Chevrolet Performance Announces ZZ6 Crate Engine
For over 60 years, Chevrolet’s Small Block 350 has been the gift that keeps on giving, thanks in large part to its ability to provide incomparable bang-for-your-buck performance. But it wasn’t until 1988 when Chevrolet really flipped the script when it released the “ZZZ,” the company’s first modern crate engine. Despite not being as large and as powerful as some of the other crate engines released at that time, the ZZZ received universal acclaim for its all-around versatility. Since then, the ZZ-series crate engine has evolved numerous times. It will culminate at the 2015 SEMA Auto Show, when Chevrolet Performance unveils the latest iteration of the iconic powertrain, the new ZZ6 350-cubic-inch, 5.7-liter crate engine.
The ZZ6 is fresh out of Chevrolet’s engine laboratory, boasting new features that are expected to take its performance capabilities to a whole new level. One of the most important features of the engine are the updated Fast Burn cylinder heads with large intake runners and 2.00/1.55-inch valves, both of which play integral roles in facilitating increased airflow, enhancing the engine’s performance in high-rpm situations, and helping the new mill produce 405 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque. Those performance numbers represent the most power ever produced by a "stock" Chevy 350 engine, making the new ZZ6 one of the most powerful Small Block 350 crate engines in the entire history of the ZZ powertrain.
In a lot of ways, this new engine represents Chevrolet’s ability to evolve and adapt to the current crate engine climate, all while sticking to an architecture that has served it well since the first Small Block 350 burst into the scene back in 1955. Once the new ZZ6 crate engine hits the market, potential customers have the option to choose between two versions: Base and Turn Key. Chevrolet has yet to announce the price for the new ZZ6 crate engine kits but expect an announcement to be made at SEMA on November 3, 2015.
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Why it matters
By definition, the new ZZ6 crate engine will target aftermarket builders looking for a new powertrain to drop into their latest creations. There’s a reason why Chevrolet Performance is unveiling the ZZ6 at SEMA, widely regarded as the biggest aftermarket auto show in the world. In terms of exposing its new crate engine to the biggest possible gathering of potential buyers, SEMA really is the first and only choice for the new crate engine to make its debut.
In addition to the already mentioned features of the new ZZ6, Chevrolet Performance is also giving the ZZ6 a forged steel crankshaft and high-silicon aluminum pistons inside of a cast iron block. A more purposeful hydraulic roller camshaft with .474/.510-inch lift and 208/221-degrees duration allow the engine’s high-rpm airflow to run smoothly.
Now as far as what vehicles can use this engine, the possibilities are really endless. Its small size can fit a large number of vehicles, including hot rods from every era and popular resto-mod project vehicles. What’s clear is that aftermarket companies and hot rod teams will likely be the most aggressive segments that will try to get their hands on this crate engine.
As an added bonus, Chevrolet’s giving potential customers the choice of picking between two different ZZ6 kits: the Base Kit and the Turn Key Kit. The Base kit comes with a single-plane aluminum intake, distributor, water pump, damper, and flexplate. It lacks the carburetor some other important accessories, so anybody looking at this version should also make room in their budget for these parts.
On the flip side, the Turn Key kit already includes the carburetor and is joined by an air cleaner, starter, distributor, alternator, and additional accessories, including the front-end accessory drive system and the air conditioning compressor.