Chevrolet engineers buy a Ferrari 458 engine on eBay to know how it works
Chevrolet engineers who have designed the shiny new Corvette Z06 revealed a little secret regarding the equally exciting LT6 engine the car will debut. During the early stages of the engine development, engineers bought a Ferrari 458 engine on eBay to understand how the Italian carmaker's engine works, The Drive reported.
This summer Chevrolet will unveil, as the company calls it, the most legendary Corvette Z06 yet. For most car enthusiasts, however, the focus is on what's under the hood, while the company promises acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.6 seconds. The 670-horse power engine is a highlight of the car, not just for the superior power it can produce but also for its ability to hit 8,600 rpm.
Flat plane crankshaft
Chevrolet credits the higher revs to the flat-plane crankshaft design that it has attempted with this version of the Corvette. The company claims on its website that the design allows balanced airflow and low rotational inertia. The connecting rods in the engine are made of titanium and the low-profile pistons can handle rapid rpm changes.
Get more updates on this story and more with The Blueprint, our daily newsletter: Sign up here for free.
However, back in 2014 when the engineers set out to make this beast, they did not know much about the intricacies of flat plane designs and decided to benchmark their products against the McLarens, Porsches, and of course Ferrari.
The team was especially interested in Ferrari's 458 engine and wanted to pull it apart to study its components and understand how it works. However, in the early stages of the development, the team did not have the resources to buy a new Ferrari and strip off its engine to study it.
eBay to the rescue
So, the team did what engineers from all over the world over do when looking for used products, and headed over to eBay. Luckily, they found a wrecked 458 engine in Poland and paid $25,000 for it to be shipped to its Pontiac facility in Michigan. The team wasn't sure if the buying process was even legitimate, but the engine landed at their facility on a pallet, and they got down to work right away.
Every layer of disassembly amazed the team as they awed at techniques the Italian carmaker had deployed for isolating ignition coils or for securing electrical connectors. Even the size of bearings used surprised them. The team accepted that it learned a lot from the 458 engine but was quick to clarify that it deployed its own solutions on the LT6.
Apart from engine benchmarks, the 458 was also part of vehicle benchmarking in the development process and the Z06 managed a close redline of 8,600 rpm as against the 458's 9000 rpm. Priced at $100,000, this is a small trade to make unless you want to shell out more than twice for the Maranello car.