The Chevrolet Corvette ZR1’s 755-HP V8 Is Now a Crate Engine, and GM Dropped it in a Chevelle
Gentlemen, start your engine swaps.
Around this time last year, Dodge made waves by announcing the arrival of a Hellcat-based crate engine (dubbed the Hellcrate, of course) to give garage builds everywhere the malevolent heart they deserve. Now General Motors is splashing back by unleashing the 6.2-liter, 755-horsepower supercharged V8 from the Corvette ZR1 onto an unsuspecting aftermarket—and it's trotting out a 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna with that powerplant under the hood at this month's SEMA Show to demonstrate what could be.
The ZR1's fiery V8 is actually one of three new crate engines on tap from GM, and the company is bringing a trio of swapped classics to Vegas to showcase their potential. In addition to the Corvette's supercharged LT5, there's also a new 6.0-liter naturally-aspirated L96 V8 from the LS family of engines and a fuel-injected 350 small-block dubbed the ZZ6. The latter two will both find their way into vintage pickups—the L96 is going into what sounds like a factory restoration of a 1978 Chevrolet K10 Silverado, while the ZZ6 has found a home in a hotted-up 1967 Chevy C10 truck.
But the first pictures we have is that of the Chevelle, and let's face it: the ZR1's motor is the real star of the show here. We wouldn't have complained if they simply dropped the most powerful motor they've ever made in an old beater and called it a day, but it's nice to see this Nascar-inspired concept drawn up with a relatively restrained hand.
It helps that the Chevelle Laguna originally had a body-colored urethane front and rear clip, so it comes by this lightly custom look easily. The red-lettered tires are also a nice touch, but yellow or white would look even cooler.
Chevrolet hasn't released pictures of the trucks yet, though rest assured they'll emerge at some point before the show begins on October 30. Those will be worth a look as well; the L96 makes 360 horsepower and 380 torques, so putting it under the hood of a completely restored 1970's K10 essentially creates a brand-new square body pickup. Be still our hearts. And the 420 hp ZZ6 engine will make that C10 truck a hoot as well.
But again, the big news here is that you'll be seeing plenty of classic muscle cars rocking the heart of a Corvette ZR1 in the near future. See, it can't all be bad.