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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Which of these 3 SEMA powerplants promises the brightest automotive future?

SEMA 2021 was packed with the typical crazy car builds, including a considerable contingent of overlanding trucks on display. Among all the excitement, however, there were three significant significant powerplants revealed, each occupying a different technological niche. Looking ahead, which one do you think will have the greatest impact on the automotive world in the years to come?
https://www.hagerty.com/media/news/which-of-these-3-sema-powerplants-promises-the-brightest-automoti...
67 REPLIES 67
hyperv6
Racer

None.

The Gas engine has the best chance in collector cars that will be part of the attraction. But the crate engine here is just too expensive and more power than most can ever put to the ground.

The EV motor is just more of the same as what most street EV models will be. Few will pull an ICE engine from a vehicle for this. The lack of battery space and limited range due to lack of battery will be an issue.

Hydrogen is a good deal but it is not for conversions. It too like EV needs to be integrated from the start to get the best performance. I see it more for fleets where they will refuel over night.

The one attraction in the future as long as governments do not regulate the ICE cars out will be to own a cool ICE vehicle.

I see people working on synthetic fuels and many though it was to keep New ICE around. I feel it is to keep old ICE around. Much of our fuel today is damaging many older cars.
uweschmidt
Instructor

EV ,s fueling overnight? presently there are places with rolling Blackouts at 20 degree Days how about hanging millions of cars and trucks onto the grid overnight especially with environmenralist marching agains Coalfired Plants Atomic Plants and Hydrodams there will have to be several Handcrank generators in every House GOOD EXERSISE
spark123
Detailer

You forgot to mention that EVs suck an immense amount of power compared to an ICE vehicle.

Currently most electricity is generated using natural gas. By the time you burn the natural gas to make the electricity, send it to your home, run it through your charger to charge the batteries, discharge the batteries to run your motor. I did the math to figure the amount of fuel to move a Tesla model 3 one mile down the road. It ends up being FIFTY times as much as moving a Honda Civic CNG that same mile.

I don't understand how that is enviromentally friendly???
TG
Technician

Electric cars will save us from carbon.png

MAXTHEAX
Intermediate Driver

The 632 engine has been available from Blueprint for many years. 815hp, 775ft-lbs carb(1250cfm) version $13,299 and EFI(Sniper4500) $14,299. Summit Racing. These are street engines 30 month/50,000 mile warranty. The GM version is a race engine.
That 775ft-lbs would be the perfect engine for that mid sixties Biscayne or Bel Air 2dr sedan.
I'm glad to see people questioning where the electric power will come from. I've been asking this question since Mollusk started his Ponzi scheme.
eighthtry
Advanced Driver

Wait, Wait. "But the crate engine here is just too expensive and more power than most can ever put to the ground." What? This motor is the ultimate testosterone generator! I just thought I had the ultimate testosterone generator with my Z07. The old lady has her hands full when I drive the Z. I bet if I had one of these stuffed in a Metro she might just stay awake as well.
Goes2fast
Intermediate Driver

You are right on everything but your last comment. I have been running my older collector cars on today's gas for years with no problems. preventative maintenance is the key.
BobbyShoe4
Intermediate Driver

Chevy Big Block is great, but a new LT6 would get my vote everytime. Make it happen GM
uweschmidt
Instructor

presently we experiencing rolling bklackouts at 20 degrees in some places of this world what will happen when we plug in a few million cars overnight? Don"t get me wrong here I like electric cars but where is all the fuel coming from? Not everybody inthis world isas lucky as we are to have lots of hydro power and mor capability
Solara
Pit Crew

Pretty sure the hydrogen engine will still create NOx emissions. As in not Zero.
But I like viable options (aka competition) so I appreciate the ideas.
spark123
Detailer

And the EV uses more fossil fuel than that!!! A Tesla Model 3 uses 50 times more natural gas per mile than a Honda Civic that runs on Compressed Natural Gas.

The EV has no tailpipe instead it has a smoke stack in a remote location where the power is being generated.
And don't give me the BS that solar will power the EVs. It takes a solar panel six years to regenerate the power needed to manufacture it, not to mention all of the hazardous chemicals and gasses used in manufacturing.
There is no such animal as clean energy!
TG
Technician

So they got the hydrogen from a hydrogen mine? hydrogen drilling? people have a funny idea of zero emissions

SilentBoy741
Instructor

Swap that 632 in to a Smart FourTwo, and I'd pay to see that.
tcchuck2005
Intermediate Driver

For me, the Bosch conversion seems the most exciting. I could potentially convert my collector cars without losing the heart of the vehicle.
CorvetteTony
New Driver

No question, 632 big block of course! The sound is music to my ears!
topside
Advanced Driver

EVs signify the power of marketing, feel-good virtue-signalling, and economic opportunism over rational thought and practicality, not to mention Soul.
Ajakeski
Detailer

A complete electric drivetrain conversion is going to cost near $100,000, Hydrogen? Who is going to be able to do that in their garage? The gigantic Chevy has the best chance, but most people was a cost effective crate engine.
DT12
Intermediate Driver

With more and more college students chanting at football games there is hope the younger generations will realize the real cost of EVs as well as their damage to the environment due to battery production. If so, the Hydrogen/petroleum ICEs should continue to lower emissions due to improvements in technology.
70Gt500
Pit Crew

My main concern about the move to electric vehicles is what does it do to the value of my vehicles that are valued upon the specific engine and powertrain combinations. Converting to hydrogen seems to be a fine answer to maintaining my collector vehicle as is (somewhat) for the future without removing the existing power plant. I would look forward to seeing that in action.
MATTMERICA
Technician

No worries on keeping the ICE in ICE vehicles. Gas will not "go away" for at least 100 years. Of course we were not alive when the autos displaced the horse, but you can still get horse feed in pretty much every town in the USA if you know what I'm saying 😉
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

I'll take the Chevy crate motor or the LS Motor running on Hydrogen. Ford can keep it's poorly named Eluminator.

Tsaxman
Advanced Driver

Let's put a blower on that 632 and see if we can get to 1200 HP.

Then, what do we put it in? We are going to need new motor mounts, a heavy duty transmission and some suspension work. Sounds like a project for Jay Leno or a lottery winner.
MATTMERICA
Technician

put it in a boat lol
TonyT
Technician

Current NHRA Pro Stock engines produce over 1200 horses N/A with fuel injection, at a measley 500 cubic inches. Putting a supercharger on the 632 on the street would just result in more tire smoke at any speed.
OHCOddball
Advanced Driver

Choice is good. Build what you want. None of these options is for the regular person with kids and a mortgage, but it's fun to dream. Internal combustion engines WILL eventually go out, either by regulation, high cost of fuel or just age for regular every day use. Hopefully we can still keep our toys running and on the road and not relegate them to the garage or museums. Is electric the total answer, not with our electrical generation and grid as it sits now.
Islander
Detailer

The hydrogen ICE does emit water. I imagine a slew of these on a cold morning rush hour, no smog but certainly fog. Anyway, a great concept but not new, the real challenge is how to carry that volatile fuel.
There are other alternative fuels, like these guys, www.carbonrecycling.is, they make synthetic methanol that burns 90% cleaner than fossil fuel. Not zero emissions but pretty good, mostly used in ships so far.
It's evolving and, I think, more promising than plug-ins.


Davidb
Intermediate Driver

Hydrogen! I will be able to drive my C 7 forever!
930Flachbau
Intermediate Driver

Sure wish Chevy would bring back the all Aluminum ZL-1 Big Block. That will always get my vote. I'm an old timer who has such fond memories of the Can-Am Experience. Long story short........Chevy 632 BB comes in second. No 1st place vote.

OldFordMan
Advanced Driver

As written, the Chevy Biggest Block wins!
The headline stated " best AUTOMOTIVE engine".
Shells that people sit in powered by battery or hydrogen are like being transported by iPad!
CBL
Pit Crew

So which one will have the greatest impact?? All of them. This hobby is as diverse as the people in it. Those that get turned on by big cubes (I am one of these) will drool at something as crazy as 1,000HP under the hood. That is a lot of ponies to play with. Others (probably the younger sect) will think the Ford Eluminator is all that. Think about it.. 480 HP and it only weighs 205 pounds!!! Granted the battery will more than make up that difference in weight but envision someone putting that in a Porsche 914! Obviously there are several options in between.

These days it seems there is just more candy in the candy store. The only thing we have to worry about if the government screwing up our gasoline supply.
RedRyder_SFZ
Detailer

Pardon my ignorance here but where do I fill up my Hydrogen powered vehicle?
Do Casey’s of QuikTrip have plans on supplying it in the near future?
JackVan
Detailer

You can buy it in 55 gal drums, just like racing fuel. Although the walls of the drum would have to be spun carbon fiber over an inch thick, just like your fuel tank.
okfoz
Advanced Driver

I find it interesting that GM is offering a large 1000 HP crate motor, to go into an old car, BUT they refuse to make anything other than a Camaro or Corvette that has any power whatsoever. When you look at Ford, they have an ST or Sport version for several of their vehicles which boast some fun and excitement when driving them. GM on the other hand seems to be going back to that early 1960's mantra asking "Who want's a performance vehicle? Cars are to be driven slow"
MrHand
New Driver

I like the hydrogen idea, but I am interested to know how they are dealing with the amount of heat that H2 ICE motors generate.
bblhed
Instructor

I'm not sure how to feel about any of this.

I like Electrics and I'm glad one of the big three are giving us a crate option but retrofitting a pack into an older car is a huge pain, and I just know someone is going to try and cheep out and use Lead Acid batteries and then complain about the lousy range when they stand on the throttle.

The Chevy is cool as well, but if you think the electric motor will have lousy range, I have a feeling that feeding 1,004 horses on the street is going to make a trip to the local cruse night include two stops for fuel making this more of a dragster or trailer queen engine. Not to mention how hard it is going to be to get 600 Horses at 3,000 RPM to hook to the ground on street tires?

Hydrogen is not new, infrastructure for it is lousy at this point but I do like the idea that it can keep even a car from the 20's on the road with original running gear. Again it is a fuel storage problem, you have to rip out the gas tank and put in the hydrogen cells, again range is limited.
GlennG
New Driver

Hydrogen all the way! I won't have to sacrifice the rumble!!
Suttonsbaychevy
New Driver

Clearly the Big Block Chevrolet. Someday the others will be ready but without infrastructure and excessive cost I am not interested
TimK
Detailer

Of the 3 I would say the Arrington Performance LS. I say this because it is still an internal combustion engine without major modifications. I have no use at all for electric in collector and classic cars because it destroys the value and meaning of collector and/or classic. And if anybody thinks our electric power generating infrastructure can handle an electric vehicle revolution they're crazy or just plain fools, especially when we're taking reliable coal, oil, gas and nuclear plants offline and replacing them with failure prone wind and solar that produce far less KW output.
janedon
Advanced Driver

Well-we know Gas & diesel have to go because of climate change-Hydrogen takes a lot of energy to produce -So Electrics are the most promising right now--the early 1900s had mostly electrics but not great batteries & most folks didn't have electricity in their homes- that has now changed-
TheCarNextDoor
Pit Crew

The Chevy crate is awesome and many will drop the cash to have a classic beast like that under the hood. However, EV is the way things are going. Too many big players investing in this technology to ignore it. We will see a lot more of these e-crate options in classic resto-mods and one of them will likely be in one of mine. 🔋🔌🙌🏻
ThrottleJockey
New Driver

I love the look and idea of the ford, except for the interior. The original interior on the '67-'72 Bump Sides is beautiful. Electric is fast, but it doesn't engage all of the senses like an internal combustion engine. It's like watching a lion roar with the sound muted. I'd totally be in line to retrofit my 460 to hydrogen though! Great idea and zero emissions!
elldorado2000
Advanced Driver

The electric motor is the cheap part of that conversion. A battery with any range is going to be $$$$. Throw in all the electronics? No thank you.
BigDog
Pit Crew

I have not done the math that some of the other posters but at the present, our roads, bridges, etc are supported by taxes from gasoline and gasoline products. I f we could possibly go completely electric can you imagine what your power bill would be? As the old saying goes, "NOTHING IS FREE" and regardless of what the politicians tell us, we the consumer will pay for everyone.
Wedgehead
Intermediate Driver

The math I was taught in school means the two , 281hp Ford motors should equal 562 HP, not 480.
MattFink
Advanced Driver

I had the same thought. But that was the numbers they shared during the press conference. There must be something limiting it when they are combined.
Devilbob
New Driver

hands down the Ford EV motor...it's already SOLD OUT
D3vilish
New Driver

I agree that the big block shows the most promise in resto-mod conversions. With the price tag on the big block it is an engine that's only for people with big budgets and big shops to work on their vehicles. I'm more of the backyard Guy where a guy and a bunch of friends get together and take running gear out of a wrecked car and build something special.
The electric vehicle conversion is a neat idea but I think is more for everyday driver vehicles and people that have a solar grid array at their home.
I like the idea of a hydrogen cell kit but right now the cost of it is too expensive. Propane conversion kits are inexpensive and easy to add to a vehicle especially if you do a dual fuel system. The same could be said for a natural gas fuel system it is possible to buy a home fueling system in the four to $5,000 range on eBay. Right now hydrogens just too expensive and I don't see anyone getting a home fueling system for hydrogen in the next 20 years
Inline8OD
Instructor

Instead of novel, fresh articles about interesting cars--and over the past 120 years there've been a few, many overlooked, much erroneous information at that -- Hagerty runs another press release. Daily press releases.

If you want ads, promos, visit Ford's, Chevy's, Dodge's websites. Commenting on the above is just serving as unpaid copywriters. Spare us the "hobby" excuse. Writing a check for the latest product is hardly a "hobby." Hagerty gets paid for running this stuff. Wake up.

We can get press releases as journalism from Motor Trend.
MattFink
Advanced Driver

As always we appreciate any and all feedback. Want me to make sure you know this was not a press release. I was at SEMA and spent time trying to check out all of the 1,300 exhibitors and find interesting new products to discuss with our readers through multiple articles this week. Hopefully you have found this discussion on engine preferences for our future to be interesting! We will keep trying to bring you great original content.