Hot Rod Magazine’s Mike Finnegan has been slowly upgrading his Chevrolet El Camino over the course of both his Roadkill and Hot Rod Garage web shows. Most recently, he upgraded the brakes with high-performance calipers and slotted discs and gave the suspension a very modern overhaul. Now he’s decided to pull the first-generation SBC out of the car and drop in an all-aluminium Chevrolet Performance LS3 V8 pushing out 525 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque.
Finnegan’s new crate engine is different than the production LS3, having received a more performance-oriented cam from Chevrolet Performance and a few other intake and exhaust tweaks. He needed a new transmission to go with the new powerplant, too, so he swapped out his old 4L60E trans for a GearStar 4L65. He also redoes the front section of the exhaust and installs a Racepak IQ3 dash.
As you might expect, Finnegan’s El Camino breaks its previous track record at their makeshift autocross track in Fontana, Calif. with over 100 horsepower gained and some weight lost thanks to the engine’s lighter construction. Check it out in the video below.