It's not surprising that there are a few guys out in the USA chucking american cross-plane V8s (including the Rover unit, of course... you know the history, right?) into Esprits. This just SO isn't what I'm trying to do with Project M71 - anyway, if you're an engineer, I'm sure I don't need to explain - just have a look yourself
Here's a guy with a nice website (click the logo) - and I should pay him a LOT of respect, as his project is actually finished. However, this rear view shot isn't for me. It's a 1977 Esprit S1 equipped with a Buick V8 (obviously 4.3 litre) and it's quoted at roughly 250 bhp
The example below appeared on eBay not so long ago - a 1978 Esprit for sale in Salt Lake City, Utah - the engine was quoted as a "Rover-sourced V8, balanced and blueprinted with roller rockers" - Just look at the lovely wood surround in the engine compartment :)
The "SHOTUS" Esprit, pictured below, achieved some notoriety a while back (on the web, at least). This guys website went offline a while back - but it's an example of an Esprit fitted with a Ford/Yamaha SHO ("Super High Output) engine - this example used the V6 variant from a Ford Taurus (click the photo for an engine bay shot)... I'm not sure if the V8 has ever been tried
Here's another guy with a nice site AND a nice idea... adding a Chevy aluminum LS1 V8 to an Esprit S1
From what I can see the project is in the planning stages at the moment. Now for me, the choice of an S3/Turbo "Esprit donor" using the "Eagle Chasis" enhancements (well latest V8 to be correct) is the only way to go.... but in terms of "bang for ya buck" this is a hell of an idea.
Seems like the writters at PPC (Practical Performance Car) Magazine might have been inspired by the website above (and maybe my own for the colour scheme).... the cover article from April 2006 seems to cover an identical idea - fitting a Chevy LS1 V8 into an S1 Esprit
A work customer of mine kindly gave me this article and, low and behold, when I read it.... they hadn't actually carried out any work - it was just an idea!
Even the photos all just look rendered - the tuned LS1 V8 looked very nice on it's stand - but I don't think it was ever even really next to the S1 Esprit, let alone being put into it!
Here's the real exception to my rule - the Wildcat Race Esprit
This Guy certainly knows his onions and he's also got my respect for achieving a great racing career (I'm a frustrated graduate of Brands Hatch Racing School - I need to complete Project M71 before I can afford to get the right side of the Armco!)
The Wildcat Esprit V8 Website explains all but basically the car is not really an Esprit but a spaceframe chassis single seater racing with the external appearance of a Giugiaro Esprit (the formula requirements of a silhouette special)
It weighs only 1600 lb (730 Kg) and uses a 450 BHP of 6litre Rover V8 based engine and Hewland gearbox