Consider it Chevrolet’s version of the Build-a-Bear Workshop—only in this case, what’s being built is a bear of an engine that’s capable of more than 500 hp, and the workshop is the GM Performance Build Center in Wixom, Mich. According to Los Angeles Chevrolet Dealers, not only is the 100,000-square-foot facility dedicated to producing the high-powered, hand-built motivators found in some of the General’s most compelling vehicles, but it’s also home to the new Crate Engine Build Experience, which allows customers to help put together their very own crate V8s.
Among those taking advantage of the opportunity are hot-rod aficionados like Jeff Kasper, who recently became the first customer to enjoy the experience when he traveled to Wixom to assemble a 505-hp LS7 V8 for his latest project.
“The build program was the thrill of a lifetime,” said Kasper. “Going inside the assembly facility and actually participating in building my very own engine greatly exceeded my expectations—and I’d absolutely recommend it to every enthusiast.”
To enroll in the program, customers simply place an order through their local Chevy dealership, after which they will be contacted by a special Performance Build concierge who will facilitate local lodging, meals, ground transportation to the facility, and all activities at the Build Center itself. (The customer is responsible for transportation to the metro Detroit area.) The Experience is offered for both LS7 and supercharged LS9 crate engines, and features an MSRP of $22,756.10 for the former and $32,050 for the latter at dealers like Chevrolet Dealers Middletown. Engines are included, of course, as is expert assistance from one of GM’s highly trained engine makers—and the unbeatable feeling that only comes from a job well done.
“I got the most satisfaction and pride when I heard my engine fire up for the first time,” said Kasper. “When the engine came to life, it was the payoff for a day’s work and it was a satisfying success.”