In years gone by, swapping an engine was an immense task. Whether the decision was made to start with a junkyard core, rebuild a used engine, or put together an engine with all new parts, it was a challenge, and that’s where the guys at Pace Performance excel. They’ve assembled what is potentially the largest group of Chevy LS crate engines to be found anywhere from a number of well-respected suppliers. In their catalog you can find their own engines alongside powerplants from Chevrolet Performance, Edelbrock, Mast Motorsports, and Blueprint Engines.
Whether your car is LS-equipped from the factory, you’ve got a street-rod you’re looking to upgrade, or even a Mustang you’re outfitting for dragstrip performance, there is something in the Pace catalog for you.
You can find everything you’ll need in the Pace Performance catalog, from LS engines to transmissions and more, making a swap into your older hotrod a simple task.
We headed over to their website to take a look at the lineup they offer and were a little bit overwhelmed; there are literally dozens of choices encompassing every type of LS engine from each of the manufacturers previously named, and that’s where Pace’s Chuck Fitch came into the picture to help us wade through the different choices.
“The biggest thing to start with is to have a clear sense of what they plan on doing with the vehicle. If they have an older musclecar and they just want something to cruise on the weekends or run across the country, then it’s best to look at the lower-horsepower OE-type fitment engines offered by GM, like their Connect-and-Cruise options. For every individual LS engine we sell, another customer will purchase a Connect-and-Cruise package – it’s about 50-50” he explains.
Our bestsellers tend to be the factory OEM engines. – Chuck Fitch, Pace Performance
Since we don’t expect too many stock-for-stock swappers to be reading this article, we’re going to concentrate on the company’s performance offerings, but rest assured that if you’re just trying to replace a tired LS engine with the same thing, from LS1’s to LS7’s, or put a factory motor in place of an older small-block, Pace most likely has it on the shelf.
As the LS engine platform has become so incredibly popular over the last couple of years, so has the market for retrofits into older vehicles that didn’t use the LS platform from the factory – or even non-GM hot rods. To that end, the aftermarket (and Chevrolet Performance) has hopped onto the bandwagon to provide manifolds that permit the LS to be used with a carburetor in your application of choice.
In addition, there are also fuel-injected packages and long-block-only versions of some of these engines, and we’ve assembled a number of ideas from the Pace Performance catalog to simplify your search. We’ll cover a number of the most popular packages in addition to some of Pace’s engine/transmission packages designed to simplify the process for the end-user.
5.3L 327 HO
The basic 5.3 HO crate engine provides performance on a budget.
Perhaps the most cost-effective way to stick a brand-new LS engine into that older machine is to use the GM 5.3L 327 cubic-inch High Output crate engine and install kit [PN 19244096, $4,079.88]. This setup allows the user to have the best of both worlds; the proven factory 5.3, albeit with a few well-thought-out modifications that take the engine to 327 horsepower and 347 foot-pounds of torque while retaining an incredibly affordable price.
This engine features an aluminum GM Performance Parts cathedral-port intake manifold, 9.5:1 compression ratio, a GM Performance Parts hydraulic-roller custom camshaft, and a set of Grafal-coated pistons from Mahle. It’s shipped in a manifold-to-pan configuration complete with ignition coils, harnesses, and even plug wires, and carries a 2 year/50,000 mile parts and labor warranty. Simply add your carburetor and hang on.
This OEM 5.3 package includes all of the emissions gear and external accessories – great for replacing the engine in a truck that’s worn out the original.
LC9 5.3L E-Rod
If emissions-friendly status is important to you, look no further than the General’s LC9 5.3L E-Rod crate engine package [PN 19258004, $6369.88] designed for use with an automatic transmission. The 327-cube engine is based on the same design used in hundreds of thousands of GM trucks. 315 horsepower and a nice powerband with low-RPM torque is standard.
While it isn’t full of aftermarket performance parts, what you do get is a host of OE parts including the engine wiring harness, exhaust manifolds, catalytic converters, oxygen sensors, the fuel-tank evaporative canister, and other items that are required for installation. It’s a torque-producing engine that’s friendly to the environment, and comes standard with a 2 year, 50,000 mile warranty.
A Modern Classic Dual Quad
Old-school-cool carburetor lovers will especially appreciate the dual-quad 327-cube crate engine from Chevrolet Performance [PN GMP-19165628-D, $6,379.88]. For the owner who wants to slap some 327 goodness between the framerails of a ’69 Camaro, but retain current-day performance and reliability, the dual-quad engine is for you. 9.5:1 compression, 355 horsepower and 375 foot-pounds of torque come standard, along with the ignition coils, Edelbrock Endurashine dual-quad package with a pair of 500 CFM electric-choke carburetors, and even dress-up parts like a polished aluminum air cleaner and valve covers.
Who doesn’t love dual quads? This slick setup atop a modern LS engine provides the street-rodder or muscle car enthusiast the best of both worlds.
It’s based on the proven 5.3 installed in plenty of assembly-line vehicles. There’s an iron block, up-rated camshaft, and Mahle Grafal-coated pistons. Thanks to the mild compression ratio, this puppy can be cruised around town with plain ol’ 87 octane pump fuel, making it the perfect complement to a Sunday driver. There’s a two-year/50,000 mile limited warranty as standard equipment, making this truly one of the best deals going.
A step up to the next level gets you a wicked crate piece from Chevrolet Performance – the LSX376-B15 long-block [PN 19299306, $8,019.88]. It provides a great foundation for those enthusiasts who plan to add up to 15 pounds of artificial atmosphere, and has a bunch of great features designed to withstand the added performance. It’s delivered without an intake manifold, oil pan assembly, and a few other accessories, allowing the end-user to source their own components of choice depending on the combination.
LSXMag’s own Project Blank Slate is powered by an LSX 376 crate engine. Pace offers long block combinations as well, that allow the customer to finish the engine off with the induction system of their choice.
The foundation uses the Chevrolet Performance LSX cast iron block, a 4340 8-bolt-flange forged-steel crankshaft, forged powdered-metal steel connecting rods, and forged pistons. 68cc aluminum LS3 rectangular-port cylinder heads sit on top and set the engine at 9:1 compression to be boost-friendly. In a naturally-aspirated configuration with LS3 EFI, this long-block makes 450 horsepower and 444 foot-pounds of torque, making it a solid performer in its own right. In case you can’t afford to add forced induction right away, you could start with this piece and be prepared for the future.
Z06 Power For Sale
If you’re one of those that’s been sucked in by the mystic performance and features offered by the legendary C6 Corvette Z06’s naturally aspirated 7.0L, 500-plus horsepower LS7 engine, but couldn’t find it in the budget to purchase the whole car, Pace has the answer for you – the LS7 crate piece [PN 19244098, $13,209.88].
Seven liters of LS goodness in the form of the dry-sump LS7 Corvette engine. Where else can you find a crate engine with titanium connecting rods?
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last several years, the LS7 engine uses a 4.125-inch bore and 4.000-inch stroke to arrive at the 427-cube number, but perhaps more important is the way the engine gets to the magical 500-horse mark. The LS7 uses an aluminum block, forged-steel crankshaft, and flyweight forged titanium connecting rods along with hypereutectic aluminum pistons pushing 11:1 compression in the bottom end.
On top, a healthy bumpstick, and a set of monster CNC-ported aluminum LS7 cylinder heads using titanium 2.200-inch intake and 1.61-inch exhaust valves. This LS7 crate engine includes the production dry-sump oil pan assembly, although you’ll have to supply the tank and oil lines to the engine. Intake and exhaust manifolds are included, as is a set of fuel injectors and throttle body.
Turnkey drop-in performance can be yours with the Pace-exclusive carbureted LS3 engine – and good looks too. This is a sweet piece at a sweet price, that could serve as an excellent bracket-racing powerplant for a very reasonable pricetag.
Back on the carbureted front is the sweet Pace-exclusive LS3 engine [PN GMP-19259233-C5, $9,498.88] that pumps out 550 horsepower at 5,700 RPM and 496 foot-pounds of torque at 5,000 RPM. The engine is based on the Chevrolet Performance LS525HP crate engine, and the Pace team adds a front distributor drive timing cover kit to end up with a turnkey carbureted drop-in engine that needs nothing.
They’ve included a Holley retro-fit oil pan, Davis D.U.I. custom-curved HEI distributor, Chevy Performance LSX single-plane intake manifold, and even an AED 750 CFM carburetor to produce the horsepower number on the dyno. A sweet set of powder-coated Chevy Orange valve covers rounds out the package, making this a sweet way to freshen up the underhood look and performance of your muscle car.
LSX 454 EFI
For some enthusiasts, the “454” moniker means just about everything. It was attached to the big-block Chevy engine back in the day, but now you can have a Pace Exclusive LSX454 EFI small-block crate engine [PN GMP-19244611-7FIA, $13,749.88] that’s filled with a pile of sweet parts and twists the dyno to 585 horsepower and 570 foot-pounds of torque – more power than those Rat motors everyone remembers so fondly.
The LSX454 can put the legendary 454 cubic inches of displacement back under the hood of your Chevelle or El Camino – but do so with modern technology and performance.
This particular engine starts with an LSX Bowtie 4.185-inch bore block, a forged-steel 4.125-inch stroke crankshaft, a set of forged connecting rods, and forged pistons. A set of six-bolt LSX cylinder heads based on the proven LS7 castings sit on top, capping the engine with an 11:1 compression ratio and necessitating the use of premium pump fuel.
Six Hundred All-Motor Horsepower – With a Warranty!
Breaking the 600-horse mark is the sweet retrofit bullet from BluePrint Engines [PN PSLS4270CTC, $9,999.00]. With 605 horsepower and 575 foot-pounds of torque from the 427, this piece just needs an ignition module and it’s ready to be dropped into your muscle car of choice. Seven liters of pure carbureted fun are on tap.
A new GM LS block is used, along with a forged-steel 4.125-inch stroke crankshaft and forged-steel 6.125-inch-long connecting rods. Forged Mahle pistons providing 11:1 compression are also housed in the one-piece rear main seal block. L92/LS3 cylinder heads are used on top along with an Edelbrock intake manifold and 850 CFM carburetor.
The 427 retrofit engine from BluePrint Engines breaks the 600-horse mark, but not your wallet, at under $10K for the whole works.
The engine is delivered complete from carburetor to oil pan and carries an industry-leading 30 month/50,000 mile warranty – a big number for an engine producing this kind of performance.
The same basic engine is offered in a fuel-injected long-block configuration [PN PSLS4271CT, $8,999.00] that requires the end-user to re-use (or source new) the fuel injection system, ignition, oil pan, valve covers, and harmonic damper.
Also available from the same basic BluePrint configuration is their fuel-injected retrofit engine [PN PSLS4272CTF, $10,999.00] that includes the long-block, new universal-fit oil pan, GM intake manifold, injectors, fuel rails, and electronics package including the drive-by-wire throttle body/throttle pedal, sensors, coilpacks and harness, along with a brand-new engine-control computer complete with custom tune installed. All that’s required for installation is a water pump and accessory-drive system, making this the perfect piece to be included in an older Camaro or Corvette resto-mod. This engine, like the previous two, carries BluePrint’s 30 month/50,000 mile warranty.
Complete Driveline Solutions
Not only can you purchase just about any LS crate engine you can think of from the Pace catalog, there are also full driveline solutions – engine and transmission packages that have already been figured out for you with a variety of options to satisfy any project’s requirements. For example, there is the Chevrolet Performance LS3 Connect-and-Cruise crate powertrain [PN CPSLS34L65E, $11,329.88] that includes all of the control modules, wiring harnesses and other components you’ll need with one single part number.
Included in the package is a 430-horse LS3 engine, a specially-calibrated engine controller, 4L65E transmission with torque converter, transmission controller, and 4L65E installation kit. The Connect-and-Cruise packages are designed for simplicity, power, performance, and reliability, all at a price that’s easy to digest. Check out the Pace website for more on these unique products.
The LS3/4L65E engine and transmission package comes with nearly everything you’ll need to install it into a car; engine controller, transmission controller, and even a drive-by-wire throttle pedal. The only thing not included are the tools – and the car.
On the manual transmission side of the equation, Chevrolet Performance has put together this sweet gear-banger’s package for big-inch engine lovers using the LSX454 engine backed by a TREMEC T56 six-speed transmission [PN GMP-LSX454T56, $18,209.88]. It uses the LSX454 engine we spoke about up above, and combines it with the Super Magnum T56, RAM 12-inch Power-Grip HD clutch, new RAM Steel flywheel, hydraulic throw-out bearing, 4th-Gen F-Body bellhousing, a T56 driveshaft yoke, and a number of other components put together to simplify the installation process.
If banging gears is your thing, take a look at the LSX454/T56 package. Everything you need under one simple part number – just add wallet and time to install it all.
“Our primary market is the Tri-5 market all the way up to the musclecar years – people are putting these in every kind of chassis you can think of. We’ve even got one customer working to fit an LS engine into a Prius,” says Fitch.
Boosted And Blown
There’s just nothing like boost – a car equipped with a supercharger or turbo will change your life in a good way, and Pace Performance has a couple of supercharged bullets in the warehouse with varying levels of performance.
The LSA from the Cadillac CTS-V offers a level of refinement that’s slightly different from the other LS engines in our roundup. One of these would be sweet in an older Caddy – think about the stares you’d get at the car show!
First up is the LSA 6.2L 556-horse supercharged crate piece, fresh out of the Cadillac CTS-V [PN 19260164, $11,209.88]. This is the second-most-powerful Chevrolet Performance crate engine, behind the LS9, but it offers a different level of performance and refinement as befitting the Cadillac name. Included in this 376 cubic inch production engine package are the cast-aluminum engine block, a forged-steel crankshaft, powdered-metal connecting rods and hypereutectic aluminum pistons.
L92 cylinder heads are fed by the 1.9L roots-style supercharger, and the engine comes to your door with nearly everything you’ll need to get it installed. The engine includes the entire long-block, supercharger assembly, induction parts, flywheel, harmonic balancer, and exhaust manifolds. You even get the dipstick, tube, intercooler fluid pump, oil filter, and 2 year/50,000 mile warranty. In other words, the LSA is a steal of a deal.
Edelbrock’s E-Force supercharged LS engine uses the proven 2.3L Eaton rotor pack in the supercharger housing and pumps out a sick 720 horsepower.
On the top side of the equation when it comes to supercharged engines is the LS3 supercharged crate engine from Edelbrock [PN 46730,$17,999.95]. They use a brand-new aluminum LS3 4.000-inch bore engine block and stuff it full of a Manley forged 4.065-inch-stroke crankshaft to go with a set of forged H-beam connecting rods and 9.5:1-compression forged pistons to allow it to handle the horsepower from the E-Force LS3 2.3L supercharger system.
The LS3 heads have been upgraded with a set of new valve springs from Edelbrock to ensure the valves are well-controlled under boost conditions. The engine comes with everything you’ll need for installation, including the intercooler pump, intercooler plumbing and recovery tank.
Completing the system is a set of fuel rails, 60 pound-per-hour fuel injectors, mass air flow sensor housing, and even a new air filter. The supercharged LS pounds out 720 horsepower and 695 foot-pounds of torque from a 91-octane-friendly whopper of an engine.
Don’t think that all you can buy from Pace are standard musclecar swap engines – they offer a number of different race-inspired pieces that would be at home in any bracket racer or serious grudge race machine. The LS3 416 SS engine from Mast Motorsports [PN 111-222, $14,720.95] will fit the bill, providing immense power in an all-natural setting.
The hand-built 4.065-inch bore aluminum-block masterpiece uses a 4.000-inch stroke Callies forged crankshaft and Callies forged H-beam connecting rods in conjunction with Mahle pistons. Valvetrain actuation is performed by a Mast Motorsports custom-grind camshaft through Manley one-piece chromoly pushrods and Mast nitrided beehive valve springs in the CNC-ported LS3 cylinder heads sitting atop Cometic MLS head gaskets.
Mast Motorsports’ 416-cube engine is hand-built and will drop almost 600 horsepower on an unsuspecting opponent. A Callies rotating assembly and CNC-ported LS3 heads are standard fare.
This engine uses an LS3 intake manifold and provides a whopping 595 documented horsepower from the fuel-injected bullet. ARP fasteners are used throughout the build, and the assembly includes an M-90 ECM and harness and all required sensors, making the package a steal for nearly 600 horsepower of all-day-long performance.
COPO Power On Tap
The new-gen COPO Camaro has proven to be a capable performer on the track in the NHRA’s Stock Eliminator classes. The naturally-aspirated crowd gets a 427-cube, high-rise manifold beast, and the forced-induction gang has the opportunity to use a high-winding 327-cube screamer topped off with twin-screw supercharged goodness – and Pace Performance carries both engines.
Despite giving up 100 cubic inches of displacement to its larger brethren, the 327-cube COPO piece [PN 17802827, $31,879.88] relies on a 4.0L Whipple twin-screw supercharger to crank out 550 rated horsepower from the small cubes. Top-shelf parts are used throughout the build, including an LSX cast-iron block, Callies 4340 forged-steel crankshaft and Callies 4340 forged-steel H-beam Ultra connecting rods swinging the Grafal-coated and hard-anodized Mahle 2618 forged-aluminum dome pistons.
5.3 liters of engine and 4.0 liters of Whipple twin-screw supercharger combine to produce one of the baddest Chevrolet crate engines ever produced – the COPO Camaro powerplant. This engine pushes COPO cars to mid-eight-second elapsed times in NHRA competition. Need we say more?
In the interest of maximizing performance, the superior cylinder heads from the LS7 engine are used and fully CNC-ported, with actuation provided by a COMP Cams hydraulic-roller camshaft through LS7 rocker arms controlled by PSI beehive valve springs. The engine is provided with 105 pound per hour fuel injectors, a cable-actuated throttle pedal, and production LS7 coils and wires are used along with a host of necessary GM sensors. Looking to go Stock racing and set a Cobra Jet or two in your sights? This engine leads the way.
Naturally Aspirated 427
The Whole Package
One of the advantages to purchasing a crate engine from Pace Performance is that they have the knowledge to set you up with the rest of the driveline parts to get you running. They also carry a full line of other parts from exterior accessories to electronics.
Depending on which engine you choose, there may be additional parts required to make it work in your platform, from an engine computer to fuel system parts to other driveline pieces like flywheels or clutches.
Simply put, they’re a one-stop shop for making your enthusiast dreams come true. They even have online chat help during the day to assist you with your buying choices.
The big brother 427 engine [PN 17802825, $25,179.88] uses many of the same parts, but drops the supercharger from the equation. Also designed for Stock Eliminator competition, the 427 hearkens back to the spirit of the original all-aluminum ZL1 engine from the first-gen COPO cars.
13:1 compression, a Callies 5140 forged crankshaft, and 4340 H-beam connecting rods are paired with a set of Mahle pistons using a number of go-fast tricks to aid in performance. This engine also uses the LS7 running gear, as it has been proven in competition all over the world.
One departure from the norm is the Holley Hi-Ram intake manifold, designed to take advantage of the COPO 427’s big-breathing ability and high-RPM operating range. This engine pumps out an NHRA-factored 425 horsepower and has proven incredibly competitive in Stock competition.
The Top of the Mountain
The last race engine we’ve got isn’t a COPO piece, but is the most powerful crate engine Chevrolet Performance has ever offered. The LSX454R [PN 19260835, $19,239.88] is the baddest of the bad when it comes to crate performance – dropping 750-plus horses and 680-plus foot pounds of torque on the competition.
The foundation is very similar to the standard LSX454 engine, but the “R” added on to the end of the name designation means that the end-user gets a set of 11-degree, six-bolt LSX DR cylinder heads to go with the shaft-mount rocker arms, solid-roller camshaft and 13.1:1 compression ratio. 110-octane race fuel is a must with this bullet.
The engine arrives as a long-block with an aluminum high-rise intake manifold and 1150 CFM Holley Dominator carburetor, and is ready for a big shot of go-juice to help take down the competition.
The big-dog LSX454R features the latest in Chevrolet Performance technology – LSX DR cylinder heads, 13.1:1 compression, a healthy solid roller camshaft – and over 750 horsepower.
As you can see, there are a laundry list of different engines you can purchase to outfit your machine with LS power depending upon your intended end-use of the vehicle in question, and this isn’t even a full accounting of every crate engine that Pace Performance offers. It’s just a matter of deciding which type of power you want, making the phone call, and digging in the couch cushions for spare change.