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.
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.
At 9.37 liters, the ZZ572 is the mac daddy of all big block engines. It’s nearly a 1-liter EcoBoost larger than any engine ever fitted to a production vehicle (the 8.4-liter V10 in the dearly departed Dodge Viper). Naturally, that means it’s got loads of power 727 horsepower and 680 torques but those aren’t the most impressive specs.
The alternative is to either rebuild an old engine yourself, have an engine builder do it for you, or buy a custom-made engine directly from an engine builder. Each of these options has a fair share of hurdles, and often it’s cheaper to order a crate engine than it is to go those other ways.
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.
In 1969, when muscle cars were king, Chevrolet built a handful of Camaros and Chevelles specifically for drag racing in the NHRA Stock Eliminator class. Designated COPO, or Central Office Production Order, these specialty machines weren’t marketed to the general public.
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.
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.
Beyond having Chrysler underpinnings that will be serviced by Volkswagen certified mechanics, you get a rebadge that is even worse than the original. The nicest thing that can be said about the Town & Country is that it offers Stow ‘n Go seating and great seating versatility. VW somehow managed to keep the system, but eliminate the versatility.
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.
We will never understand why this isn’t always a default option on all new vehicles capable of off-road driving. There are times when you will need slow and steady power coming from both wheels on each axle. A limited slip differential will keep some of the single side spin down but a full locker is much better in terms of 4×4 Jeep mods. Locking both wheels to spin in unison is an easier way to get out of sticky situations. When combined with the use of a properly anchored winch, there’s almost nowhere you can’t go.
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.