YOU hit the nail right on the head with your LS budget buyersí guide story (SM LSX Tuner #3, pp110-117). I bought an LS1 VT Berlina in 2012 for $8K from a local car yard. I saw it advertised in Carsguide and realised it was only around the corner, so I literally walked over to have a look. After a drive I bought it on the spot!
It only had 148,000 on the clock, and yes, the air con was toast.
Iíd read a lot about what people were doing with these motors, so I started playing with it. I fitted extractors, an over-the-radiator cold-air intake, a smaller harmonic balancer and got a MAF-less tune. Power went from 160kW at the wheels to 215kW. I took it to a street meet and it ran 13.7@102mph all day.
Recently I fitted 1.8 roller rockers and stuck it back on the dyno, and with a bit more fiddling itís now making 248kW at the wheels. I havenít had it back at the track yet, but as an added plus, on an interstate drive it returned 9.8L/100km, and I wasnít babying it!
With all the playing around (and fixing the air con and a dodgy starter motor) the car owes me $14K. Iím confident it will hit a low 13 when I get back to the track, and if I replace the original open diff for a lower LSD maybe thereís a 12 in it.
To be honest thatís about as far as I want to take it, because I think to spend any more cash is to throw $100 bills into a big hole. If I want to go faster, a new LS3 would be the go (I canít afford one, but thatís beside the point).
All in all, great value for money!