The beauty of a crate engine is that it can go into any vehicle you want. The engine gave out in your truck? Maybe it’s time for an upgrade. Want to make a V8 Pinto? Go right ahead.
This is the beginning of the pickup truck era for Ford, and while not the most exciting choice on our cool old ford trucks list, it was one of the first mass-produced trucks out there and helped build the foundation of the truck market we know today.
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.
Check out this article where the Hot Rod staff weathers a ZZ427 to look like a 40-years-used L88. And if you have 12 minutes, let Tim Allen and Jay Leno walk you through the best of both worlds: a 1968 Camaro COPO clone with a modern 427 at its heart.
It also favors a hydraulic roller camshaft instead of the original’s flat-tappet cam. It makes a few extra ponies over the old model, too: 480 horsepower and 490 lb-ft of torque will melt any tires this engine’s hooked up to.
The Ranchero is based on a two-door station wagon platform and was marketed as a light pickup that could haul a fair amount of cargo while being easy to operate and drive, like a car. There is not enough space here to cover the various engines and features that were incorporated into the Ranchero over the years, but a few engine choices consisted of a 250 cubic-inch six-cylinder and a variety of V8 power plants that ranged from a standard 302 to a 428 cu-in. (7.0 L) Cobra Jet.
A big block has higher weight and density in the block, as well as larger valve bores, a longer stroke, and a generally larger exterior size. A big block can have the same displacement as a small block, but only the most extreme small blocks encroach on this territory.
They’re even saying it will beat the old ZR1’s Nurburgring lap by a full 20 seconds. And if the current GM Performance Catalog is any indicator, in a few short years you’ll be able to stuff either one of those engines into your grandma’s old woody wagon. What a time to be alive
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”.
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.
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.
The name “Highboy” was not an official Ford term but a nickname given to it by enthusiasts. The 1977.5 models featured a negative arch leaf spring, which dropped the height by 4 inches leading to the “Highboy” nickname for the pre 1977.5 models and the post 1977.5 models being called “Lowboys”.
The single engine option in the latest models is a 3.6L V6 that offers 283 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The powerplant is mated to a six-speed automatic. The duo offers 25 mpg on the highway. That is solid fuel economy, if you can stand all of the cabin noise.