Chevrolet revives the 396 V-8

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Chevrolet revives the 396 V-8

LT2 V-8 Cutaway


GM builds a 6.6-liter gasoline engine for heavy-duty pickups that’s a lot like the 6.2-liter LT1 with which we’re familiar. The difference is that the 6.6 uses an iron block, about an extra quarter-inch of stroke (3.86 inches vs. 3.62 inches), lower compression, and a camshaft meant for low-end power. The result is a 401-hp stump-puller that makes towing a breeze. However, we can’t help but wonder what Chevrolet could do with that kind of displacement in a performance application.

The power curve from the C8 Corvette’s LT2 shows that power is still headed up as the engine hits its fuel cutoff, so unless Chevrolet ditches its variable displacement system to let the engine rev, a cam with more duration won’t add more power at the top end. However, toss that forged 3.86-inch-stroke crank and some new rods into the LT2 and suddenly you’ve got more torque available everywhere.

A 6.6-liter “LT3” should be able to produce around 500 lb-ft of torque and, assuming the same camshaft, hit its power peak at a lower engine speed. With just a bit more duration to raise the power peak to the same point the LT2’s, 550 hp doesn’t seem like much of a reach, even for a factory tune. That’s not a huge jump over the LT2’s 490, but such a mill could be perfect for a future Grand Sport. It would also make an ideal midpoint in the Camaro lineup in an SS396, between the standard 455-hp SS and the 650-hp ZL1.

Before someone mentions it, yes, we do realize the new 6.6-liter displaces more than 396 cubic inches, but the big-block displaced 402 cubic inches for the last three years it was produced and Chevy had no problem keeping the 396 moniker back then.

.....and yes, this is an April Fools post.

For more silly auto news on April 1st -->