Controversial 1957 Chevy ‘Project X’ Ditches EV Swap for 632-Cubic-Inch V8

Hot Rod has been wrenching on this car for decades, but old-school gearheads cringed when it went electric. Now they can rest easy.

byCaleb Jacobs|
Builds photo
Chevrolet Performance / The Drive
Share

If you're embedded in the world of classic muscle cars, there's a good chance you know about Hot Rod's 1957 Chevy nicknamed Project X. It was purchased for $250 back in 1965, and in the time since it's been powered by all different types of engines with the latest and greatest modifications. It then ditched internal combustion altogether in 2021, when the outlet collaborated with Chevrolet Performance to swap in an electric powertrain. It made 340 horsepower from a single electric motor.

Traditionalists were upset, as you can imagine, especially because they ditched a supercharged LSX V8 for battery power. The online commentariat erupted with groans and I imagine Hot Rod's reader mail was flooded with complaints, too. Redemption has now begun, though, as Project X once again sports a V8, this time a 632-cubic-inch big-block Chevy making 1,004 hp.

The ZZ632 crate engine debuted the same year as the electric version of Project X, causing a real rub with enthusiasts that Hot Rod acknowledges.

The swap that started the chaos. Chevrolet Performance

"Some might call this a mulligan—you know, the term coined in golf where you screw up a shot so badly that your buddies take pity and pretend it never happened," a Hot Rod article from Sunday reads. "And given the outright hate we felt after doing an EV swap on Project X, we can see why people would think that. But they would be wrong. You see, the EV swap on X was just another drivetrain in a long lineage of drivetrains that have been stuffed into our yellow 1957 Chevy 50-plus-year project car."

The Project X update post goes on to explain that this is only the latest power plant to find its home underneath the yellow Chevy's hood; it won't be the last. That's because Hot Rod plans to continually update the car for years to come. There's a good chance it could go EV again some day, though as we've seen in the past couple of years, you can make a lot more than 340 hp with modern powertrain tech.

For now, the beloved build will soldier on with Chevrolet's top-of-the-line performance engine. It's the bowtie brand's most powerful crate offering ever, making all that power without any forced induction. Sure, it costs more than an entire V8 Camaro, but you know what they say about cost. If you have to ask...

Got a tip or question for the author? Contact them directly: caleb@thedrive.com