If seeing a Chevy LS engine under a classic 1970s Mopar hood gets you riled up, then Bryan Barlow has succeeded. “Honestly, I swapped the LS into the Scamp because I like to stir things up. Being a Chevy guy, I had to do it!” We can hear that last statement fading into laughter as Bryan, a Regional Account Sales Manager for Edelbrock, continues telling the story of his 1973 Plymouth Scamp.
Bryan says his passion for high performance began at an early age. “I was rebuilding engines with my Dad at 12 years old,” he said. “My entire working life has been car related. When I joined the team at Edelbrock, it was like being drafted into the major leagues. It has been a dream come true to be part of such a great heritage.”
Actually, Bryan really is a Chevy guy and prior to committing what Mopar fans would consider to be the most sacrilegious of crimes, he was diligently scouring the classifieds for a solid Chevelle, a two-door 1964-65 model to be exact. And as we all know from past experience, what we want is usually not what’s readily available. That’s when Bryan’s close friend Todd Schiewe entered the picture. Bryan says that Todd isn’t a car guy, but he certainly had the best of intentions when he called to say that he found the perfect car.
“Dude, that’s a Plymouth!” said Bryan after rushing over with high expectations of seeing a nice first-gen Chevelle only to be greeted by a ’73 Scamp. Definitely not what he had in mind for his next project car but as the search for a Chevelle continued, crazy thoughts began forming in his head. Crazy indeed.
Check out Bryan’s Edelbrock recipe for a normally aspirated 621-horsepower LS engine here:
— Pro-Flo 4 EFI ECU & Harness Kit #35711
— Pro-Flo XT EFI Intake Manifold #7139
— Victor Series LS Throttle Body #3864
— Rollin’ Thunder Cam #2219
— E-CNC Aluminum Cylinder Heads #79949
— LS Series Coil Cover Kit #4118
— Pro-Flo Universal Air Filter, Black #43640
To the average eye, the ’73 Scamp and ’64-’65 Chevelle share some basic similarities. Both are squarish two-door hardtop sedans with nearly identical wheelbases; both are relatively light in weight; and by coincidence, both are classified as A-body models by their respective manufacturers. These similarities combined with the fact that the Scamp that Todd found had original paint—rare for a 47-year-old car in spite of a few patches of rust that give this car its character—was enough for even a diehard Chevy guy like Bryan to consider jumping from the Bowtie camp over to the Pentastar.
Finally deciding to tackle the LS swap into a Chrysler A-body was one thing but getting the owner to actually part with the Scamp was another. It took six months of convincing before the owner would entertain an offer, and even then, it had to go through Todd first. So after a double transaction, the key and title to the Scamp found its way into Bryan Barlow’s hand.
While the idea of stirring things up with an LS-to-Mopar swap may have sounded like fun at first, if you know your Scamp anatomy then you know that the mechanical challenges of swapping an LS into it are considerable. Bryan called on his good friends Jack and Kyle Kolinsky, a father-and-son team that runs Kolinsky Trucking in Abbottsford, BC. While not professional custom car builders per se, the Kolinskys possessed the necessary skills and facility to perform the modifications needed to get the Chevy nestled neatly into the Mopar engine bay.
While the Autumn Bronze Plymouth body is not without its sheet-metal flaws, the 416-cubic-inch LSX reps the Edelbrock Company solidly with a full armament of go-fast parts. Ron Croteau built the block up with a Scat stroker crank and H-beam rods, Mahle pistons and a Rollin’ Thunder #2219 camshaft that comes on strong right off idle and takes the Scamp all the way up to the 621-horsepower mark. SD Performance did their magic to a set of Edelbrock #79949 E-CNC LS heads and to that, Bryan added a #7139 Pro-Flo 4 XT Intake Manifold, #35711 Pro-Flo 4 EFI ECU & Harness Kit, #3864 Victor Series throttle body, Edelbrock #4118 Coil Covers and a Pro-Flo #43640 air filter. All of this adds up to a potent combination that allowed Bryan, a specialist in LSX and EFI tuning, to squeeze every last bit of power out of the motor.
The rest of the powertrain consists of a TCI Automotive Super Street Fighter trans and converter, a 3.55:1-geared Ford rear with Strange axles and Eaton Posi, and a pair of Nitto 325/50R15 drag radials on Welds tucked neatly in the mini tubs. With a 250-shot of nitrous kept hidden but ready for action, Bryan says that his column-shifter Scamp is a reliable daily driver capable of some serious ETs.