That’s right, in the GM Performance Catalog of crate engines an 8-liter V8 is considered “small”. With max revs set at just 4500rpm, the Vortec 488 is a mill designed not to power the car you’re racing, but the truck you’re hauling it with. With 375 horsepower and 475 lb-feet of torque on tap at only 3200rpm, the 488 can tow that high-dollar enclosed trailer without breaking a sweat. Or it could pull your boat, your cattle, your neighbor’s house, or the grandstands at your local dragstrip. You get the idea.
The Bronco is so cool we had to put it on our list of cool old Ford trucks twice. These years fall into the first generation of Broncos, which were fairly small but oh so cool. The Baja was a special edition that was created by off-road racing legend Bill Stroppe and the Ford design team.
The Ranchero is based on a two-door station wagon platform and was marketed as a light pickup that could haul a fair amount of cargo while being easy to operate and drive, like a car. There is not enough space here to cover the various engines and features that were incorporated into the Ranchero over the years, but a few engine choices consisted of a 250 cubic-inch six-cylinder and a variety of V8 power plants that ranged from a standard 302 to a 428 cu-in. (7.0 L) Cobra Jet.
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.
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.
Our list of cool old Ford trucks would certainly not be complete without the Ford Lightning. This performance truck was launched as a response to the Chevy 454 SS and it was not only a looker but cranked out some power as well.
Having an outdated design alone does not land the Nissan Quest on our list of the worst used minivans, though.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.
We do have to point out that the Sedona offers less cargo space than several of the used minivans on the list and does not offer removable second-row seating on any trim level. Those shortcomings are overcome in our minds by the generous warranty, low sticker price, and long-term durability of the Kia Sedona.
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.
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.
Right in line with body armor are more Jeep mods to make sure that the underside is protected. All it takes is one hard drop at the wrong time to snap off an essential part of your vehicle. Skid plates run from simple front and rear protection up to complete chassis coverings. The gas tank and oil pan, as well as the differential and transfer case, are all rather vulnerable spots on the underside. They may be able to take a little abuse but how much are you willing to risk?
Tires are arguably the most important part of the Jeep mods you’ll want to consider before going off-road. If they’re too small, they make the vehicle look silly and performance just won’t be there. If they are too large, there will be clearance issues on flat surfaces as well as rubbing while turning.
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.
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.