This isn’t the 350 that your neighbor pulled out of a C10 truck and slapped a hot cam into. No, this is a 110-octane-only race crate engine built exclusively to win races at the local 1320. GM advises that the LSX454R comes with no warranty and is “not for road use”.
Let’s start with the 9.1:1 compression, which means you can run this on pump gas. Add in a cast aluminum block, titanium valves, and a forged steel crank attached to forged titanium rods attached to forged aluminum pistons. Top that off with hydraulic roller cams, aluminum heads, and a high-helix supercharger pushing 10.5psi of boost.
The Routan was designed to offer a firmer suspension for a more fun driving experience. Another fail. When compared to Kia and Honda used minivans, the firmer suspension makes for a clumsier experience all around. These shortcomings put a lot of pressure on the powertrain to offer a glimmer of hope for this used minivan. Nope, nope, nope.
The Bronco is so cool we had to put it on our list of cool old Ford trucks twice. These years fall into the first generation of Broncos, which were fairly small but oh so cool. The Baja was a special edition that was created by off-road racing legend Bill Stroppe and the Ford design team.
We do have to point out that the Sedona offers less cargo space than several of the used minivans on the list and does not offer removable second-row seating on any trim level. Those shortcomings are overcome in our minds by the generous warranty, low sticker price, and long-term durability of the Kia Sedona.
Stoppe’s shop could further customize a Baja with a large selection of optional parts. Roll cages, winches, and off-road lights were popular, as were suspension upgrades. The Baja cost almost $2,000 more than the standard Bronco, which was big cash back in the day; its high price limited sales. While not a huge seller (only 650 were produced) this is one of the coolest old Ford trucks on our list.
Remember those COPO Camaros of the 1960s we talked about earlier? The baddest of the bad, the stuff of bedroom posters and “I swear I saw one” stories, the kind of car the uber-rich still build replicas of today? Well in 2011 Chevrolet modified a modern Camaro in a COPO sort of way and took it to SEMA, and the response was overwhelming. So they built it for real. And at its heart, you could have this: a 5.7-liter supercharged 350 crate engine dubbed the COPO 350.
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.