The First 32-Valve DOHC LT5 V8 Engine Ever Produced Is Now For Sale


The First 32-Valve DOHC LT5 V8 Engine Ever Produced Is Now For Sale

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Even among performance car enthusiasts, there are very few engines that are historically significant, beautiful to behold, and famous in their own right.

In a world filled with captivating nomenclatures like Hellcat and Voodoo, the third prong of that triple-threat can be difficult for Chevrolet motors and their strict three-digit alphanumeric codes to secure.

One power plant that instantly elevated itself above its corporate title is the LT5 found exclusively in the King of fourth-generation Corvettes.

The First 32-Valve DOHC LT5 V8 Engine Ever Produced Is Now For Sale

It is a story that GM aficionados marvel their kids with before bed; Lotus designed, built in its own wing of Mercury Marine’s Stillwater, OK plant, the naturally aspirated 5.7 liter LT5 debuted in the C4 ZR-1 at the 1989 Geneva Motor Show with a jaw-dropping 375 HP. This was at a time when the top-dog Mustang could only muster 225 and Ferrari’s new mid-engine V8 model made due with 296 ponies. The legendary mill also helped its host vehicle set a multitude of speed records and earned a bulletproof reputation when most other cars even close to its orbit were still known for their outrageous engine-out services.

More than three decades later, the original LT5 remains the only Corvette engine to eschew pushrods for dual overhead cams. It is difficult to overstate what a moonshot the ZR-1’s most pivotal component was, its importance to the Corvette and the entire US car industry, and its party trick of being just as impressive as a garage display piece as it was a world-class motivator.

The First 32-Valve DOHC LT5 V8 Engine Ever Produced Is Now For Sale

Now, you have the chance to get your hands on the very first production example of the LT5.

Original owned by the late Rick Kirk of RK Machine, who worked with Lotus and MerCruiser on some early prototyping, this piece of history passed to the current owner and listing seller, Brett Shank of Automotion Classics, who previously sold the “Whette Vette” LT5.

Still residing in its native shipping crate (which was carefully taken apart for photos), this early LT5 and its accompanying paperwork is stamped with #0000.

For further information, contact Brett directly at [email protected] and be sure to let us know if you become the next steward of this incredible piece of Crossed-Flags history!

The First 32-Valve DOHC LT5 V8 Engine Ever Produced Is Now For Sale


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  1. A great engine! Even after two and a half to three decades they still run good and are very reliable if properly maintained. Parts availability is the only negative with the LT5, luckily the Corvette community is is large and very accommodating.

  2. Back in the early 90s, we were regularly knocking off the ridiculously expensive and overly complex ZR1s off the track at Lapeer International Dragway in Lapeer, MI. We used simple, stroked out 350 (383) small block Chevy engines with Bow Tie heads in our C3s. It was great fun. We made lots of videos. Sometimes GM engineers would even show up on a weekend with tweaked LT5s and the results were about the same. We always wondered why Chevy engineering didn’t just stroke 350s like we were doing. It was very satisfying to see all-American, basic small blocks beat the fancy pants, white-loafer, country club european engine ZR1/LT5.

  3. GHLKAL, I agree! Not only did it look great, but because of the clamshell hood you could actually see the whole engine and display it at a show. The C4 ZR-1 is the only C4 I would ever own.

  4. Not only can you look at the LT5 engine, you can also get a good look at the rear bumpers of other cars using simple pushrod stroker 350/383s that passed you in the quarter mile…

  5. Bob in Florida, modern era Corvettes are for road course racing and autocrossing not drag racing. Unless you have a straight axle Corvette you have no business on a drag strip. IRS suspension is crap for making quarter mile runs!

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