If you were ever curious about Italian supercar longevity, today’s tale should serve as a shining example of why many people are wary of these machines. The electric green 2005 Lamborghini Gallardo pictured here barely made it over 35,000 miles before the V10 motor took a dirt nap. Luckily, the car did not catch fire, and its Graziano e-shift transmission remained 100-percent intact, giving cause for someone with an eye for the obtuse to come along and give this old Italian Bull a second shot at being a badass.
Like most of us, Brandon Moreland has never spent more than a few minutes with a Lamborghini, let alone worked under its bonnet. Granted, the LS swap Special Projects Director over at ICT Billet has always admired Lambos, but since Wichita, Kansas is not known as a “hotbed” for Lamborghini activity, encountering one in real life is kind of like winning a few grand on a scratch ticket. It happens, but not very often.
Since Italian supercars are so scarce in those parts, Brandon’s childhood was filled with what most people might think of when they imagine gearhead life in America’s Midwest. Detroit muscle, fire-breathing hot rods, and pickup trucks made from iron and steel the — old-fashioned way — sweeping side steps and all.
Brandon has particularly fond memories of spending wrench time with his father, a man who would spend every spare moment of his time in the shop when permitted, and for a good reason. There was plenty to play within that old 25×25-foot dual-bay garage, as Brandon’s old man swapped and modded one vehicle after another.
For instance, when it came time for Brandon to get a daily beater in high school, his old man felt that his son should be piloting a 1956 Ford F-100 and that the two of them should sub-frame and swap it together thus allowing room for a 302 engine and a C6 transmission to power the pickup. Of course, there was also a 1934 Chevy coupe that the two swapped with a Tuned Port engine and a five-speed manual gearbox, top chopped, and entire chassis (floorplans included) custom-built the old fashioned way.
By that point, Brandon was spending most of his spare time at the local drag strip, with hopes of further enhancing the performance portion of his automotive ownership card spurring on the young gearhead’s ambitions. Forever looking to set new goals and always up for a challenge, Brandon Moreland continued to explore his automotive inclinations, fully unaware of where this passion for petrol power would take him.
Eventually, Brandon’s enthusiasm and expertise for all things GM engine related would solidify his role at ICT Billet. Here you can find the guy spearheading complex projects for the Wichita-based LS-swap specialty shop, brainstorming new product designs, and answering emails from detail-oriented automotive journalists. But while nerdy writers and various swap projects each present their unique challenges, nothing could have prepared Brandon or the ICT team for the build that was set to transpire during the summer of 2021.
On July 24th, 2021, Brandon purchased a car he had only seen a few times in person and had never considered a prime candidate for automotive open-heart surgery. It was a 2005 Lamborghini Gallardo with a blown motor. Since the Wichita local who owned the vehicle was selling the shell for cheap, Brandon felt it would be a pity to pass on such an affordable opportunity to obtain an Italian supercar.
However, a glance inside the engine bay revealed a ghastly sight. The remnants of the grenaded engine block could still be seen hanging from mounts and various drivetrain components. Whatever had castrated the Italian Bull had done so in such an extremely violent fashion that the remnants were painful to look upon. But the price for the shell could not be beaten with an aluminum bat, so Brandon purchased the Electric Green machine, secretly hoping that some swap solution would surface.
Back at the shop, the team’s initial excitement over the thought of swapping and modding a Lamborghini had devolved into more of a “What do we do now?” attitude. Being an LS-swap specialty shop, the ICT crew knew that stuffing a GM V8 into the back of the Italian supercar was mandatory. But as the decision to convert the vehicle’s stock Graziano transmission from an e-shift setup to a full-on manual emerged, unforeseen fitment issues began to arise, and the conversion became increasingly complicated.
While mounts, brackets, tubing, and all manner of machining proved to be no issue for the ICT Billet team (go figure), getting the LS3’s accessory drive system to function within the confines of the Gallardo’s engine bay proved to be quite the puzzle. It may be hard to believe, but the LS engine is actually longer than the stock 5.0-liter V10 that came in the Gallardo, which meant swapping in the GM motor required sourcing the tightest-fitting accessory drive possible.
One accessory drive solution after another scrapped. Things were looking bleak until Brandon began to think about things in reverse. A front-wheel-drive LS4 accessory setup was far less bulky. Once modified with a custom ICT Billet alternator mount and tensioner, it could snug right up with the motor and still leave just enough space for routine maintenance.
Sure enough, this simple solution worked like a charm. With the engine clearing the firewall, axle spacers were installed, allowing Brandon enough space to scope out transmission dimensions and driveline angles. This also allowed the ICT team to design, build, and modify mounts for the swap. As one portion of the build after another fell into place, a feeling of relief began to settle over the ICT shop. Around this time, one of the more significant engine bay augmentations came into the picture, as the ugly stock upper H cradle was replaced with a one-off tubular unit that is both far stronger and more attractive.
I’m not one to turn away from a challenge, so when someone approaches me with a unique or complicated build, I usually like to take part. The Lamborghini fell right in line with this.
All told, ICT Billet’s Lambo build only took eight weeks to complete and, to date, remains the first (that we know of) twin-turbo LS-swapped Lamborghini Gallardo of its kind. As every successful shakedown test further proves the benefits of this wild conversion, more and more Lamborghini owners reach out to ICT Billet about converting their aging Italian supercars. Apparently, this Gallardo isn’t the only Lambo with a blown V10 engine. Unfortunately, due to age and scarcity, the V10 is a motor that is extremely difficult and expensive to rebuild or replace.
Thanks to Brandon’s creativity and determination to see this project through to the end, cramming a twin-turbo LS motor into the rear of one of these Italian bulls is now more affordable and easier to obtain than sourcing a V10 Lamborghini engine. There’s also the benefit of increased reliability, having the ability to row the gears, and the wow factor associated with sporting something of such an unusual stature.
Appropriately entitled the “Amerighini,” Brandon tells us the rear-wheel-drive ICT billet mix-breed performs exceptionally well, despite being quite a handful through third gear. Brandon elaborates that hard acceleration causes the front end and steering to feel a tad twitchy due to all of the weight and power being in the rear. Couple that with the screaming V8 sound emanating directly behind your head, and this fire-breathing Amerighini is quite the intimidating handful on a multitude of levels.
What’s even more impressive is that this car is currently running on a conservative 6-pounds of boost and pump gas, which allows it to crest the 650 horsepower mark easily. Brandon says now that the reliability side of the build has been proven, it’s time to go back to the dyno, this time with E85 and a modest goal of 900 horsepower at the forefront. You know, just enough restraint to keep the Graziano gearbox alive for a fuzz longer.
Asked what he likes the most about this Amerighini project, Brandon tells us that with a bit of practice behind the wheel, the driving experience this vehicle provides is, “smooth as eggs and very nimble… plus it spits fire!”
Shakedown testing complete and both strengths and potential weaknesses exposed, Brandon says the next step for the ICT “Amerighini” is to focus on obtaining more grip, which wil surleyl become a challenge once a little E85 action gets thrown into the mix. He also tells us that ICT Billet plans on taking the Amerighini to a slew of events this year to showcase all of this zany creativity and maybe enter an autocross or road course-oriented event or two. All that Italian-American machismo attitude is already there and then some, so we might as well see what this mix-breed can do when it’s time to put the hammer down.
ITC Billet Amerighini Specs
Make/year: Chevrolet Performance LS3
Stock cid: 376 cubic-inch
Bore/Stroke: 4.065- x 3.622-inch
Crankshaft: GM Nodular iron
Connecting rods: GM Powdered metal
Compression ratio: 10.7:1
Camshaft make: Cam Motion
AIR and FUEL
PCM: Haltech Nexus R5
Engine tuner: Brandon Moreland of Wichita, KS
Injector size: Injector Dynamics 1050cc
Pump(s): OEM Lamborghini with one per tank feeding each fuel rail individually
Intake manifold: Holley LS3 Low Ram
Throttle body make/size: GM 92mm
Headers: One-off rear-facing stainless turbo headers
Turbocharger System: ICT Billet One-Off
Turbocharger Model: Precision Turbo 58/62
Blow Off Valve: Precision Turbo 50mm
Wastegate: Precision Turbo 46mm
Boost PSI: 6-pounds with fuel composition based boost control
Intercooler: Tick Performance 1400 horsepower low profile intercooler made for the Holley Low Ram LS3 intake manifold
Hot side piping size: 2.25-inch inlet 3-inch outlet
Cold side piping size: 4-inch inlet 2.5-inch outlet
Downpipe: Twin stainless 3-inch center exit
Type: OEM Graziano
Clutch / Converter: CNS Racing
Flexplate / Flywheel: CNS Racing
Shifter: Superlite Cars (SLC)
Front: Toyo Proxes R888R 235/35ZR19
Rear: Toyo Proxes R888R 295/30ZR19
Front: OEM Brembo
Rear: OEM Brembo
Original/Current color: Bright green
Body modifications: Refinished trim/vents and added the spoiler
Spoiler: EPR International
Upholstery: Black w/ green stitching
Gauges: Haltech IC7