Introduced in 2006, powering popular Chevrolet muscle cars, the small block LS7 was one of the few engines that GM built by hand. GM had created an engine focused on numbers and performance, thus making it the ideal engine for use in Chevrolet’s extreme-performance cars. Unfortunately, the LS7 has been discontinued, leaving LS/LT enthusiasts wondering what would make a worthy replacement for project cars and builds. Thankfully, GM’s new L8T might be the solution V8 lovers have longed for.
The LS7 was featured in only three of Chevrolet’s performance cars. The fifth-gen Camaro Z/28, the C6 Corvette Z06, and the C6 427 Convertible. What do these three vehicles all have in common? They were quick, very quick. As mentioned prior, the LS7 was manufactured with the idea of significant performance figures, and the 7.0L did not disappoint. All three muscle cars boasted a not-so-modest 505 horsepower, an excellent number for a naturally-aspirated powerplant. Both Corvettes boasted 637 lb-ft of torque, the Z/28 being slightly more potent in the torque department with 652 lb-ft. Ultimately, the LS7 was no slouch and had great potential for builders and racers.
In the typical nature of GM’s products, the manufacturer also offered the LS7 as a crate engine. Chevrolet actually bumped the power up from 505 horsepower to an even more impressive 570 horsepower and named it the LS427/570. It was only a matter of time before the LS7 became the engine swap of choice for car enthusiasts, often being found in C10 trucks and even Miatas, among many other project cars.
The LS427/570 didn’t just perform well, but also turned heads at car shows while offering that raw naturally aspirated V8 rumble. The LS7 was easily identifiable thanks to its red engine covers, further complimented by black lettering or black covers with red lettering in certain cars. Other cool features included implementing cylinder heads derived from race cars, electronic throttle control, and hydroformed exhaust manifolds. The engine was strong, capable, and ready for tuning, hence its popularity over the last decade and a half.
With the discontinuation of this crate engine, it seems pretty likely that GM’s new 6.6L L8T may be the rising star of the show. Stock, the L8T only manages 401 horsepower. However, its ability to move big trucks makes us wonder if it holds the potential for further tuning and upgrades. The L8T is one of GM’s latest small-block-based engines and looks to be a worthy contender for race car engineers or project car builders. Thanks to its forged steel crankshaft and strengthened block, it’s begging to be built into a high-horsepower monster. Currently, the L8T is offered only in the Silverado HD and Sierra HD trucks, but we are already seeing people building the engines to swap into other vehicles. Not to mention, we know the L8T is capable of 2.000-plus horsepower in the hands of the Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center Race Shop.
Whether or not the L8T might be the unconventional successor to the LS7 in the world of project car creators, we know that LS and LT swappers will never give up on finding that perfect project car powerhouse!