Good ol’ Chevrolet has long been a source of off-the-shelf V8 engines for everything from one-off project cars to your average small-scale British sports car maker. With so many years of crate engine supply experience under its belt, the firm has grown its portfolio to feature almost 50 options, most of which are renowned for mixing high performance with immense toughness – and, of course, that deep American rumble. But now the line-up has gained new motors that provide even more muscle and lower emissions.
The highlight of the new line-up is the LT5 6.2-litre V8, which you may recognise as the 755hp and 715lb ft supercharged heart of the Corvette ZR1. We know the effectiveness of the motor in the ZL1 – the sports car can do 210mph – but to hammer home how integratable it is, Chevy has transplanted it into a modified 1973 Chevelle Laguna show car that’s on show at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas. It. Looks. Immense.
Then there’s a new ZZ6 EFI V8, which Chevrolet describes as a “best of both worlds” option for “hot rod and resto-mod projects”. On show at SEMA under the bonnet of a 1967 C/10 pick-up, the motor offers 420hp and more effectively blends into the engine bay of a classic model thanks to its top-mounted fuel injection system, meaning a conventional air intake can be fitted to keep the look as original as possible. It’s essentially a lookalike for the classic 350 Small Block engine with modern performance.
For bigger vehicles, such as, say, a 1978 K10 Silverado (yep, one’s at SEMA as well), there’s now the option of an L96 V8 motor. The fuel-injected engine, which produces 360hp, has been placed into the K10 with an electronically controlled four-speed overdrive automatic transmission, a combination that Chevy says “exemplifies today’s popular trend of adapting modern Chevrolet LS and LT” powerplants to older cars.
But wait, there’s more. In a move that might attract the attention of low-volume manufacturers looking for an off-the-shelf motor for their next model, Chevrolet is introducing its latest emissions-controlling tech to the supercharged LT4 E-ROD motor. That should help it in the V8 crate engine supply fight with Ford and its Mustang-sourced 5.0-litre. As should the addition of more gearboxes, including a new six-speed automatic – the poetically named 6L80-E – that’s designed for LS/LT engine swaps.
So, anyway. That 755hp ZL1 engine. What car would yours go into?