Crate Engines: The Latest Crop

Marine testing helps make crate engines so tough

What's a photo of a boat doing in Corvette Fever? Taking you on a trip where you can catch a glimpse of the future. The boat in question is powered by a GM Vortec marine engine. Since 1958, GM has been supplying engines to a host of boat manufacturers. Marine engines are routinely subjected to considerably more severe operating conditions than their standard passenger-car counterparts, and that makes them ideally suited to high-performance applications.

That fact hasn't gone unnoticed by the staff of GM Performance Parts (GMPP). As a result, numerous engines that were originally developed for marine applications have turned up as crate engines in the Performance Parts catalog. (Which explains why some crate engines have surprisingly low compression ratios; most marine engines are designed to survive on a diet of 87- or 89-octane gas.)

This past summer, Tom Read of GM Powertrain Communications organized a preview of the latest marine engines being actively marketed under the Vortec brand name. At the time of the preview, no decisions had been made regarding the specific engines that will be offered by GMPP, but hopefully a few of the big-blocks and 6L, LS1-based offerings will make the cut. Both types of engines will be ideal for transplanting into a Corvette.

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