On October 19th, Chevy teased a new V8 with the sound of a revving engine in an Instagram post. Chevrolet Performance car aficionados recognized the sound of a high-displacement, naturally-aspirated V8. But few guessed that the bowtie was about to unveil its biggest crate engine ever: a 10.3-liter, 1004 horsepower monster. Introducing the Chevrolet ZZ 632 crate engine.
What is a crate engine?
Crate engines are standalone power plants delivered in a crate. Some crate engines are V8s also offered in production muscle cars, others are special engines never offered in production cars. Enthusiasts buy crate engines for hot rod projects or engine swaps in old cars. Chevrolet Performance just unveiled the largest crate engine ever.
The Chevrolet Performance ZZ 632 crate engine is a 10.3-Liter, 1004 horsepower V8–with no supercharger
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The new Chevy ZZ 632 is not just a massive version of a muscle-car-era V8. Instead, it leverages some advanced engineering to produce unprecedented power. In addition, it replaced Chevrolet Performance’s supercharged crate engine.
First, the numbers: The big V8 shares an iron block with its little brother: the ZZ572 crate engine. Its bore is 0.040 inches wider, its stroke 0.375 inches longer. It has advanced CNC-machined aluminum cylinder heads topped in port fuel injectors.
Chevy also designed the engine with a solid-roller cam. Forged internals and four-bolt main bearing caps beef up the engine. The Chevrolet ZZ 632 makes 1,004 horsepower at 6,600 rpm. Its recommended rpm max is 7,000.
Chevrolet claims it put the engine through its paces, simulating 200 dragstrip passes on a dyno machine–and the engine survived. So we should get our first peek at the powerplant at the 2021 SEMA show.
The evolution of Chevrolet Performance crate engines
The new Chevrolet ZZ 632 crate engine is an evolution of the V8 powerplants of yore. While Chevrolet Performance has been famous for its dragstrip-ready big-block engines for fifty years, the first several generations had an Achilles heel. Chevrolet designed past engines with seemingly necessary variations in intake and exhaust shape from cylinder to cylinder.
Chevy powertrain engineer, Ron Sperry, pioneered cylinder heads with perfectly symmetrical ports. As a result, he created the RS-X Symmetrical Port cylinder head. The technology first debuted on the Gen III LS1 engine featured in the 1997 Corvette.
With every intake and exhaust port shaped the same, every cylinder makes the exact same power. Therefore, the engine maximizes total power while reducing vibration and engine wear.
Ahead of the debut of the Chevrolet ZZ 632, Chevy discontinued its 775-horsepower, supercharged LT5 engine. The 727 horsepower, naturally-aspirated ZZ 572 lives on but is now overshadowed by its 1004-horsepower sibling.
History of the Ford vs Dodge supercharged 1000 hp crate engine arms race
Dodge made headlines with the first factory-built supercharged V8: the Hellcat. Then the Mopar performance branch made headlines again when it offered the 707-horsepower Hellcat engine as a crate engine: The Hellcrate.
To catch the Hellcat, Ford launched a supercharged mustang. The GT500 is powered by a 5.2-Liter, supercharged V8. It makes 760 horsepower and 624 lb-ft of torque. The incredible engine is available from Ford Performance as a crate engine as well. In the new Mustang, it runs the 1/4-mile at just 11.3 seconds. Imagine what it could do in a lightweight, vintage car?
Dodge was not to be outdone. At the 2018 SEMA Show, Dodge unveiled the Hellephant. It is a 426 cubic inch (7-liter) supercharged V8. The powerplant is capable of producing 1000 horsepower. Furthermore, the Hellephant’s name is a mashup of the old “elephant” Mopar big-blocks and the new, supercharged, Hellcat engine. Dodge may have been the first to 1,000 horsepower, but it had no way of knowing Chevrolet Performance would show it up, in a surprising way. The Chevrolet ZZ 632 crate engine not only makes 1004 horsepower, but it accomplishes this feat with displacement instead of a supercharger.