Vantastic Turbo Find
A 1-ton Chevy Express van is hardly a wolf in sheep's clothing. Let's face it, vans are for work. You need a van to haul lumber or a Brady Bunch-sized family around town. You don't need to be fast in a van, unless you're the owner of this fine vehicle spotted locally at one of the final Cars and Coffee events in our fair city.
Yes, that's a giant exhaust pipe coming out of the front fender burbling the song of 6.0 liters of fury.
Yes, that was the whistling of an eBay turbo under the hood.
And yes, its just as cool as it looks. Let's take a peek.
Adding a simple no-name eBay turbo to a car isn't new, but its gaining in popularity despite the warnings against it. Its the first time we've seen one on a full-sized van. We're a fan. Sport and utility. This may be the best of both worlds.
Underhood, we see one of the mighty LS motors, in this case the LQ4 6.0 liter V-8. In stock trim this setup grunted out 325 horsepower and 370 ft-lbs of torque for several years before the forced induction came to town. Apparently this Express is either still in daily service as an electrical contractor's set of wheels, or stealthily painted to give off that 'still working' vibe. Either way, this is no sludged-up slouch.
Add a laptop tuner and wideband setup and you're ready to chase Corvettes AND haul home the new couch and loveseat. Some may see a spartan cockpit with a few gauges and nothing else. We see a killer sound system and cupholders. Its all in the eye of the beholder. You won't find this much shoulder and headroom in a Camaro.
Now we want to buy a van. Sure, the wife would question our sanity and the neighbors would raise their eyebrows a little higher once it came home, but the van just may be the best platform for a turbo build. You sacrifice nothing (maybe handling), your insurance premiums remain cheap, and you surprise those folks in the fancy sportscars that can't drive over a speed bump.
Mr. turbo van builder, we salute you.
It seems you're part of a growing trend...