SEMA 2017: Chevy Performance E-Rod Perfect For California Corvettes

Aside from belting out 430 hp and looking badass, the E-Rod LS3 is CARB compliant! What would you put it in?

The mothership of Corvette Online, Power Automedia, is located in the epicenter of Southern California. From Santa Barbara to the Mexican border, roughly 25 million people, and all their cars, call this place home.

With those incredible numbers, the California Air Research Board (CARB) was created to keep pollution under control and as a byproduct, became an extremely powerful entity that not only rules auto emissions with an iron fist in the Golden State, but sets the bar for auto emissions nationally and globally as well.

Here’s the kicker, in other parts of the country, when a car reaches 25 years or older it automatically becomes smog exempt. Not in California, all cars after 1975 must be smogged every two years ’til Valhalla.

This can have a new lease on life.

For owners of 1976-1982 Corvettes in California, that handily eliminates them from jumping on the restomod bandwagon.

That all changed in 2010 when Chevrolet Performance introduced the E-Rod series of crate motors for cars built before 1995.

E-Rod motors have an Executive Order–California bureaucracy speak for it’s seal of approval–that it’s a “clean” engine and passes all CARB emission standards.

If you’re running a 1976-1982 Corvette–or most any other V8 equipped GM car 1995 and older in California–the E -Rod motor is an unsung hero.

Chevrolet Performance brought a boatload of crate motors to SEMA 2017, and we stopped by their display and talked with Bow Tie motor guru Bill Martens and asked about an update on all things E-Rod.

Every E-Rod includes a complete suite of components that keeps CARB happy.

“What differentiates E-Rod from other Chevy crate motors is you get a complete suite of parts in the package. You get the motor, the factory manifolds, cats, EVAP system and controller. CARB has blessed these motors with their approval and are a way to restomod your car while staying emissions compliant.”

Martens walked us through two offerings at Chevy Performance’s display and we couldn’t help visualizing which would look better between the coke bottle fenders of a C3 Corvette, the 430hp LS3 or the 556hp Supercharged LSA.

How about 556hp and 551 lb-ft of smooth LS power? The E-Rod LSA is the ticket

Either would bring any old maliase-era Corvette–or Camaro, Firebird, G-Body etc.–back to life. Our thoughts run wild the possibilities.

Because of the tight emissions regulation, rubber bumper C3s are damn near sale-proof in the Golden State.


Buy one for a song, swap in an E-Rod, and voila, you’ve got a barn burner C3 that wont break the bank.

Chevrolet Performance has you covered. Go here for LS3 and here for LSA details and pricing.

About the author

Dave Cruikshank

Dave Cruikshank is a lifelong car enthusiast and an Editor at Power Automedia. A zealous car geek since birth, he digs lead sleds, curvy fiberglass, kustoms and street rods. He currently owns a '95 Corvette, '76 Cadillac Seville, '99 LS1 Trans Am and big old Ford Van.
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