In addition to their beauty, they were pretty powerful for their day. In 1954, Ford dropped in an overhead valve V-8 that put out 130 horsepower. By 1956, it was up to almost 180. In addition, 1953 was the first year that an automatic transmission was put into a Ford pickup.
As if that wasn’t enough, GM then throws on a gargantuan 2.9-liter Whipple supercharger pushing a full 16 PSI of boost. All of that cast iron and forging means strength, and the COPO 350 can set dragstrip records day in and day out without breaking a sweat.
Ford’s Special Vehicles Team (SVT) went to work on the 5.8-liter small block V-8 and managed to squeeze 240 horsepower out of it. A lowered suspension, new shocks, anti-roll bars and 17-inch tires put that power to the road and made the Lighting a great handling truck in addition to being a speed demon. The Lightning cranked up to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds and blazed through the quarter mile in 15.6 seconds. The biggest complaint about the Lightning was that it gulped down gasoline.
GM has been producing small-block and big-block engines for decades. Throw a few extra parts on one of these bad boys and you’ll be burning tires in no time. Before we talk about the best GM crate engines, let’s start by answering a few basic questions. Ooh, shiny. (source)
The Dodge Grand Caravan has been one of the top selling minivans since it was introduced for the 1984 model year. The Grand Caravan is so popular that more than 11 million units have been sold globally, with several million units having been sold in North America alone. With so many new units sold, you would assume that the Dodge Grand Caravan would be on a list of great used minivans. You would be wrong.
The Baja had a paint scheme that matched Stroppe’s racing trucks and was fitted with Gates Commando tires, quick ratio power steering, a roll bar, as well as a padded steering wheel. A 302-cid V-8 was dropped in with a C4 automatic transmission transferring the power to wheels.
You get the same 3.6L engine found in the Dodge and Chrysler minivans on our list. The only difference is that it is now in a slightly heavier minivan. We couldn’t leave you with a cloud of gloom and doom over the entire world of used minivans. So, here is the best used minivan in our opinion…the Kia Sedona.
It’s worth mentioning the base LS9 crate engine costs $17,322, but GM makes the best controller kit ($1601.27), and the LS9 requires external oil and coolant tanks. You won’t get too far without those, bringing the operational total to the eye-watering figure you see above.