Yes, you can buy a GM crate engine directly from the factory, one capable of 1200 horsepower, and put it in anything you want. Providing you have enough spare change in your pocket to buy a used Tesla Model S. Oh, and GM is smart enough to not offer a warranty on this one. Sorry Doug Demuro.
It has 113-cc intake ports, 2.25-inch intake valves and 1.88-inch exhaust valves, a massive 1150cfm carb (yes, a carb), a solid-roller cam with 0.714 inches of lift, 12:1 compression, and it requires 110 octane fuel. Here’s GM’s succinct English translation of those stats:
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.
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.
This has been but a taste of the vast GM Performance Catalog. GM crate engines run the gamut from affordable and economical four-cylinder mills to gallon-per-mile big blocks that sound like the devil gargling Listerine. And the future is bright: Chevrolet is bringing back the COPO Camaro and the newly-launched 2019 ZR1 packs 755 horsepower and a 210-mph top speed.
The Nite was a good-looking truck that sold well enough to convince Ford that there was indeed a market for performance pickups, leading to the Lightning, a true performance pickup.
This Bronco came with a part-time four-wheel drive system and a V-8 under the hood. You could choose from a 5.8L 351M and the 6.6L 400. A C6 automatic transmission came standard or you could pick the optional 4-speed manual. This is the last generation of the Bronco to have a solid front axle, making it great for off-roading.
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”.
A removable top made the Bronco a perfect choice for sunny days and a retractable rear window that disappeared into the tailgate was added for this generation. A folding rear bench seat ups the cargo space so you could easily haul plenty of gear into the wild.
A crate engine or crate motor is a factory-built engine that arrives at your doorstep perfectly timed, balanced, and blueprinted, and ready to provide motive power for any project you have laying around. Included parts are a fully assembled block consisting of crank, rods, and pistons, a fully assembled head consisting of valves, cams, and associated parts, and often a carburetor for fuel delivery.
The Ranchero was a big hit with both consumers and automotive critics but is not as popular with collectors as the El Camino, so it is still possible to find a fairly affordable project car. The Nite was Ford’s first attempt at putting a performance special edition pickup out on the streets and while it wasn’t a huge success, it led them to create the Lightning (we talked about this one earlier) a few years later.
GM crate engines can usually be ordered through your local GM dealership. You might see online retailers like JEGS or Crate Engine Depot offer these engines, but they’re almost always asking the same price as Chevrolet themselves. We’ve found the Gandrud Auto Group’s GM Performance Motor website is the best resource around. Please note, we are not responsible for large amounts of hours lost while browsing crate engines.
Another party trick of the 488 is its ability to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied petroleum (LPG) in addition to regular pump gasoline. That’s thanks to the stainless valves and hardened valve seats. A forged crank, rods, pistons, full-length cooling jackets, and cast-iron head and block ensure maximum durability and longevity even in high-stress situations. Just add your choice of intake manifold, carb, and all the regular bolt-ons we talked about earlier, and you’re good to go.