Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale provides us with a rare opportunity every time we attend. Simply put, Westworld of Scottsdale becomes a car show full of completely original, or restored, classic Chevrolets. Some people want to buy cars that retain all of the original components - that’s what makes them valuable. This means we saw a lot of classic Turbo Fire, 350 small-block and 427 big-block engines, to name a few during the auction. But, after compiling the Top 10 Highest Grossing Chevrolets at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale article, it appears that the enthusiast community is placing a lot of value on well-executed customs with modern Chevrolet Performance crate engines.
Of the highest-grossing Chevys at Scottsdale this year, an impressive five Chevrolets operate under the power of a modern Chevrolet Performance crate engine. This is a huge jump from years past with two Chevrolet Performance crate engine-powered cars making the top 10 list in 2016, to just one making the list in 2015. These numbers don’t lie, and they signal a potential shift in the industry, suggesting that not all folks prefer classic, rare and numbers-matching Chevrolets, but rather custom builds featuring modern Chevrolet Performance crate engines.
So, which engines are powering some of the most valuable Chevrolets on the road? Let’s take a look.
Selling for $220,000, this 1962 Chevrolet Corvette Custom Convertible is a heavily pedigreed car known as “Elegance” and has many subtle custom modifications that could have been easily overlooked due to its seamless and sleek design. One modification that would be hard to miss is its Chevrolet Performance LS7 crate engine backed by a 4L65E automatic transmission.
With its classic 427-cubic-inch displacement and racing-derived features, including featherweight titanium connecting rods, the 505-hp LS7 7.0L made its mark in the C6 Corvette Z06 and advanced its legacy in the fifth-generation Camaro Z/28.
Chevrolet Performance’s powerful LS7 crate engine is based on the production specifications of the Gen 5 Z/28 application, including unique Tri-Y exhaust manifolds, which are designed to take advantage of the engine’s ring order to deliver a combination of pulse separation of adjacent ring cylinders and improved scavenging – all for optimal performance.
The LS7 is hand-assembled at the Performance Build Center at GM’s Bowling Green, Kentucky, assembly plant. It uses a unique cylinder block casting with pressed-in steel cylinder liners to accommodate the engine’s large, 4.125-inch cylinder bores – with deck-plate boring and honing for optimized bore geometry. The bottom end is complemented by high-flow, CNC-ported heads featuring large-volume, straight-passage intake runners and 2.20-inch titanium intake valves.
The crate engine package includes a dry-sump oil pan. Builders will need to supply the external oil tank and oil lines to the engine, but the rest of the assembly is fully dressed. Use LS7 Controller Kit P/N 19354334 to get it running in your project vehicle.
This ‘58 Chevrolet Corvette Custom Convertible is also known as “Eye Candy.” When the hammer dropped at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale, this car sold for an impressive $225,000. It’s beautifully built and features a full gamut of modern amenities including a Chevrolet Performance LSA crate engine backed by a 5-speed manual transmission.
Chevrolet Performance’s LSA 6.2L SC supercharged crate engine is an increasingly popular choice for hot rod builders, thanks to its great balance of performance and value.
Chevrolet Performance updated the LSA package with the production variant from the fifth-generation Camaro ZL1, featuring 556 horsepower and 551 lb.-ft. of torque. The ZL1-based assembly also has a different intercooler assembly with repositioned coolant inlet and outlet ports, which makes installation easier for many retro-fit applications.
What hasn’t changed are the core components that made the original engine tough and refined, including a unique aluminum cylinder block casting that’s home to a forged steel crankshaft and super-tough reciprocating parts, and integrated piston-cooling oil jets. It also features high-flow cylinder heads that support the air flow pushed by a 1.9L Eaton TVS supercharger.
The ZL1 supercharged crate engine package comes fully dressed, from the top of the charge-cooled supercharger assembly to the ignition system, water pump, balancer and more. It also includes an 8-bolt crankshaft flange that may require an adapter for use with some transmissions.
The next two vehicles have two major things in common. They’re both Corvettes, and they’re both fitted with the Chevrolet Performance LT1 crate engine. The first ‘vette is a 1962 custom convertible which sold for $258,500 and the second LT1-powered Corvette on the list is one you might recognize from previous BLOCK coverage.
This is the Roadster Shop Corvette that won the SEMA Design Awards “Best Chevrolet Sports Car” award at SEMA in 2015. Read our recap on the 2015 SEMA Design Awards featuring this car here. Driven by the LT1, this ‘64 crossed the auction block demanding $330,000.
Introduced on the seventh-generation Corvette Stingray, the LT1 6.2L opened the next chapter in the long, historic legacy of the Small-Block engine – and gives your project vehicle a high-tech heart transplant with an unprecedented balance of performance and efficiency.
The LT1 is architecturally similar to the LS family of engines, but with a unique block casting, cylinder head design, oiling system and more. It also combines advanced technologies including direct injection, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) and continuously variable valve timing to support an advanced combustion system.
The LT1 6.2L crate engine is rated at 460 horsepower and 465 lb.-ft. of torque. A controller specially designed for retrofit applications using an automatic transmission is available.
Here we see yet another custom Corvette Convertible. This ‘62 is powered by Chevrolet Performance's LT4 crate engine and backed by a 4L85 automatic transmission. It’s a first-gen car with the latest gen’s ultimate powerplant. Barrett-Jackson said the car was heavily inspired by the 2016 Z06, which also utilizes the supercharged LT4, and sold for an impressive $264,000.
The supercharged 6.2L features an efficient and compact 1.7L Eaton R1740 TVS supercharger, which spins at up to 20,000 RPM and produces 650 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque. These performance figures apply to P/N 19332702 (Dry Sump Oiling System).
The LT4 is based on the same Gen V Small-Block architecture as the LT1 engine, with several unique features designed to support its higher output and the greater cylinder pressures created by forced induction. They include Rotocast A356T6 aluminum cylinder heads that are stronger and handle heat better than conventional castings, lightweight titanium intake valves and stronger forged aluminum pistons.
And there you have it, folks. This is the line-up of Chevrolet Performance crate engines that have made their way into some of the most expensive Chevrolet vehicles in the marketplace. After reading the specs of these engines, it’s not surprising that they’re being utilized in the industry’s most impressive builds. These engines are engineering feats and have a reputation that precedes them. The only question now is, which one do we want to use for our next project build?
Stay tuned to The BLOCK for more news, coverage and features on all things Chevrolet Performance. And, don’t forget to follow along with us on Instagram at @theblockdotcom.
Photos courtesy of Barrett-Jackson Auction Co, LLC