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GM Will Be Just Fine Without the LS/LT V8, Better Than Chrysler Without the HEMI

Recently on V8 Month, our 30-day celebration of all the world's great V8s, we talked about how Chrysler/Mopar losing their HEMI V8 to the EV menace is the auto industry equivalent of a tragedy. But the truth is that you could say that about pretty much any great V8 made right now, seeing as they're all going out to pasture in the next few years.
The 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is powered by the 5.5L LT6 engine, the highest horsepower, naturally-aspirated production V-8 to hit the market.The 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is powered by the 5.5L LT6 engine, the highest horsepower, naturally-aspirated production V-8 to hit the market.The 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is powered by the 5.5L LT6 engine, the highest horsepower, naturally-aspirated production V-8 to hit the market.The 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is powered by the 5.5L LT6 engine, the highest horsepower, naturally-aspirated production V-8 to hit the market.The 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is powered by the 5.5L LT6 engine, the highest horsepower, naturally-aspirated production V-8 to hit the market.The 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is powered by the 5.5L LT6 engine, the highest horsepower, naturally-aspirated production V-8 to hit the market.Chevrolet LT1 crate engineChevrolet LT4 crate engineChevrolet LT5 crate engineChevrolet LT4 crate engineChevrolet LT4 crate engineChevrolet LT4 crate engineChevrolet LT5 crate engineMopar 345 HEMI V8 crate engineMopar 392 HEMI V8 crate engineMopar 6.2L Hellcrate HEMI V8 crate engineMopar 6.2L Hellcrate Redeye HEMI V8 crate engineMopar Hellephant 426 HEMI V8 crate engineChrysler Hemi CarsChrysler Hemi CarsChrysler Hemi CarsChrysler Hemi CarsChrysler Hemi CarsJohn's ChargerJohn's Charger2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray
But it'd be wrong to say that every sunsetted V8 henceforth has to be a crippling blow to their brand's public image in the same way the HEMI will be for Chrysler. Take, for example, their inter-city rivals at General Motors. Like the HEMI, the LS/LT V8 engine has defined Chevrolet performance cars in the 21st century. With the exception of a couple of Cadillac alternatives in the Northstar and the Blackwing, all roads lead to the LS in GM land.

Like all internal combustion engines, the LS and the newer LT engines famous in Corvettes, Camaros, Chevy/GMC trucks, and all manner of different restomods are likely, not long for this world. But once the dust from that is settled and you compare GM's electric vehicle lineup to that of Chrysler/Dodge, you can't help but think that one clearly has the edge over the other when the time comes to ax V8s entirely. Spoiler alert, it's not Chrysler.

A simple search of chevrolet.com/electric reveals a fleet of five different electric vehicles ready to buy as of September 2022. Granted, all of them are crossover SUVs or pickup trucks, but it's not like most people in America are driving around in sedans anymore. Of all the vehicles in Chevy's EV fleet, the most impressive has to be the new all-electric Silverado. With 660 horsepower and 790 lb-ft (1071.09 Nm) of instantaneous torque on offer, it's bringing the fight to the Ford F-150 Lightning in the suddenly raging hot EV pickup market also inhabited by Rivian R1T.

Elsewhere in the lineup, stalwarts like the Bolt EV are flanked by the larger, more "SUV-like" Bolt EUV. Followed by two very promising crossovers in the Equinox and Blazer EVs. All these vehicles share a common battery and electric motor architecture dubbed the Ultium platform. Like a decent fast-food taco joint menu, the platform squeezes out as many different vehicles as possible with as few bespoke parts between them as can possibly be spared. Cutting down on costs that can be invested in other EV projects in the process.

Beyond what's on their website currently, rumors and hype are abounding about an alleged hybrid-electric drivetrain coming to the C8 Chevy Corvette sometime in 2023. Combine this with electric offerings from GMC in the Hummer EV and the Cadillac with their Lyriq, and it's clear General Motors has their eyes on the prize in terms of the industry's path forward long term. Meanwhile, we can't say the same for Chrysler, at least in autumn 2022. If you ask us, it has much to do with the mystique built up around their HEMI V8 compared to the GM LS.

Let's put it this way, the difference between the GM LS and the Chrysler HEMI is less about the internals of either motor and more about the basis of their reputation. The old saying "on a long enough timeline, everything gets an LS swap" exists for a reason. So to say, the LS is a legend just as much for the quirky and endlessly varied list of vehicles it's been shoehorned into as it is for being a magnificent and powerful engine. Meaning, at least in theory, losing it should be a slightly easier pill to swallow. At least, from a certain point of view.

On the other hand, the modern Mopar V8 and all its variants, as powerful and beloved as they are, have little about them mechanically that separates them from other American pushrod V8s. Their cylinder heads aren't even fully hemispherical anymore. As we've touched on before, that hasn't stopped the HEMI from being a cherished and beloved lineage. You won't find any HEMI haters among our ranks here, but you can't help but get the feeling that without their flagship V8 around, an already struggling brand's luster is further diminished.

It must be said. Dodge is finally getting around to electrifying its fleet while phasing out vehicles that have held down the fort for almost two decades. The Dodge Hornet plug-in hybrid is the pinnacle trim of the first all-new Dodge model since the failed Dart economy car. Further down the road, the Charger and Challenger will either be phased out entirely or have an all-new generation with either a PHEV or battery EV drivetrain. It all comes to a head with an all-electric RAM pickup slated for reveal this November. It must be said, Chrysler/Dodge may finally be about to wake up and smell the coffee.

But as it stands, it's safe to say GM and Chevrolet will have a leg up on Chrysler when the time comes to sunset their respective flagship V8s. It will no doubt be a tragic day for both companies. But they'll both shrug it off in the end. But if we were betting, folks, we'd say GM will shrug it off a heck of a lot easier. Whatever happens after that is anyone's guess.

 
 
 
 
 

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