Kurt Verlin
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Meet Chevy’s 1,004-HP Crate Engine, Shai-Hulud of Engines

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Chevrolet Performance ZZ632 crate engine
Photo: Chevrolet

“Big engine go fast.”

Chevrolet’s press release about the new ZZ632 crate engine contained a lot of words and numbers, but it could have been condensed to just that single sentence. Yes, the engine is so ridiculously large and powerful that it has transported my brain back in time to a pre-adult state, to those blissful days when sentence structure didn’t matter. Which doesn’t make any sense, because this is a big boy engine.

So let’s get the numbers out of the way. The first is 632 cubic inches, also known as 10.3 liters of displacement. Scratch what I said earlier — we’re not even in big boy territory anymore. This is more like Godzilla territory. Wait, no, the Nissan GT-R already has that analogy claimed. Maybe Shai-Hulud? Oh yeah, that’s the one. Dune was great.

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Anyway, I’m getting side-tracked here. Can you blame me? My head’s still spinning from the size of this thing. (I might also be in love with Denis Villeneuve). With over 10 liters of displacement comes a suitably high number of horsepowers and torques: 1,004 at 6,600 RPM and 876 lb-ft at 5,600 RPM, respectively. Just floor that baby and enjoy the hand of god giving you mighty shove in the back. Or, if you choose to plant that massive engine at the front of your ride, a nice tug. Mmm baby.

Chevrolet “recommends” not going over 7,000 revs and it’s not entirely clear what that means. If that’s the rev limit, why not just call it that? What happens if you try to go beyond 7,000 RPM? Will the ZZ632 crate engine go nuclear? Will it cause you to go so fast as to break the laws of physics? Has Chevrolet brought forth an engine capable of bridging space and time? Oh god, here I go talking about Dune again.

“This is the biggest, baddest crate engine we’ve ever built,” said Russ O’Blenes, director of massive engines and fast cars at General Motors. “The ZZ632 sits at the top of our unparalleled crate engine lineup as the king of performance.”

Thanks O’Blenes, that’s valuable information. But can you tell us something we don’t already know?

“It delivers incredible power, and it does it on pump gas.”

Oh my. Turns out melange isn’t necessary for going warp speed — all you need is a bit of 93 octane. Of course, the parallel between oil and spice was kind of the whole point of Frank Herbert’s epic novel. And now there’s a 1,004-horsepower crate engine that can help you get to the nearest IMAX theater even faster.