5 Best Chevy V8 Engines of All Time


Chevrolet has sold some of the best performing V8 engines ever to come out of the factory. More than that, the company has produced millions of eight-cylinder motors, to the point where the enormous fan base for this popular and inescapably popular design has established one of the most loyal followers in the world.

That makes it more than a little tricky when it comes to picking a favourite, as you’re almost guaranteed to leave more than one worthy candidate — and then hear about it later. Having said that, here are our bold picks for the 5 best Chevy V8 engines of all time.

First Generation Small Block Chevy

Whether it was the 265 or 283 cubic inch engines that powered Chevrolet during the 1950s and 1960s or the 305 and 350 cubic inch engines that dominated street performance in the 1980s, the first-generation small-block Chevrolet V8 had an impact like no other. cylinder engines in automotive history.

First generation SBC

The little block Chevy V8 is a revolution in simplicity and power. Easy to work with, and featuring good parts interchangeability throughout its lifespan, the dozens of first-generation SBC variants ranged from mild to wild, with horsepower approaching the 400 mark in the early 1970s. When electronic fuel injection entered the picture in the 1980s as a small block it became a common feature in performance models such as the Camaro and Corvette, (along with early TBI applications in trucks and vans).

Hot rod Chevrolet pickup at Nitstos

Universal and affordable, the original small block Chevrolet V8 is the world’s most popular high performance and hot rod engine.

454 LS6

Chevrolet brought out some impressive big block engines during the muscle car era, including the groundbreaking 396, the inspiring 409 Beach Boys, and the extremely rare 427 L72 and L88.

454 SS big block V8

Of these, the furthest is the 454 cubic-inch LS6, which builds on the know-how gleaned from the development of each of its predecessors. Arriving in 1970, it represented the pinnacle of development of General Motors’ big block V8, and was offered on El Camino, Chevelle, and for only one year (1971) Corvette. High compression, with a solid lift camshaft, big valve lift, and massive 800 cfm Holley carburetor, output is listed at 450 hp (425 hp in the Corvette) and 500 lb-ft of torque, which is more than enough to crush a tire on the tip of a hat.

Chevrolet Corvette in Nittos

The 454 continued past 1972 as the choice for trucks, commercial vehicles, and full-size cars, but the LS6 was replaced in performance cars by the simpler LS5, which itself fell out of the picture in 1975.

5.7 LS1

The third generation small block Chevrolet is better known as the LS. Arriving in the late 1990s (first in the Corvette, then the Camaro F-body and its sibling Pontiac Firebird), the original 5.7L LS1 engine was the foundation for much of GM’s V8 development over the next two decades.

5.7L LS1 in Camaro

The LS1 brings a number of innovations compared to the previous Chevy V8. Using an all-aluminum block (50 percent lighter than the second-generation LT1), the bike also features coil-on-plug ignition, the engine is capable of up to 350 hp. It also retains the legacy of the small block pushrod, preserving its reputation as an approachable bike for the aftermarket.

LS1 on a hot rod in Nittos

The basic principles of the LS1 spread to pickups as part of the Vortec-branded LS engine, resulting in millions of cheap and similar motorcycles being produced in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Today, the bike serves as the backbone for innumerable swaps and project vehicles, all thanks to the trails pioneered by the LS1.

7.0 LS7

While most of the LS performance family is noteworthy in some ways, the LS7 7.0L deserves a pick for its incredible natural aspiration output. While engines like the LS9 switch to forced induction to deliver even more incredible horsepower and torque figures, the LS7’s 505 hp rating (along with 470 lb-ft of torque) remains the most impressive all-motor member of the LS family.

LS7 V8

The LS7 is limited to only two models: the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (2006-2013) and the Chevrolet Camaro Z28 (2014-2015).

Chevrolet Corvette Z06 in Nittos

The factory 7.0L represents the pinnacle of Chevrolet’s small-block fourth-generation architecture, and like the previous LS1, it’s a lightweight aluminum missile that has no answer from any other automaker in Detroit (beyond the Dodge Viper, which only managed to beat it by adding an extra pair of cylinders to the mix. ).

6.2 LT1/LT2/L86/L87

The fifth-generation small-block Chevrolet V8 is best represented by its 6.2L edition. So broad is the appeal of this bike that it’s hard to limit it to the high output LT1 and LT2, as the L86 and L87 designs found on the brand’s full-size trucks and SUVs also represent the bike’s charm.

6.2 LT1 cutaway

Like most LS, the initial 6.2L appearance was in the Corvette, with the 2014 model year carrying the LT1 460 hp. Two years later the bike found its way to the Camaro too, where it still resides. When the C8 arrived on the scene, it was gifted a 490 hp, LT2 dry-sump. The L86 (2014-2018) and L87 (2019-present) are nearly as powerful with a 420 hp rating, but power production is aimed at roughly a thousand revs lower, with a maximum torque of 460 lb-ft at 4,100 rpm.

Chevrolet Corvette C8

The 6.2L is outstanding for its easy grunt, reliable operation, and sophistication (variable valve timing, cylinder deactivation), all encased in the same pushrod package that Chevrolet enthusiasts have received for nearly 70 years.

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