It’s works for me that during the 50th anniversary year of the small-block Chevy engines, possibly its two greatest variations have been released. Number one is the 400hp 6.0L LS2 arrived for the 2005 model year in the latest-generation Corvette, the second one came recently that the giant-killer small-block Chevy engines, the 500hp 7.0L LS7 that will arrived in the fall of ’06 in the Corvette Z06.
Looking back, the small-block engine design that debuted with 265 ci and 195 hp doesn’t seem like much of a world beater, but in its day, it was a world-class engine with lightweight head and block castings and an overhead valve-train that was ahead of its time. Looking at the Gen IV LS6/LS7 engines we see race-bred technology, including lightweight valves, cross-bolted main bearing caps, and rollerized rocker arms. Back in 1955, Chevy’s new small-block was just as revolutionary, and in those days, it too was regarded as being heavily influenced by racing technology.
Out-of-the-box performance from GM means you can have a factory-direct LS2 shipped to your door for about $6,500.00. It comes with a standalone wiring harness and controller, but bolting it into anything that didn’t originally come with at least a Gen III small-block is up to you to figure out.
GM actually refers to the current LS2 and LS7 as fourth-generation revisions of the original design, although the only direct holdover to all four generations is the 4.400-inch center-to-center bore spacing. Since so many critical dimensions have changed over the years to the point that there are no interchangeable parts, it is easy to see why we call this engine a direct descendant of GM’s bread-and-butter small-block V-8s. Because they still feature a cam-in-block design with push-rod-activated valves is enough for us to issue a pass on the subject.
Compactness, simplicity, and durability are three trademarks the latest Gen-IV small-block shares with its ancestors.
The push-rod engine design has the built in advantage of being compact and has less components than non push-rod engines, and that continues to be an advantage as long as they continue to keep the cost, weight, and friction down and the valve-train speed up to produce the power necessary.
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