It’s not that we’re going in cost order here, the LS9 crate engine ranks near the top because of its insane rarity. According to GM they aren’t building any new ones, they’re just selling the leftovers from the 2009-2013 Corvette ZR1. You know, the first Corvette to ever exceed 200 miles per hour. The one that lapped the Nurburgring four seconds faster than a Nissan GT-R way back in 2009. Nevermind that this happened nearly a decade ago the 6.2-liter LS9 is still insane today.
The modern equivalent of that engine is GM’s ZZ427 crate motor. It stays true to the cast-iron block of its forefather, but runs pump-gas-friendly 10.0:1 compression, sports aluminum heads and an all-forged rotating assembly.
Forged steel rods. Forged steel crank. Forged aluminum pistons. Aluminum heads. Mechanical roller cam. Huge valves. A 7100 rpm redline. A massive 13.1:1 compression ratio that’s well into diesel territory. It all combines to make 776 horsepower, 649 lb-ft, and a whole lot of noise from its 7.4 liters of absolute fury. I’ll let GM explain what that all means.
In fact, at highway speeds, the Grand Caravan is one of the noisiest used minivans around. The engine and transmission noise in the cabin can drive you insane if you ride long enough. When you throw in the wind and road noise that join the cacophony, you can see why this used minivan should never leave town.
If any car was worthy of carrying the original ZR1’s torch, it was that one. The numbers are huge: 638 horsepower and 604 lb-ft, with 90% of peak torque available from 2600 to 6000 rpm. Translation: lots of power on tap, whenever you want it.
The Kia Sedona can stand toe-to-toe with any of the used minivans on the market. The current models are powered by a 3.3L V6 paired to a smooth shifting six-speed automatic gearbox. The engine has an output of 276 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. Most owners describe the engine’s acceleration as quick and its response as immediate. The Sedona outshines its competitors by offering a lower price point and more options for every dollar spent.
Like the old COPOs of the 60s, the 2011-14 models adhered to strict NHRA guidelines. That meant super-small production numbers and a price payable only by professional race teams. It also meant the car’s engine could only make 530 horsepower. But much like the Japanese engine restrictions of the 1990s, that figure seems to have been framed in air quotes. In 2016 a (not extensively) modified 2014 COPO Camaro ran an 8.323-second quarter mile at 165.80 miles per hour. Doing the math, that car was making closer to 1200 horsepower. 1200.
Plus, Chevrolet Performance Crate Engines include a 24-month or 50,000-mile limited warranty. That’s right, most of the GM crate engines you’re about to see carry a factory warranty, so hoon away. These are the big things, but there are many other parts that may or may not be included with your specific crate motor check with your provider for more details.