GEN V Small Block Chevy = LT1-FTW?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
gen v small block chevy lt1 ftw

There’s a new small block in town, baby: keeping the spirit of the original 1949 Kettering OHV V8 alive. Piston Slap says the new name is sad: mediocre memories of the Optispark munching, reverse flow coolin’ LT-1 is not a fitting successor to the sheer splendiferousness that was the LSX. Vellum Venom says that the 2006 Ford F-150 called, asking for its fender emblem back. But what’s the real story?

All snark aside, the GEN V small block is a stunning piece of engineering on paper. The LT1’s (no dash) forged crank and connecting rods are pure hot-rod porn. Plus, gadgets found elsewhere: direct injection, variable valve timing and…wait for it…another try at displacement on demand for a V8. Third time is the charm, perhaps, and the promise of 26MPG from Six-Point-Two liters of engine sends the Porsche 911’s puny boxer motor packing. And this is the beginning, you know there will be hotter (LT4, anyone?) version with even more power. With the “Kettering factor” present in the compact, low center of gravity LT1, this must be the lightest production V8 @ 465lbs**: let’s put one in a new BMW M5, compare the cost, ease of repair, road course performance (even with 100 less ponies), etc just to prove a point. And then do more LT1 swaps on the competition. That would make a statement!

Or just put it in the Cadillac ATS (optional) and CTS (standard) and call it a day. That won’t happen, but kudos to GM Powertrain for another motor that will be The One To Have in your next engine swap fantasy.

And to that idiotic rumor of Chevy putting a twin-turbo V6 in the Corvette? Oh please: LT1-FTW, SON!

**dave504 corrected me, the normally-injected Ford Coyote is lighter. My bad.

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4 of 136 comments
  • Doctor olds Doctor olds on Oct 26, 2012

    "Figures don't lie, but liars can figure." The Coyote engine (according to Dave504's links)is 2 inches WIDER and only abut 1 inch shorter(in height) than an 8.1L Big Block V8! The site provides length from accessory drive pulley to flywheel for the LS engines, but only block length for the Ford. The DOHC is actually very much larger and heavier than the LS-LT engines, when comparably dressed. The Ford engine is great, just not as effective, in real world capability, as the GM engine. It also costs around $1,000 more to build. Sajeev has it right. Look at the area under the power curve and you will see that the LT1 is far superior to the Ford in performance capability. On the other hand, that high revving small displacement Ford V8 is sure lust worthy!

  • Hogie roll Hogie roll on Oct 26, 2012

    GM performed a blind ride off comparison for an OHC vs. an OHV engine some time in the C4 corvette era. The testers preferred the OHV engine, and that's what they went with. Even then the conventional knowledge would have been that OHC designs were superior. Despite that, GM obviously considered all aspects of engine design, performance, packaging, cost, reliability and efficiency, then made the decisiion. I applaud them for going against the grain and making the right decision. If it weren't for the success of GM's pushrod engine program, you would have never seen the Hemi. On mod motors vs. LSX motors. The defense of the Mod motor is laughable. I'd hear out an argument on a better designed OHC motor, but the Mod is not it. The fact that LS heads flow better through 1 valve than Mod's do through 2 should be all the evidence you need. Let alone the packing beast that is the Mod motor.

  • Moparman426W Moparman426W on Oct 27, 2012

    Something that I forgot to mention is that the 392 Hemi also uses a forged steel crank and rods. Forged rods were standard issue in pretty much all domestic engines in the past except for pontiac engines, which used cast iron rods with the exception being the super duty. Ford started the use of cracked powder metal rods with the mod engine, then everyone else followed suit.

  • CelticPete CelticPete on Oct 28, 2012

    IF you are going to drive an auto transmission car you CANNOT beat a high displacement pushrod engine IMHO. Drive one for a bit and I think most people will prefer that awesome down low torque they provide. It's just so much better for the kind of driving most people do.. FWIW - not a fan of 'modern' V-6s. If you can't have a V-8 a turbo charged engine tuned to make torque at 1500 rpm is the best you can do..(Not counting diesels)