The Corvette has always been synonymous with power, cornering, and handling at breakneck speeds. A modern machine that is built with extreme precision, it might be difficult to believe that every ‘Vette ever crafted rolled off the production line with the help of human hands whose painstaking efforts match those of robotic movements.
We came across this awesome video featuring Mike Priest, a technician at General Motors Wixom Performance Build Center in Wixom, Michigan, the birthplace of many LS-based engines, including the LS3, LS7 and LS9.
The video helps explain the time and effort that goes into making the supercharged powerhouse known as the LS9 — the heartbeat behind the formidable ZR1. Priest takes us on a journey through the plant as he begins to piece together an LS9.
Starting with a factory cast-aluminum block fresh from machining, he adds the required plugs and proceeds to careful place the forged steel crank into its new home in the belly of the beast. The addition a titanium rods and forged pistons shows just how bulletproof this Chevrolet Performance powerplant is.
With assistance from the automated tooling machine, designed specifically to assist in the build of the LS9, the six-bolt main caps are torqued to factory-required settings. As you can see, this GM engine relies heavily on controlled human machining as much as automatic engineering, to allows for an expedited engine build.
Further down the assembly line we are treated to the mating of the L92-style port aluminum cylinder heads to this impressive 6.2-liter engine in perfect unison between man and machine.
Rounding off this build with the addition of the Corvette ZR1’s factory supercharger, results deliver an outstanding 638 horsepower engine that is ready for the track and street. After receiving a few finishing touches the LS crate motor is ready to be shipped out and coupled to any deserving chassis.