So this Chevrolet Camaro LS3 swapped Tesla Model S – or ICE-T for short – showed up to the 2021 SEMA Show. The question that comes to mind isn’t ‘what for’ as much as it is ‘what’s the point?
Isn’t the battery chemistry, drive motor technology, fast charging capabilities, and that big touch screen everyone raves is better than sex, drugs, and rock and roll – isn’t that the reason people love Tesla? Without the revolutionary engineering part of the equation as a distraction, all you’re really left with is a car that is just ugly. The styling is goofy, and the interior is austere.
Mind you, this particular Tesla we’re talking about comes from Rich Benoit of Rich Rebuilds, and finagling Teslas are sort of his jam.
He’s basically famous for fixing broken Teslas on YouTube, even without the support of the automaker itself. What’s funny though is that he’s basically trolling the majority of his fan base with this build, which in turn gains him an even larger following. Actually, brilliant.
Getting the 6.2-liter LS3, six-speed sequential transmission, and a Camaro SS limited-slip differential to play nice with a Tesla unibody was pure madness– and not the good kind of madness, the kind that leads you to drink bathtub gin until your eyes burn out.
The unibody structure of the Tesla Model S is literally just aluminum foil without the battery pack in place for structural support. And, seeing as there’s no official place for a transmission, the plan was to cut out the transmission tunnel from the Camaro and splice it into the Tesla.
Except the Camaro’s tunnel is made from steel, and the only way to weld steel with aluminum is to use JB Weld, and that’s never a quality idea. But still works. To make a long story short, the Tesla had to be cut in half to strengthen and modify the unibody to accommodate the transmission and Cardan shaft. The rear subframe had to be butchered as well in order to accommodate the differential, while upfront, the struct brace had to be sliced to clear the LS3’s intake manifold.
But damn, they did it, and then dragged the Camaro LS3-swapped Tesla ICE-T project some 3,000-miles on an open-air trailer all the way out to the 2021 SEMA Show, where it rolled into the show under its own power. It spent the week slammed on airbag suspension in the Vibrant Performance booth.
It’s not our cup of tea, but damn, you just have to respect the hustle. Check the video below to see the final process.