It was only a few years ago that even a 500hp street engine was newsworthy. The fact that Thomson is explaining why his engine "only" makes 770 horses on the street demonstrates how far we've come with LS engines and tuning. Of course, we can't discuss a 770hp, 840 lb-ft, LS9-blown engine without bringing up cost—and this one tallies a pretty strong price tag of around $35,000. Thomson doesn't dance around the cost. It is what it is.
"The LS7 and LS9 parts aren't cheap, so it's an expensive engine to build, no doubt about it," he says. "But more than simply a great dyno number, you get an engine with excellent, factory-quality drivability. We put a similar engine in a car last year and did more than 3,000 miles on the Hot Rod Power Tour with the A/C on and didn't have a lick of trouble."
Installation of the engine may require some mild fabrication to accommodate the unique LS9 accessory drive system and its wider belt, but hood clearance shouldn't be an issue on fullsize GM trucks and SUVs.
Installation details notwithstanding, the engine's dual-purpose performance—dependability with tire-shredding power—reinforces the Jekyll-and-Hyde personality of Thomson's LS7/LS9 hybrid. It's the sort of monster we'd like to have lurking beneath the hood of our favorite Silverado or maybe an Escalade that would shake up the country club setting; Quiet and unassuming one moment, and a terror the next. That's the way to keep the other guy guessing.