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.
This is one of the best old Ford trucks as far as we are concerned, but they can be hard to come by. Restored versions tend to be pricey but it’s a great choice if you can get ahold of one.
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.
Plus, in the late 60s, Chevy didn’t use engines over 400ci in midsize cars this meant COPOs were far and away the fastest Chevelles and Camaros on the road. From day one they were, and still are, offensively expensive.
The powerplant behind them was the legendary 427 “L88”, a 450-horsepower 7-liter engine found in many other GM cars including the Corvette. But this version had high compression, required race fuel, and made an insane-for-the-time 450 horsepower.
Enter the LT4 crate engine. Power comes on fast: a 1.7-liter Eaton supercharger spins at 20,000 rpm to force 9 pounds of boost into this 6.2-liter engine. That results in the same 650 horsepower and 650 torques you’ll find in the Z06 that’s sitting over at your local dealership, but for a fraction of the price.
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 single engine option after the 2008 model year is a 3.5L V6 that delivers 266 hp and 245 lb-ft of torque. The engine is always paired to a six-speed automatic. The combo offers middle-of-the-road fuel economy of 20 mpg combined. Where the Toyota Sienna stands out among used minivans is the available all-wheel drive system. This is a great option for buyers who must contend with a lot of snow and ice.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.