When you’re looking at engine swaps for your big project build, common sense says to take it easy. Look at small-block American V8s, or something easily-sourced with four cylinders and a turbo. Hell, if you’re feeling adventurous, get hold of a rotary engine out of a scrapped RX-8.
You don’t normally consider the legendary 4.5-litre, 9000rpm-capable V8 from the Ferrari 458. They don’t exactly shower the used engine market like pigeon poo in Trafalgar Square. This one is, therefore, a pretty unique find – and it’s not even used. In fact it’s extraordinarily unused.
This fully-functional 458 engine was used as a display piece and has never been given a car to power. This icon of naturally-aspirated engine history was the unit that finally beat Honda’s F20C to the title of highest specific output for an engine without forced induction, with 124bhp per litre to the S2000 engine’s 118bhp per litre.
And yet, this one has never turned a crank in anger. Its 562bhp and 398lb ft of torque have never been tapped. That, good CTzens, is a crime against the car gods. This engine is special, and it needs to be built into something even more special. It’s going under RM Sotheby’s hammer on 12 May in Monaco, during the grand prix weekend.
It’s the block only, complete with stand. You’d need to fashion everything around it, from the gearbox to the induction and exhaust pipework, not to mention all the wiring and ECU gubbins.
The F136 FB was loosely descended from the F136 E in the older F430. With 191cc extra the FB evolution added almost 80bhp, helped by a host of revisions and improvements to the internals. Direct injection was a huge change for the 458 era.
There was also an FL version that went into the 458 Speciale variants. It had exotic engine components that pushed power up to 597bhp, but this is the regular version. Ah well, I guess we’ll have to make do. If you could buy it, what would you put it into?