3 Different Ways to V8: We Compare the Highest-Horsepower Crate Engines from Ford, Mopar & GM
If you look at the mainstream, mass-market messaging from Detroit’s big three these days, it’s all about electric vehicles and the transition away from gasoline engines. In fact, most of them are advertising their plans to do away with gas-powered cars altogether. But you don’t have to look far to see that within each of these companies there still exists a group of old school engineers and gearheads who are committed to making old-fashioned horsepower while they still can. And nowhere is this more visible than in their crate engine lineups.
And with GM recently debuting a new, high displacement, high horsepower V8 known as the ZZ632, we thought now would be a good time to compare and contrast the flagship crate engines from Ford, Mopar and now GM.
Chevy’s Ten-Liter Monster
Let's start with the recently announced ZZ632 crate engine from Chevrolet Performance. The ZZ632 makes headlines not just because of its output of 1,004 horsepower and 876 pound feet of torque, but because of the way it achieves those numbers.
It's an old school formula even by V8 standards, no turbochargers, no supercharger, no overhead cams. With this engine it's all about displacement - 632 cubic inches or 10 liters to be exact.
And unlike the other two crate engines in this story, the ZZ632 has little resemblance to anything GM offers in a production vehicle. It's an engine for a very specific type of enthusiast who like making massive amounts of horsepower with massive amounts of displacement.
Pricing hasn't been announced yet for this just-debuted engine, but we'd wager it will come in at around $25,000, and for that money you'll get the ultimate, modern version of the classic American way of making power.
Next up there's Ford, who takes a very different approach to its top-dog crate engine, borrowing it nearly exactly as it comes from the current Shelby Mustang GT500.
The Predator crate engine, as it's known has a little more than half the displacement of the Chevy, coming in at 5.2 liters. And like all modern Ford V8s it uses dual overhead cams to make it the most "modern" of this trio.
But what makes the Predator different than Ford's other Coyote-based crate engines is the Eaton supercharger that sits on top of it. Output? 760 horsepower and 625 pound feet of torque.
And if you are looking to put the heart of the GT500 Mustang into your project vehicle, be prepared to part with about $26,000 to do so. Such is the price for Predator power.
The Hellephant in the Room
Finally, there's Mopar, who in a way has combined the Ford and GM methods into their own beastly V8. Mopar actually makes a couple of different crate engines based around its supercharged Hellcat Hemis, but the most infamous of the group is the "Hellephant" crate engine.
The Hellephant is based on the 6.2 liter Hellcat platform, and like the famous street Hemis of the '60s it displaces 426 cubic inches (or nearly seven liters). And that's before you get to the 3.0 liter supercharger.
The 426 Hellephant makes a full 1,000 horsepower along with 950 pound feet of torque, and the price tag for this blown Hemi is $30,0000—but there's an asterisk there.
The problem is, the Hellephant isn't currently available for purchase. The first production run sold out quickly, and parts issues have kept Mopar from doing another release. If you've got a Mopar project, the standard "Hellcrate" engine will be a lot easier to get a hold of, but the Hellephant is still the king.
No Wrong Way to Do It
It might be a stretch to say these engines are really competing against one in other for anything but bragging rights. It’s pretty rare to swap engine brands on domestic project cars, and there probably aren’t many enthusiasts cross-shopping these engines for their projects, especially at these price points.
If you are ready to drop up to $30,000 just for an engine, you are likely already very committed to that brand, but that doesn’t make it any less fun to study the different ways the Big Three have gone about building their top of the line crate engines.
The electric age may be approaching, but all three of these engines show that the American V8 Will not be going quietly into the night.
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