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I have poked around regarding posts about rwd conversions for the 3.8. I had a 97 Riviera with the supercharged 3.8 and was impressed by it. I am a post war to muscle era Buick owner who owned over 12 Buicks from 1958-70. I am contemplating using a 3.8 as a possible future motor swap candidate due to its Buick heritage and great reliability and power potential. Here in the midwest 3.8 powered Buicks can be had for $500 all day long so begins my thought. Converting a FWD 3.8 to rwd as they are much easier to get, but has some drawbacks. 50s and 60s buicks have plenty of room under the hood so the issue is related to fwd specific areas of the motor. It would be bolted to a mechanical trans like a th350, th400, 200r4, or 700r4 possibly? So here are some things I need clarification on regarding using a fwd 3.8.

bolt pattern for bop or chebby v8s or adapter kits made for them?
motor mount locations work on rwd conversion
stock cooling work on rwd conversion
stock intake work on rwd conversion
stock ECU work on vintage auto with JUST motor swap or need stand alone ecu?

They are the newest evolution of Buicks engineering prowess that gave us the OHV valvetrain, GM, Chrysler, the venerable TH transmission among others. All of which are still here and made today. The 3.8 is the latest and possibly last Buick inspired engine and think its a fitting idea to consider 1 in a possible future swap in something like a 55 Special or 62-67 Special (The 3.8s original cars!).
 

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There are a number of posts on 3.8s in Firebirds and such. Do a little digging there to get started.
Then you may still have some detail questions.
I did talk with a guy who had a 3800 in his 55 or 56 Chevy, he liked it a lot. Decent performance, good mileage.
One thing we tend to overlook - less weight on the nose lets it steer and corner a lot better than it would with something heavier.
 

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As mentioned, I'd try picking up a RWD setup from a 96-02 Firebird/Camaro V6 for the best option (mounts, accessories, etc. already in-place). You could probably get the car for $500-$1000 if you just want it for the parts, and have a solid engine to base you build on already. They come with either a 4T60e or a T-5 manual. The bell housing on the later 4L60e's were removeable to swap between the SBC (LS1) and FWD bolt pattern. Parts now exist to upgrade that transmission to take power, finally, and I'm looking into it for going behind my MP112 supercharged setup with an IS4 cam after having a little more fun/frustration running it FWD. People have made their own adapter plates to run TH350/TH400's on these, but that's up to you on how much extra you want to do.

The PCM and wiring can be adapted to work in any setup with a little care and effort. You may want to get a tuner (DHP or HPT), or get with someone who has done it before.

Good luck with your project. As long as it gives you something to do, and it runs in the end, I'd say you win.

- Dave
 
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