10 Best Corvette Engines That Have Proven to Be Most Reliable

What’s the best Corvette engine out there? Ever since the first generation of ‘Vettes have been introduced, they’ve been equipped with reliable and powerful engines. But there are a few engines that stand out as the top of the line even today.

1. 1955 – 265 ci

1955 Chevrolet Corvette 265 Engine

1955 Chevrolet Corvette 265 Engine

There was just not much muscle to speak of prior to 1955 with the Corvette engines. The previous 235 cubic inch inline six could barely push 150 horse power out the door. That was about to change when the 265 cubic inch 195 horsepower small block V-8 was introduced as the first small block every produced by General Motors.

This little V-8 was a desperate attempt to keep Corvette in production as only 700 units were sold for 1955. Up to now, Corvette had only produced 150 horsepower in the previous 235 cubic inch motor by Chevrolet. While Chevy’s engineers took the engine from drawing board to production in only four months, the engine itself offered from 162 to 195 horsepower with various carburetor setups.

Even though this V-8 greatly  helped keep the Corvette in production, it would only get the axe two years later as its bigger brother, the Chevy 283 V-8, would take its place.

2. 1957 – 283 ci New V-8 Power

1957 Chevrolet Corvette 283 FI

1957 Chevrolet Corvette 283 FI Engine

Corvette started lifting weight to develop muscle and in 1957 it happened with Chevrolet introducing the 283 V-8 adding nearly 100 more horsepower to its predicessor with the fuel injection option. Now Corvette, with fuel injection, had started to turn head as a serious performance car.

The marketing folks at Chevrolet decided to lower the horsepower rating to 283 to match the 1hp per cubic inch engine that was virtually unheard of in its day! Other carburetor options for 283 were a single two barrel, a four barrel, and a two X four barrel combination.

Rochester fuel injection equipped Corvettes raised the bar in performance racing and although only a few cubic inches larger  than the 265 it replaced, it set a new standard the competition would be challenged to beat!

3. 1962 – 327 ci

1962 Chevrolet Corvette

1962 Chevrolet Corvette

Now were really cranking it up! The move from 283 to 327 cubic inches was a major advantage for Corvette. This new motor had four different horsepower options. It produced from 250 on up to an amazing 340 horsepower depending on the type of fuel delivery system.

And again with fuel injection, Chevrolet stayed on top of the game at 360 horsepower with 353 lb ft of torque. A unique combination of aluminum valve covers joining an aluminum fuel injector intake housing, when the gate was left open, these horses wanted to run fast! The 283 ran all the way up to 1969!

4. 1969 – 350 ci LT1

1969 350 ci LT1, best Corvette engine

1969 350 ci LT1 Engine

Deemed the “World’s Most Popular Engine”, the Chevrolet 350 cubit engine was only debuted in Camaro in 1967. By 1969 it found its way under the hood of the Corvette and there she would stay for literally generations to come! It was so popular that it was used in all kinds of other vehicles as well, car, boats, and even air planes.

In 1969, for Corvette, the LT1 350 would be married with 350 horsepower, but it would see a variety of horsepower over the next thirty plus years.  It was a fine well balanced engine that could be a gentle daily driver as well as a fire breathing 370 horse power dragster. This fine crafted engine in a couple year old C3 chassis made for a hot performing power plant and a better-handling Corvette overall.

5. 1984 – 350 ci Cross-Fire Fuel-Injection

 

1984 Chevrolet Corvette Cross-Fire Fuel Injected 350 Engine

1984 Chevrolet Corvette Cross-Fire Fuel Injected 350 Engine

The fourth generation Corvette saw an all new body style skipping the 1983 model production year to tune the shop so to speak and get ready for this new Corvette.  A Cross-Fire fuel-injected engine used in 1984 was at the peak of this new generation.  The dual fuel injectors powered by GM’s latest computer command control unit that delivered eight times the spurts per second than prior FI units.

A computer gathered data from all points including throttle position, ignition timing. oxygen sensors, coolant temperature, and engine vacuum.  This hot new engine in the newly styled 1984 Corvette helped make sales double over the 1982 model year. This unique technolory worked well for their time, and today many die hard Cross-Fire enthusiasts love them still.

6. 1990 – 350 ci LT5

1990 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

1990 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

LT5 is an aluminum block V-8with four overhead camshafts and 32 valves. Designed by Lotus, it also a unique air management system for this power plant. It could shut down half of the intake runners and fuel injectors at low throttle and boost up to 375 horsepower at wide open throttle!

Built by Mercury Marine due to special assembly required that neither of the two GM production plants were equipped for. This awesome small-block gave Corvette fans something to talk about. A LT5 equipped ZR-1 pushed the price tag close to the $60,000 mark, almost twice the cost of the base 250 horsepower model.

7. 1996 – 350 ci LT4 Grand Sport

1996 Chevrolet Corvette LT4 Engine

1996 Chevrolet Corvette LT4 Engine

In its last model year of the Generation C4, Corvette was fitted with the 350 cubic inch 330 horsepower 5.7 L V-8.  The 1996 Grand Sport could be ordered with all the right options that gave drivers a stunning performance package. Only 1,000 of these very special Corvettes were available with a 6-speed manual transmission only.

The LT4 provided an extra 30 horsepower over the LT1 by a more aggressive camshaft, larger valves, high flow fuel injectors, higher compression pistons and roller rocker arms. The LT4 was rated at 330 horsepower and 340 pound feet of torque at 4500 rpm.

8. 2001 – 350 LS6

350 LS6 Corvette engine

2001 350 LS6 Engine

Chevrolet often uses a name from the past to reinstate high performance and for 2001 they have done it again. The Z06 package, first introduced in 1963 for Corvette racing, has been labeled “the top of the pack”. And once again, a bump up in horsepower to 385 and 385 pound feet of torque! Also reused is the LS6 identifier which was used back in 1970 but on a big block motor.

A larger diameter mass airflow sensor draws more air into the engine to help increase it high output horsepower. The most significant maker of this high engine output is the higher lift camshaft allowing engine revs up to 6,600 rpm. Chevrolet would only pack this LS6 baby into a hardtop body style but all this power totally changed the attitude and public perception of the car. Ultimately, the LS6 would product up to 400 horsepower by 2004.

9. 2005 – 427 ci LS7

2005 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 LS7

2005 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 LS7

An ultimate small block design, Chevrolet has combined an aluminum block and heads that are capable of revs up to 7,000 rpms.  This 7.0 liter monster spits out 505 hp and 505 pound feet of torque, another perfect match! It has two valves per cylinder, features an eight quart dry sump type lubrication system and its revised exhaust maniforlds are thirty-four percent lighter. A more powerful engine controller segways the all electronic throttle control (ETC) functions. Equipped with the six-sped manual transmission, LS7 hurls the Corvette to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds.

10. 2015 – 6.2L LT4

2015 Chevrolet Corvette LT4 Engine

2015 Chevrolet Corvette LT4 Engine

Here we go! Supercharged LT4 shakes up the high performance cars like no other for the money! This 6.2L V-8 turns 650 horsepower and 650 pound feet of torque. It has to be by far the best and fastest engine built by Chevrolet. With new parts designed for weight reduction and to deliver higher outputs, this new Chevy package puts Corvette right up there with Ferrari, McLaren and Porsche.

The supercharger spins faster which allows the engine instant power while it attributes to the LT4’s low rpm torque production. This amazing new engine has all the latest technology on board, such as forged powder metal steel connecting rods, forged aluminum pistons, lightweight titanium intake valves, stainless steel exhaust manifolds, an aluminum engine balancer and a dual pressure control oil pump. This supercharged LT4 hits sixty miles per hour in about 3 seconds flat!

Summing Up

From older to newer models, these have been the contenders for the title of the best Corvette engine. Have you driven any of the models we’re reviewed above? Leave us a comment and tell us all about your experience!

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  1. […] V8. This is the most powerful basic motor Corvette had injected into it. This new V8, also known as LT1 again, operates two valves per cylinder with direct fuel injection. LT1 is very capable of extreme […]

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