When the LT5 was first introduced in the C4 ZR1, it was a technological marvel. The high-revving small-block was made completely of aluminum and housed a quartet of camshafts below those cast aluminum valve covers. While not as forward-thinking as the first time they were introduced to the public, they still cause quite a stir when new examples are unearthed like this crate engine offered on social media recently.
Amid those various car parts and used autos, there was this still-in-the-crate LT5 engine that was being offered on Facebook Marketplace. We’re not sure what it will ultimately sell for, but we know what a sum of some of the parts would cost to locate new examples today. The asking price of $19,500 dollars means that it may not wind up in an everyday engine swap or simply be purchased for spare parts. In fact, we recently saw a complete 1990 ZR1 go for less than a grand more than this engine alone. Then again, that car didn’t come with its original shipping crate and ID tag.
Some years ago, we heard a rumor that Chevrolet unearthed a small stash of these crate engines and they were eventually turned out into the wild, but we have no details on where they went. Now, some lucky enthusiast has the opportunity to obtain his own boxed-up version of the electronic age’s first muscle motor.
The ad says the engine is in Houston Texas and is a 1993-1995 version, which would make it the higher-powered (405hp) version which also came with four-bolt main caps instead of the original two. The listing says, “Includes all factory accessories – PS pump, AC compressor, Alternator, wiring harness, bell housing, mounts, etc.” so if you add up all the components, you’ll find some benefit over sorting out a take-out engine and rebuilding it. Plus, you’ll have the knowledge that the folks who built these engines originally are the same ones who built this engine.
There has been debate about the current value of these engines since higher horsepower and much less exotic engines are available for a fraction of the cost. But, when you remember that it was the LT5 that MADE the C4 ZR1 so cool back in the day, you can’t help but give it some style points and value. Like many of the masterpieces of a by-gone era that have gone on before it, will it take time for the craftsmanship and forward-thinking design of the first LT5 to once-again feel the warmth of the spotlight of public opinion? Will it ever find a following beyond a small group of enthusiasts of a certain generation of Corvette? Only time will tell, but we’ll be watching this listing for any clues as to what the future may hold. You should too!