Today in Corvette-adjacent news, the future of Cadillac’s LTA twin-turbo 4.2L “Blackwing” V8 is still uncertain. The “Hot V” engine is hand-assembled at the Performance Build Center inside the Corvette Assembly Plant in Bowling Green. As of January 31st, though, the Blackwing and all 640 of its torques have been without a home. The Platinum and V trims of Cadi’s largest sedan, the CT6, were the only way that customers could get their hands on the company’s first DOHC V8 since the Northstar went out of production in 2011.
During its short production run, spanning model years 2019 and 2020, only about 1,500 examples of the CT6 were ever fitted with the 550 HP powerplant, making the CT6-V one of the rarest GM Performance models in recent memory.
There has been much speculation about the Blackwing’s future. General Motors is adamant that the 4.2 will be a Cadillac exclusive, ruling out future Corvettes, Camaros, and trucks. It was also rumored to make its way into the upcoming CTS-V replacement but it apparently couldn’t fit in the engine bay of that car and we have since learned that a supercharged 6.2L V8 will be retained (most likely still an LT4, possibly with a power bump, but until it becomes official, we are still crossing our fingers for another dispossessed engine to make an encore appearance). Then there was the report that the LTA was destined for a top-tier Escalade, which sounded like an absolutely perfect pairing but GM came out and denied that too.
Even though it was still in its infancy, things seemed pretty bleak for the Blackwing until, late last week, when several outlets reported that the Turin, Italy-based company behind the reimagined Lancia Stratos, MAT (Manifattura Automobili Torino, which literally translates to Turin Car Makers) would be adopting the engine for use in a limited-production, yet-to-be-revealed vehicle. They were even set to reveal this concept at the canceled Geneva Motor Show with a Blackwing V8 on display. All of this was done with the blessing of the Turin-based General Motors Propulsion Engineering Center.
However, Hagerty received a response from GM after they broke the news about the MAT deal. In this response, General Motors said, “The story regarding the 4.2L V-8 Blackwing engine is not accurate. We do not have an agreement in place with Manifattura Automobili Torino (MAT) to provide or sell the Blackwing engine. Furthermore, although MAT may be working with the Punch Group, we have not licensed this engine as part of the Turin Propulsion Engineering Center sale to Punch Group. Our team is following up with MAT president Paolo Garella to discuss the misunderstanding. We are open to other options for the Blackwing engine in the future, but have nothing to announce at this time.”
Apparently, the deal to use the Blackwing was more of an initial verbal agreement between people at the GM Propulsion Engineering Center and MAT. The deal was greatly complicated when GM announced that they sold the Turin Propulsion Center, their last foothold in Europe, to the Punch Group on February 27th.
Then MAT followed up with Hagerty’s Máté Petrány with their side of the story, saying, “We thank GM for the clarification. Although a signed agreement was not finalized between the parties, we were under the impression that our counterpart was committing to making this engine available to MAT at conditions yet to be defined. All the agreed joint commercial activities, such as the participation with the engine to the canceled GIMS2020, were based on this assumption. Furthermore, we were not aware of the sale of the Turin Propulsion Engineering Center to Punch Group until the official announcement on February 27th.
We hope that this misunderstanding will not compromise our relations with GM and possible future collaborations.”
So, two negatives here, MAT’s response was very diplomatic, so we won’t get to see some modern, reverse telling of Ford v. Ferrari that brings the Stratos into competition with the C8.R, and, for now, at least, it seems likely that the Blackwing will continue to rot on a shelf while the General focuses its efforts on electrification.
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