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The Fiat/Lancia twin-cam engine of the '70s and '80s handily has the same bolt pattern on the gearbox and engine mounts as a Niva, making it the easiest engine to swap into a Niva. It's not quite a bolt-in job as a mount for the front diff still must be made, and the sump has to be modified, minor mods to the bell housing, and a exhaust joined, but nothing too difficult or wildly expensive.
The engine comes in various sizes from 1600 to 2000cc, and in various states of tune, including a rare 16 valve turbo and super-charged version in the Lancia group B rally cars. The cooking version is generally widely available being fitted to millions of now rusted '70s and early '80s Fiat and Lancia saloons. Though considered a performance motor in its day, it's generally solid and reliable and the 2000cc offers a good increase in torque throughout the rev range.
Below is an article detailing the swap from International Off-Roader, and archived on this site is the build diary of Cloggy's Fiva, one of the first Niva-Fiat transplants to be documented on the 'net.
Click on images for a bigger view.
Various Fiat DOHC swaps
Cloggy's Niva Fiat DOHC Swap
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