When you take your Jeep off-road, you may end up in situations where the body is going to take a hit. Hard knocks from rocks and boulders can pound dents and tears into your body in no time. The way around this with Jeep mods is to armor up and protect your vehicle from punishment.
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 Chevy El Camino is probably the best-known example in this category but the Ranchero was the first and is a pretty cool car/truck. The Ranchero was introduced in 1957 and was in production until 1979. A total of 508,355 units were produced and while we like the early models, they are all pretty sweet.
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.
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.
Having an outdated design alone does not land the Nissan Quest on our list of the worst used minivans, though. The main drawback to the Quest is its interior. First up, the Quest can only seat a maximum of seven when many of its competitors can handle eight.
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.
Across North American, used minivans have become a ubiquitous tool for busy parents, small delivery companies, and school systems. We say used minivans because of the rising cost of buying a new vehicle of any kind. Because of their utility and generally well appointed interiors, the minivan class seems to be increasing in cost faster than many other car groups. That leaves savvy buyers looking for used minivans in larger numbers.
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.
In reality, the roomy interior is full of odd shaped materials and cheap plastics that can easily turn anyone off. Oddly, as you move up the trim lines the Sienna loses ride and handling quality. The Sienna’s second row of seating does move quite a distance on its slide mechanisms, but the seats are quite difficult to remove if you want them out of the way for added cargo space.
That didn’t stop this shop from stuffing the lower-compression street version into a 2012 GMC Sierra single cab truck, a vehicle which, as you may know, has almost no weight over the rear wheels. That must be a hoot to drive.
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.
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.