Dropping an LS series crate engine into a custom build is nothing new, but since the debut of the LSA in 2009 in the Cadillac CTS-V, we’ve started seeing these 550hp monsters show up in many custom builds. For example, this 1969 Chevelle that once housed a 502cubic inch crate engine. Today the Chevelle creates near 650hp thanks to a little tuning of the LSA that is now under the hood. So how did this wild contraption come to exist?
Well a custom car shop in Houston, Texas, called Fastlane had a client who had a completely restored Chevelle with a 502 crate motor that he wasn’t happy with. “He’d spent a lot of money on the car, but like happens a lot in this business, he brings us the car and said, ‘I want to pull the plug on everything that’s been done. Repaint it. Put in another motor,” Fastlane Co-owner Nick Field recently told The Detroit News.
Even though the Chevelle was already restored, the paint was flaking off so bad that an air blower was used to remove it and the engine was constantly overheating. So the plan was to repaint it, and then slam a near bulletproof LS3 in the engine bay. However, when the LS3 arrived so did an LSA for another project and the owner made the call that he had to have the LSA in the Chevelle. And can you blame him.
“For $13,000, you get something that will make 650 horsepower without a problem,”Field said. “And it’s a compact package and it’s dependable.”
Dropping the LSA in the engine bay wasn’t easy though, just listen to all the work Fastlane had to perform to get the LSA in the engine bay:
For one thing, the folks at Fastlane had to fabricate and machine a gas tank with custom baffles and a special wiring harness so the CTS-V fuel pump would fit and work properly. For another, they had to rework the front of the car so the CTS-V radiator system fit properly. Oh, and there also was a matter of having to cut the frame rails so the engine itself, along with its power steering and air conditioning components, would fit properly in the Chevelle’s bay.
Beyond the engine the build team went with an Air Ride Technologies suspension, custom Boze wheels, three inch magnaflow exhausts, and front seats from a new Camaro. The body was covered with PPG’s Marina Blue with three coats of Concept Clear on top.
The car sits well and looks fantastic, but the real story here is what is lying under the hood. The LSA has been starting to show up in more custom Chevy builds and it got us wondering – would you consider the CTS-V LSA for your custom build? Leave us a comment below with your opinion of the supercharged crate engine.