If you read the headline, you’re probably wondering what kind of voodoo was necessary to squeeze a 5.3-liter LS4 V8 from a Chevrolet Impala SS into the engine bay of a Pontiac Montana minivan. Well, it wasn’t magic, and fitting the V8 engine under the hood of the Montana didn’t take much magic—or as much as you think would be required for such trickery. The Pontiac Montana above, owned by Kevin Piper, is a tire-smoking monster that can run a 15-second quarter-mile race. That doesn’t sound impressive when a 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 can run a 10.6-second quarter-mile at 134 miles per hour. However, that doesn’t make Piper’s endeavor any less exceptional.
Road & Track reached out to Piper, who had posted the Montana for sale—he’s since removed the listing, wondering how exactly the “Montana SS” came into existence.
“I’m not sure why anybody hasn’t done it,” Piper told the outlet. “I mean, a few people have talked about the concept. I actually dreamt about doing that for years, and finally I got the okay from the wife, and I just kinda dove into it. I just didn’t really know what to expect.”
And Piper’s right. When you look at what you need to do to turn your otherwise bland minivan into a tire-burning scream machine the list is rather short. That’s due, in part, to the fact the Pontiac Montana SV6 and Impala SS use the same gearbox—GM’s 4T65-E automatic transmission. However, the Impala SS gearbox was beefed up to handle the additional power.
Surprisingly, the hardest part of the project wasn’t the engine. It was the windshield wiper system, according to Piper. He had to modify it and relocate the washer bottle to the trunk because he lacked space under the hood. After that, he had trouble getting the electronic bits to work correctly. According to Road & Track, Piper estimates he spent 300-400 hours getting the engine and vehicle to communicate.
Now, everything you’d expect to work works except the steering-wheel-mounted volume control. When you think about the complexities of marrying a massive V8 engine with a minivan, you’d imagine an electric nightmare of malfunction. Many parts came from GM’s corporate parts bin, which was likely beneficial thanks to years of badge engineering from the automaker in the late 1990s and early 2000s.