors are to be believed, it was to come with a V6 from the factory before they reduced it to a I4, so if you went the V6 route you would be completing the evolution of the car on some level. Some of the lesser Ferrari's (Dino's I think) came with a V6... hmmm....

  3. kmead

    kmead Old enough to know better

    I would consider the Honda/Acura V6 and 6 speed manual from a two generations old Acura TLS

    Compact, light, plenty of power and is a good looking engine unlike many other modern engines. That cover plate could easily be excised and add a proper Lancia logo...

    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
  4. motoTrooper

    motoTrooper True Classic

    Actually that is very close to what Ken Haven ended up putting into his Scorp. Here's his blog:


    I've seen his car and the work is very impressive. Still getting wiring sorted but he started it up and it sounded great.
  5. motoTrooper

    motoTrooper True Classic

  6. lanciahf

    lanciahf True Classic

    New Jersey
    I would leave it stock or maybe a 2l. Scorpions are hard enough to restore without the added challenge of an engine swap. Having said that I vote for a WRX motor, but I think the tranny is too long.
  7. X1/9Cruiser

    X1/9Cruiser True Classic

    Seminole, FLA
    The VW R32 V6 engine would be another candidate. Reasonably compact, plenty of power and torque, and sweet sounding from what I hear. Of course that Dino V6 would be perfect if you have deeper pockets :)
  8. kmead

    kmead Old enough to know better

    The narrow angle V, VW VR6, would be an interesting swap as it harks back to the Lancia V4 which was also narrow angle and used a single head for both banks. Compact, decent power and good transmissions out there. Clutch is already hydraulic and gear selection is on top of the transmission so relatively easy to change over to the Lancia mechanism.

    These engines can be found in junk yards pretty easily in A4 based GTIs, Jettas and some Passats.

    On your original note, I would look for the guide done by one of our members in the past who installed a Honda B series motor into an X as a good primer for what you are facing with this project. I will have a look and post the link to it.
  9. alex_dodge1977

    alex_dodge1977 New Member

    Tappan, NY 10983
    Thank you one and all for your great suggestions. I will digest what was recommended and decide which way to go. Have a great day and I surely will be back.
  10. kmead

    kmead Old enough to know better

    We really enjoy seeing what people do, we especially love builds and when people share the process.

    As I said there was a great write up by a member, Walter Biswanger, you can find it here

  11. Rod Midkiff

    Rod Midkiff True Classic

    Eugene, OR
    That was a great write up.. just cut/pasted it to the 2nd hard drive.
  12. bratboy

    bratboy Low Mileage

    So I know this is an old thread, but I came across it and had to reply. I don't have an Italian car at the moment and I never have, currently it's British although the x19 and Scorpion have always piqued my interest. I still remember the two x19 I test drove moons ago, and the silver scorpion that lived in and around Victoria BC. I'm dying to know what happened to that car. I also love the idea of an engine swap in an old car because of the extra power, more reliability and cleaner emissions dot-... with better economy! So here are my two cents worth for those that still care!

    I like the idea of staying away from a Japanese drivetrain in a European car, even though the Elise is this combination. There's just something that doesn't seem right about it. So to me the ultimate conversion would be an Ecotec Turbo from a Cobalt with the six-speed transmission from a Saab. We're talking 260 horsepower and foot pounds of torque stock. Getting it to 300 in both categories is a mere software update and it will do those numbers reliably all day long. There's an Ecotec tuning book written by GM that is available in PDF on the internet that goes into how people can get 1500 horsepower out of this engine. They are quite Bulletproof. The Annoying Thing is getting the ECU to be stand alone. But it would be a hell of a conversion, especially since the engine is largely designed by lotus for Saab so it's still European even if it's made by a bunch of monkeys somewhere in the states.

    The easier conversion that would not be as cool... What can I say I love that stratified fuel injection torque you get at 1800 RPM in the Ecotec... Would be an Audi 1.8 turbo or even better the 2L Turbo. The 1.8 Turbo is available at wrecking yards all over the place as a Volkswagen, but of course you're going to want to find an Audi valve cover so it makes a car feel more current Lamborghini... You know, Italian car with some German DNA in the drivetrain... Or something to the affect! So the 1.8 T is quite cheap and converting the ECU to standalone is quite common. The power from this engine would make the Scorpion crazy fun. The 2 L version is closer to the Ecotec because of the displacement and fuel injection system but is more complicated to set up. And once again you can find a 6-speed transmission for these engines.

    I have not measure these engines and compare them to the Scorpion engine bay, mostly because I haven't gotten close to buying one and there aren't exactly many around me up here in the great white redneck North. I hope this is food for thought and that I sound semi rational. Hopefully the Flaming won't be too bad!
  13. kmead

    kmead Old enough to know better

    The alternative engine swap thread actually documents swapping this engine into an X.

    The Ecotec also has roots at Fiat which makes it just a bit more appropriate for a Fiat group car
    autox19 likes this.
  14. Chad C.

    Chad C. True Classic

    Eugene, Oregon
    image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg
    For me the clear and proven choice if you're keen on a swap is the Alfa Romeo Busso V6, but I'm pretty ok with the venerable twin cam. My Former Alfa's V6 had more charisma than any motor I've experienced. Perfectly smooth, all alloy, effortless revs, torque, and its famous soundtrack...

    Several people have completed the swap with super car results. The 24 valve version will net the 100hp per 1000lb benchmark without upgrades. The 3.0 12 valve gives a respectable 185hp. Each uses the Alfa 164 transaxle for the swap.

    I like the Toyota MR2, but that's not the car I bought. Instead I made a much more uh, bold choice and I accept the challenges that come with it. For me, that challenge is to wring 150hp out of a twin cam Lampredi. As much as I love the Busso V6, I love a set of dual Webers and a lumpy set of cams even more. I love good old-fashioned engine building more than a stand-alone ECU.

    Building a period-correct car to my own specs is a very cool challenge. So much so that I may stick with a set of points over an electronic ignition just for period correctness. I like the occasional snort & pop from the carbs, the all-encompassing induction sound just behind my head, and the global search for that which came from the Faza catalog 40 years ago. I grew up with the JC Whittney catalog next to the toilet, and I've been making parts lists since I was 12. For satisfaction, bolt-on upgrades on a modern powerplant just can't compare with time spent port matching or applying the math required to shim a set of 40/80 cams.

    I don't care that my Volvo Cross Country Turbo will still be faster from 0-60 than my 150hp Scorpion. I know which one is more engaging to drive to at its limits. I sure as hell don't want a 5 cilynder Volvo motor in my Scorpion...

    I'd never disparage anyone who does an engine swap. I appreciate the engineering & problem solving required, and I strongly believe that an owner should feel free to do whatever they want with their car. That said, what it is that draws us to this particular car should be closely considered in terms of to swap or not to swap.
  15. bratboy

    bratboy Low Mileage


    Seriously? Do tell. I think for the ease of finding the drivetrain, the future of Parts availability and the power and efficiency makes the Ecotec a really strong Contender. Once again, the Audi Volkswagen engine is much easier to find and far easier to install in terms of the electronics. Either would be awesome.
  16. bratboy

    bratboy Low Mileage

    I do understand what you're saying. I think it really depends on what a person wants to do. I think a lot of people are looking for more so what I would call seriously more power than what the V6 would deliver, and easy Parts sourcing which is the only reason I would do one of the four cylinder conversions, IE Audi or Ecotec. That and I like the efficiency. Your V6 idea would definitely be fun and the sound and look would be amazing. For me, the idea of having a source the parts if I needed them would probably drive me nuts and I'd always want to have that 240 horsepower lump sitting in the back! I'm slowly planning a Festiva build at the moment and I can tell you it will not be getting I normally aspirated 1.6!
  17. kmead

    kmead Old enough to know better

  18. NM850

    NM850 True Classic

    Albuquerque NM
    For me it has to stay Italian. I have run many a Busso (street and track) and do love that engine.
    Since you too love the Busso here’s another idea for you. A Busso can run on triple Webers and lumpy cams also. The possibilities are endless .
  19. RJ80

    RJ80 True Classic

    Kitsap, WA
    A Busso engine would definitely be my choice were I to contemplate an engine swap. That said, while the belt change isn't too tricky on my Alfa Milano Verde, it would be cramped quarters in the back of a Scorpion. Maybe no worse than with the original engine? The worst job would be any work on the V-6's rear bank -- a cylinder head gasket would probably have to be an engine-out job. Even a valve adjustment would be tricky, I think. Also, Alfa parts aren't cheap -- typically not as bad as Porsche parts (yikes!) but most bits are multiples of what the equivalent Fiat twin-cam part is. And there's 50% more engine.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2019
  20. ecohen2

    ecohen2 True Classic

    Arlington Va

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