The Nite was sort of a half-assed attempt at a special edition. The upgraded features were an upgraded paint and decal job along with some forged aluminum wheels. A blackout trim on top of a black paint job made it stand out and a decal running down the side that transitioned from blue to magenta gave it a menacing look, but that is where the upgrades ended. The suspension was also tightened up but this was hardly a performance pickup.
The Model T lineup was produced from 1908 to 1927 and is famous for being the first truly affordable car. It was an absolute game changer and over 15 million Model T’s were produced. The Model T Runabout Pickup was introduced in 1925 and while it only managed to put out 20 horsepower, the box trunk helped change how cargo was delivered and helped set the standard for future pickups.
It also offers fewer interior storage areas throughout the cabin, then there is the 25.7 cubic feet of cargo capacity. While nearly 26 cubic feet sounds significant, it is smaller than nearly every other model in the segment.
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.
The Chrysler Town & Country is basically a rebadged Dodge Grand Caravan with some added tech and comfort. Even in its lowest trim level, the Town & Country offers more refinement than a Dodge Grand Caravan. Still, as used minivans go, there are better models on the market today.
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.
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.
Speaking of tires, they do absolutely no good if side to side movement with low pressure causes them to slip off the rim. Being in the middle of nowhere with rubber out of place and no way to change it is an awful situation. However, there are already bead lock rims on the market to prevent this exact problem.
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.
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.
GM has been producing small-block and big-block engines for decades. Throw a few extra parts on one of these bad boys and you’ll be burning tires in no time. Before we talk about the best GM crate engines, let’s start by answering a few basic questions. Ooh, shiny. (source)
Like the old COPOs of the 60s, the 2011-14 models adhered to strict NHRA guidelines. That meant super-small production numbers and a price payable only by professional race teams. It also meant the car’s engine could only make 530 horsepower. But much like the Japanese engine restrictions of the 1990s, that figure seems to have been framed in air quotes. In 2016 a (not extensively) modified 2014 COPO Camaro ran an 8.323-second quarter mile at 165.80 miles per hour. Doing the math, that car was making closer to 1200 horsepower. 1200.
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.