Surely you’re aware of the C7 Corvette. You know it’s a huge leap for Corvettes. You know that valets go joyriding in them. You know a manual Z06 did the Nurburgring in 7:13.9, making it the fastest factory Corvette to ever lap that track. You know that with a little fiddling the C7 Z06 can exceed 200 mph. But did you know you can buy the beating heart of a C7 Z06 and put it in any car you want?
You get the same 3.6L engine found in the Dodge and Chrysler minivans on our list. The only difference is that it is now in a slightly heavier minivan. We couldn’t leave you with a cloud of gloom and doom over the entire world of used minivans. So, here is the best used minivan in our opinion…the Kia Sedona.
The price gap between a complete C7 Z06 and its engine says a lot about what it takes to make a car perform that well. On that note, it’s worth mentioning that all of the engines from this point forward are absolutely insane. They’re bonkers. They’re nuts. They have no business going into any car that isn’t equally advanced in the suspension, chassis, and safety departments. If you so much as look at them the wrong way, you should probably see a doctor. Here we go.
With the Town & Country, Chrysler did not go far enough to eliminate the noise and ride quality issues found in the Grand Caravan. To further exacerbate these issues, the Town & Country is a fairly expensive used minivan. The most recent versions of the Town & Country are powered by the same 3.6L V6 that you will find in the Grand Caravan. The engine offers the same 283 ponies and 260 lb-ft of torque. Chrysler didn’t even bother to tweak the fuel economy.
Forged steel rods. Forged steel crank. Forged aluminum pistons. Aluminum heads. Mechanical roller cam. Huge valves. A 7100 rpm redline. A massive 13.1:1 compression ratio that’s well into diesel territory. It all combines to make 776 horsepower, 649 lb-ft, and a whole lot of noise from its 7.4 liters of absolute fury. I’ll let GM explain what that all means.
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.
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.
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.
The Highboy was available with a 360 V-8 or the less powerful six-cylinder. A C6 automatic transmission was a common choice on the Highboy. Its tough look makes these trucks pretty collectible so they can be hard to find and sort of pricey for a fully restored version but if you have the budget, it’s a great choice if you are looking for a cool old ford truck.
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.
While we still like the look of the original Bronco best (see the Baja further down the list), the second generation is more practical for most people, especially if you have toys to tow. This is what a pickup should look like, rugged, tall and bursting with attitude. This truck could handle 35-inch tires without lifting the suspension.
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.
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.