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Put 650 hp in your car with Chevy's LT4 V8 crate engine

1970 Chevrolet Camaro RS (SEMA 2015)
Image used with permission by copyright holder
With 650 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, the Chevrolet Corvette Z06’s supercharged LT4 6.2-liter V8 is one of the most potent engines to sit between the fenders of a modern production car, and was one of the reasons why we named the Z06 our Performance Car of the Year. Wouldn’t it be great to put those eight cylinders of greatness in your car?

Now, you can. Carmakers often sell standalone motors called “crate engines” for custom-car projects. And the LT4 will join the list of engines available in the Chevy parts catalog, the carmaker confirmed at the 2015 SEMA show in Las Vegas this week. If you’ve got the skills and the budget, there’s no telling what kind of monster car you could build around that engine.

Chevy will offer the LT4 with dry-sump or wet-sump oiling systems. The more performance-oriented dry-sump is used in the Z06 itself, but Chevy says builders wanting to add air conditioning or power steering to their project cars will have to go with the wet-sump system. The Chevy-supplied engine controller works only with manual transmissions; the LT4 will bolt to an automatic, but builders will have to source a custom controller.

To demonstrate the hot-rodding possibilities of the LT4, Chevy stuffed one in a 1970 Camaro RS for SEMA. Painted Hyper Blue Metallic with white rally stripes to match a custom 2016 Camaro Chevy also brought to SEMA, this child of the Nixon years was completely updated throughout to match its cutting-edge powertrain.

The Camaro boasts a six-speed manual transmission and modernized suspension to replace the primitive stock setup. It rides on custom 19-inch wheels with Corvette Z06 brakes, ensuring it can stop as well as it can go. Another modern touch is full LED lighting that doesn’t alter the Camaro’s classic look.

On the inside, the Camaro features seats from a 1980s third-generation model, and a new instrument panel designed to work with the LT4’s electronics. There’s also a roll cage, just in case. But the highlight of this customized Camaro is definitely the engine. Whether it’s a 1970 Camaro or a 1970 Caprice, the LT4 should enliven just about any project car.

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
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