More than a year has passed since our last crate motor buyers' guide graced the cover of the April 2006 GMHTP, and a lot has happened in the interim. The LS engine market continues to explode with new products from GM and the aftermarket alike. Whether it's the great value of GMPP's L92 cylinder heads, the appearance of super-strong LS engine blocks, or the myriad of new upgrades for the king-of-the-hill LS7, excitement is endless on the Gen III/IV engine front.
Because of these goings on, we've decided to forego the Gen I small-block and big-block Chevrolets we featured last year, and focus almost exclusively on the mushrooming market of Gen III and IV engines for this buyers' guide. We say "almost," because we're going to cover a few LT1-based mills as well, since we don't want readers with Gen Iiequipped rides to feel left out in the cold.
A few caveats: it should go without saying that we're only featuring engines that are EFI-equipped or EFI-ready-fuel injection is what GMHTP is all about. For our purposes, "crate motor" refers to an engine that's shipped complete, at least up to the cylinder heads. The engines you see here bridge the gap between fully assembled long-blocks (which include nearly everything except the intake manifold), and complete turnkey engines. Some of the latter even come with wiring harnesses and PCMs to facilitate installation into vehicles that never had EFI from the factory. (As you may have already noticed, we're also using the terms "engine" and "motor" interchangeably-if you take issue with this, my best advice would be to cry about it.) Also note that each manufacturer has offerings other than those listed here, and in many cases, we've included a smattering of them in the company description and the "comments" data file entry. And while we've tried to be as accurate as possible, engine specifications may vary.
FC Customs specializes in late-model GM LS-powered vehicles, with an emphasis on forced-induction applications. The company's services range from mail-order parts to crate motors, and complete turnkey supercars. FC is also a distributor for AFR, Baer, DiabloSport, Dynatech, Magnuson, Paxton, ProCharger, Racetronix, Spec, STS, and Vortech. In-house dyno-tuning is also available at the company's Springfield, Illinois, facility.
GM Performance Parts
It's a wonderful thing that General Motors is sinking its teeth so deeply into the high-performance market. A quick browse through the pages of the 2007 GMPPb catalog proves just how serious The General is about late-model performance. From its value-laden L92 cylinder heads to its high-strength engine internals and blocks (as well as turnkey crate motors), GMPP has it all. We're going to sample just a few of its offerings here.
Golen Engine Service
New Hampshire-based Golen Engine has been servicing the LT1 community for years with its big-cube Gen II long-block and crate motor offerings, and the tradition continues. We're happy to report that Golen is now building on that success by stepping into the Gen III/IV market as well. In addition to what is shown here, Golen can custom-build an engine to fit any needs, and offers a full line of LS and LT short- and long-blocks.
HKE specializes in American late-model V-8s, and builds LS-style engines for drag racing, road racing, street/strip applications, musclecar retrofits, and more. The Houston, Texas-based company can supply just about any custom combination you want, anywhere from 370 to 482 ci-only a taste of HKE's offerings is given here. For more information, check out HKRacingEngines.com.
Well known for both racing and high-performance street engines, Katech is one of the most respected names when it comes to Gen III and IV motors. The company has proven itself time and again since it first became involved with the Corvette C5R factory racing team, and its line of performance street engines is a natural offshoot from this success. As we've hinted, several different LS7 packages are available (depending on your intended application), so be sure to have a look at the company Web site (www.katechengines.com) for more detailed information.
Late Model Engines
LME offers "custom engines for today's musclecars," and the company has exciting offerings when it comes to Gen III/IVs, some of which we've picked out for you here. But remember, LME says that there is "no such thing as a cookie-cutter engine," so if you don't see exactly what you are looking for, be sure to let them know what it will take to fulfill your need for speed!
Lingenfelter Performance EngineeringWhen it comes to Corvette performance, LPE has one of the most recognizable names in the business. But far from just a Vette package installer, Lingenfelter also makes and sells precision-built crate engines for all Gen III/IV-powered vehicles, whether it's the 7.0L engine shown here or a 440ci L92-headed package based on the new bulletproof GMPP LSX engine block.
Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center
One of the largest retailers of crate engines in the country, Scoggin-Dickey specializes in GMPP parts and crate engines, and also offers custom crate motors of its own. Take one look at this company's Web site (www.sdparts.com), and we guarantee you'll be impressed by the bewildering variety of engine packages at the "world's largest LS warehouse." We'll sample just a couple of them here.
Operating out of Dearborn Heights, Michigan, Livernois Motorsports sells a large variety of hop-up parts for your late-model GM-including entire drop-in motors. The company's crate engine offerings can be had in several stages of cylinder head and camshaft aggressiveness, to tailor the package to meet each customer's needs.
SLP Performance Parts Inc.
Based out of Toms River, New Jersey, SLP has been on the GM EFI performance scene for some time-since the TPI days, actually! Over the years, its extensive experience has helped make SLP one of the most trusted names in the business. You can look to SLP for a wide array of performance parts and engine components-not to mention complete engine packages.
Illinois-based Speed Inc. is well known for its head and cam packages, and also retails a broad selection of performance parts for late-model GMs. This particular engine has garnered 8-second timeslips in the company's Z28 race car, but Speed Inc. can build any LS-style Gen III or IV engine for naturally aspirated or forced-induction applications.
Tuned Port Induction Specialties Inc.
In addition to its mail-order crate engine offerings, TPIS offers full tuning and dyno services for your EFI GM, and can supply computers and wiring for street rod applications as well. When looking at these engine packages, note that any camshafts may be replaced with other TPIS designs, aftermarket heads may be substituted, and displacement may be changed to suit a desired combination.
Turn Key Engine Supply
As the name might suggest, Turn Key Engine Supply supplies turnkey engine packages for any vehicle you can imagine. Whether it's a 350hp aluminum 5.3L, a 530hp blown LS1, or a 630hp LS7, you should be able to find exactly the engine you're looking for on the company's Web site (www.turnkeyenginesupply.com). Then it's up to you to drop it into the ride of your choice.
Wheel to Wheel Powertrain
Based in Madison Heights, Michigan, Wheel to Wheel Powertrain has several claims to LS engine fame, including the first 6-second power-adder drag race engine, and the first 8-second N/A drag race engine. The company focuses heavily on street engines as well, and says, "We have built countless variations of LS family engines for customers over the years. Using all of that experience, we choose what we feel are the best parts to make good power and torque, while maintaining excellent driveability, idle quality, and most importantly, durability."