What’s Your Favorite Engine?
When it comes to enthusiasts talking smack about cars, engines are at the top of the list. We live in a golden age, with a variety of great engines from different manufacturers. Each one has specific strengths and weaknesses, so it’s hard to say which is the best at pushing the ponies to the tires. So, instead of comparing engines strictly by numbers and specs, we asked some of the top names in the automotive world what their favorite engine is and why.
JEREMY FORMATO: GM LT4 V8
"The LT4 in the '15-19 C7 Z06s, CTSV3s, ZL1s are torque monsters (over 800RWTQ @3800RPM), and when dialed in can produce over 850RWHP with a stock 1.7L blower. The drivability of the direct injection and variable cam timing is amazingly smooth and efficient.
At Fasterproms we optimize each component and address the heat which is critical to a streetcar capable of over 150mph+ quarter mile trap speeds. The advancements in technology are simply amazing — 20 years ago we dreamt of this kind of power, and now it’s a reality with very few compromises."
ERIK MILLER: GM LS V8
While there are several different engines that I love, my favorite of all time has to be the GM LS Gen IV small block V8. The 90-degree architecture along with the overhead valve design allows the platform to be simple and compact, lending itself perfect for use in off-road race applications.
You can build big reliable power in a relatively lightweight package, all with an engine family that was designed with modularity in mind. It's no wonder that the overwhelming majority of the Ultra4 off-road racecars competing today use the LSX platform.
JAROD DEANDA: Toyota/BMW B58 I6 & GM LSX V8
Engines, or the “the heart of the beast,” has many different ideations ESPECIALLY in Formula Drift! Two engines stand out in my mind in the current FD roster:
1. Aasbo’s Papadakis-built Toyota/BMW B58 turbo inline-6 produces amazing power and it won last year’s Formula Drift championship. 2. Jonathan Hurst’s (AKA the Pride of Paducah, KY) turbocharged LSX V8 engine is the loudest & proudest!
TJ HUNT: Toyota 2JZ I6
I would say my favorite engine (not saying it's the best engine out there) would be the Toyota 2JZ inline-6 engine. I love how easy it is to slap on a new manifold, turbo and fueling and make 600hp with stock internals and zero head work.
I also think it's rad how you can hodgepodge JZ blocks from turbo and N/A applications and 1JZ parts and combine bits and pieces together to make the ultimate JZ engine.
CLEETUS MCFARLAND: GM LS V8
If I had to choose one engine that I love the most, brother, that’s gotta be the screaming eagles of a 7.0L Chevy LS V8. Drifting, Drag Racing, whatever you want, she’s gonna rip.
STEPHEN PAPADAKIS: Honda B-Series I4
I'd say the Honda B series engine is my favorite. The B16A engine in the ‘90s was relatively light weight, had an all-aluminum block and heads, made 100 HP per liter and revved to 9,000 rpm with just a few mods. They also responded very well to turbocharging and would easily make 500+ horsepower.
During the ‘90s and early 2000s they were plentiful from the Japanese importers so the cost for a good, used engine was low. They also sound cool when the VTEC kicks in.
MIKE MCGLOTHLIN: Ford 7.3L V8 Power Stroke Diesel
I like a lot of engines, all of them diesel, but it would feel wrong to call a diesel I’ve never owned my favorite. So, my answer is my 7.3L Ford Power Stroke diesel.
It’s gone from 159rwhp stock to 567rwhp at present, made countless drag strip passes and accumulated 226,000 miles over the years—all on the factory rotating assembly. I’ve literally kicked this engine in the nuts more times than I can count, and it keeps on ticking!
JASON NOEL: Ford 5.0L Coyote V8
I would have to say the Ford 5.0L Coyote V8 engine is my favorite, and that’s because of its small displacement, dual overhead cams, great efficiency, and the 6-bolt cross main lower end. It gives us a great platform for building A LOT of horsepower while also being a great platform for superchargers and turbos—all without the need for a lot of mods.
Here at Fat Fender Garage we use this platform in most of our Ford builds; especially when coupled with a 10-speed automatic—it delivers an amazing end-product.
MIKE GARRETT: GM LS1 V8
My favorite engine is the Chevy 5.7L LS1 V8 that debuted in the C5 generation Corvette for the 1997 model year. Though its 345hp seems modest by the standards of GM’s modern V8s, it was that original LS1 that laid the foundation for all those engines to come.
Not only did the LS1 make the C5 and other GM products into groundbreaking performance cars, its low weight, small size, and endless power potential have made it the most popular engine swap of the modern era.