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GM's E-Rod 1955 Chevy - Road Test E-Rod

We Go To GM's Historic Milford Proving Grounds To Drive The E-Rod '55 Chevy, The Car That May Be The Future Of Hot Rodding.

By , Photography by John Moore

Eventually, we pull onto a long, long straight (about 2 miles) that ends at each side with a banked 180-degree turn. We're at one end and security drives off to the other to keep us from being interrupted by errant test cars. (Our other toys on this day include an LS9-powered fourth-gen Camaro, an LSA-motivated '95 Impala SS-can you say '12 Z28?-and a 1LE third-gen F-body with an LSX 454 and six-speed. You can read all about those vehicles in an upcoming issue of Super Chevy.)

Our first order of business-strictly for photo purposes, mind you-was to do some burnouts. Yes, sometimes my job does not suck. Shocking, but these are not difficult to do. After the tires are nice and hot, I line up on the long, seemingly endless straight. I brake with my left foot, imagine Milner's deuce coupe is next to me, then shove the drive-by-wire throttle to the floor.

It spins the tires a hair, but then flat hooks and I'm off like a shot. While the '55 is heavier than the Corvette, it's lighter than a new Camaro SS. At the top of third gear I lift. It's an easy high 12-second machine. I slow down in plenty of time to give an innocent (if not guilty) wave to the security guy. As I drive it around the banking, I'm amazed again at how nice the steering is. The ride and handling are also impressive. Except for the 2-inch drop spindles and Corvette rotors and calipers, the suspension is stock. And in this era of blingy billet wheels, I liked that GM fit the E-Rod '55 with the base six-cylinder '10 Camaro wheels. They look tough.

After a few hours of driving the '55, I came away completely impressed with the E-Rod kit. Despite being hot lapped and floggged by three journalists on this day, it fired up every time and idled as smooth as silk. It honestly felt like a brand new automobile. (If only any of the new passenger cars looked even remotely like this!). It never missed a beat-no hiccups, misses, or sputters. You turn the key and-vroom-it was running.

It's guilt-free hot rodding, albeit at the price of added cost and complexity. If we end up having to drive emissions-friendly toys in the future, it's nice to know they'll behave and perform like this. This is a stark contrast to the uncertainty that faced enthusiasts in the early 1970s, when hot rodders (and the car companies) were scrambling. GM Performance Parts has the answers now.

The E-ROD system components
The E-Rod kit carries PN 19244805 and includes the same, basic LS3 engine that's found in the Camaro SS and Corvette (additional engine choices, including the LS7 and LSA, are planned for future packages). Standard elements of the kit include:

• 6.2-liter LS3 crate engine, rated at 430 hp and 424 lb-ft of torque
• GMPP LS3 engine wiring harness
• GMPP engine control module
• Exhaust manifolds
• Catalytic converters
• Oxygen sensors and sensor bosses
• Fuel tank evaporative emissions canister
• Mass airflow sensor and sensor boss
• Accelerator pedal (for use with the LS3's electronic throttle)
• Air filter
• Instruction manual

In addition to the E-Rod system, the builder will need to source additional components to complete the assembly and get the vehicle running. They include:

• Fuel tank
• Fuel lines (re-circulating or returnless)
• Fuel pump
• Fuel tank vent line from the tank to the evaporative emissions canister
• Pure line from the canister to the engine purge solenoid
• Air induction system that incorporates the mass airflow sensor
• Exhaust system behind the catalytic converters

Additionally, the LS3 engine requires an accessory drive system that is suitable to the vehicle. The instruction manual includes recommendations for the accessory drive kit, as well as the transmission, gear ratios and more.

The E-Rod kit does not include a transmission. GMPP recommends the GM Hydra-matic electronically controlled 4L60-E four-speed automatic, PN 19156260, and transmission controller, PN 12497316.

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