Original as the factory intended? We talk about classics with the same engine, gearbox and transmission as when the vehicle left the factory. 'Matching numbers', 'Nummergleich' are indications that apply to classics (certainly in the higher segment and BMWs) valued and value-enhancing.
And that originality is often very doubtful with classics imported from the USA
First, Americans are usually somewhat bulky, untidy keyers. But they do not lack business insight and they rightly love their own wonderfully sounding and indestructible cast-iron V8 blocks. A V8 is clearly seen as added value. But in the States, most car manufacturers had six-in-line blocks for the entry-level models. Then you had a full sized Yank Tank with an earthly conventional, low-power power source of 'only' a liter or four cylinder capacity. Such six-cylinder engines were of no value on the used or classic market (that is now changing anyway), but America has always been full of stray V8 blocks. It was once calculated that the famous Chevy small blocks can be found in the States four per square mile. And then they include the square desert miles in Texas.
You can easily spoon such a V8 under the hood where there should be a six-in-line
It doesn't have to matter for fun. But always check via the VIN number if the bravely babbling American of your dreams did not ever start his life as a six-seater.
Here in Europe, Ford Capris and Opels were often provided with more potent blocks. Air-cooled VWs were and are also grateful victims of fun-enhancing transplants like that. That dates back to my MTS time, when classmate Aalt Pijpers spooned VW 411 and 412 blocks into cheap Beetles. From less than forty to more than eighty horsepower. People in Utrecht still shudder about it. And then there are buggies with 1899 cc Subaru engines, Porsche blocks or an air-cooled Chevrolet Corvair six-cylinder boxer… A 2CV with an Ami block is simply very practical.
Whether it is historically correct?
Not so. Whether it can be fun? Hell yes! But that's not all. In fact, a classic is no longer license plate compliant after such a transplant. And since the majority of insurers employ experts - and sometimes who bluff louder than they are sure of anything - to avoid over-spontaneous payouts, the pain may be there. The vehicle, your classic, does not 'match' with the papers. And then that is a reason not to pay for the damage to begin with.
Incidentally, such an evolved block can be fairly easily legalized via the RDW. Certainly if the power is less than 40% higher than the original power. But with a blown big block in what once started out as a full sized sedan or pick up with a six-cylinder engine? Then there are a lot of specified bills to show that the brakes and suspension can handle that violence.
But on FIAT 500s or Minis with a 140+ hp motorcycle block? We do not venture into that.