If you have an old Italian car it’s probably a good idea to sell it before the miles start piling on. Although expensive Italian cars like Maseratis are filled with stuff like spirit and passion, they don’t have the best record for reliability. Call it cliche, but it’s true. And for that reason, a genius who calls himself Dan decided to yank the twin-turbo V6 out of his 1985 Maserati Biturbo and replace it with something a little more domestic. And by domestic, I mean an LS V8-more specifically, a twin-turbocharged 5.3-liter L33 truck motor.
Dan isn’t just going with an eBay turbo kit and putting all of that power through the Maserati’s stock drivetrain. That would be a bad idea. As LS1Tech reports, he’s sourced a six-speed Tremec T56 to take the extra power and swapped the rear end out with one from a 2019 Ford Mustang GT.
He also has a sense of theater, because as you can see, the turbochargers have been mounted at the inner headlight openings on the Maserati. It’s cool details like these that can take a build to the next level, but also complicate things. Because the turbochargers are in that location, there’s no room for a radiator at the front of the car, just an intercooler to chill the intake charge. For that reason, Dan moved the radiator to the trunk of the car, cutting some big slots in the trunk lid and the area around the license plate to ensure proper airflow.
This is also a bit more impressive and interesting because Dan had nearly zero fabrication or welding experience before he started this project. He’s also doing all of the work in his driveway, which makes the list of excuses thinner and thinner for others who want to do an ambitious project like this.
After ditching the original iron-block LS for the aluminum L33, Dan replaced the truck heads with higher performance units off the Corvette. He also upgraded the fuel pump to a high-flowing Bosch 044, and new Deka 80-pound fuel injectors from Siemens. As far as the actual car goes, the modifications were a bit heavier.
The L33 V8 obviously has no business being in a Maserati Biturbo, so much of the floorplan and firewall of the car had to be… massaged. The interior was also totally gutted in preparation for this swap, which is definitely a good idea. A custom pedal box by Wilwood plans to be installed as well to make the whole process a bit smoother.
All of the information and updates pertaining to this build-known as Project Meatball-can be found on the car’s Instagram account. Dan posts pretty regular updates there, so if you’re an Instagram user that’s the place to look. He also posts on the project car subreddit. You can find a video of the engine starting for the first time at that link. Needless to say, we’re looking forward to it all being done.