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Old 01-08-2008, 09:46 PM   #1
silverja
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Default Why does the L98 motor get no respect?

I have noticed countless threads that disparage the L98 motor. The LT1, LT4, and LT5 offer improved performance that would be expected as they were part of the ongoing Corvette evolution. But in its day, the L98's were unbeatable by Porsche's, Nissan Turbo Z's, Mazda Rx7's, and all others in SCCA stock class racing. Porsche gave up and refused to try and compete, along with the rest of the field. The L98 Corvettes were so successful in SCCA stock class racing that that won every race held in 1985, 1986, and 1987. Not defeated even once! Their competition refused to race any longer against L98 Corvettes which resulted in a Corvette only series of races - The Corvette Challenge - in 1988 and 1989. I consider this quite a powerful testimony to the L98 Corvettes in their day.

In their day, 1985 - 1991 the L98's helped Corvette earn the award as the "World's fastest production sprts cars." I admit that mine does not have much oomph over 4,000 RPM as the LT1's, LT4's, and LT5's that I have had the pleasure of driving. But most of my driving is on local public highways and doesn't necesssarily require the added top end RPM's. And its kick at low RPM's from its great torque band have kept me satisfied with its performance. Just like a Harley Davidson, I find my L98 to be a great highway cruiser that can get up to speed when demanded.

If I was in the market for a first Corvette, I would not be so quick to exclude a L98 equipped C4 Corvette. Some fellow forum members have added the extra punch to their L98's through modifications (Intakes, heads, camshafts, and exhaust modifications) that I believe make them competitive with the LT1's. But if someone is searching for the C4 that offers higher RPM top end performance, then of course one should look for a LT1, LT4, or LT5 equipped C4. One point about a L98 I enjoy is that it is almost indestructable and offers 200,000 miles if properly maintained and driven. Plus L98's do not have the Optispark issues found on the LT1's motors which can be expensive to fix.

One other point in favor of the L98 C4's was the 1987 - 1989 Callaway Twin Turbo Corvettes. These babies provided a factory warrantied L98 that put out 382 horsepower at 4250 RPM with 560 lb-ft of torque at 2250 RPM. All I am trying to say is that in their time the L98's represented the best performance in the world and maybe deserve a little bit more respect for this accomplishment. And personally, I still find the L98's with their intake runners to look very cool which ceased with the LT1's and others.

No disrespect to the LT1's, LT4's, or LT5's as I know they offer better top end performance. No argument here. But as a Corvette owner and enthusiast for over 40 years, I felt it was my duty to stand up for the L98's against their frequent critics. Especially from those who may not have even owned a L98 C4.

"Long live all Corvettes - old and new!"
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Last edited by silverja; 01-08-2008 at 09:50 PM. Reason: Spelling error
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:03 PM   #2
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One word Ignorance.
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:11 PM   #3
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My first Corvette is a 1991 with the L98, and I have since added a 2004 model. While it is true that the 2004 is somewhat smoother and faster, I find the 1991 more fun to drive. While the HP numbers are quite different, the torque numbers are not. Each of my cars has a six speed manual, but when I push the 1991 off the line, the rumble and the feeling of power is exhilirating. No under rating the L98 in my book.
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:12 PM   #4
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im rebuilding mine
strange topic
today i was traveling from town to town in a bus
and thinking about the L98,somehow like a base corvette engine
but,NO,its not a base engine,it gave power to almost the best era of the vettes !!! 85 - 91 ? 7 years !!! thats a lot !
Hey Silverja...
the L98 has low end torque ...right ?
does the other engines have the same low end torque ?
or their power band are on the higher rpms ?
thanx !
correct me if im wrong
i will show love and respect to my L98 giving it the best.-
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:15 PM   #5
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I agree with your analysis. But we are now old school. The Stanly Steamer was the hotest car around in its time and had a standing offer for anyone to drive it wide open. My 85 was stock at 230 HP, I have made some modifications and can compete with stock 93's. But against the new Corvettes I can compete thru the 1/8 mile then then blow me away with all that additional HP.

Even so, I will still keep the 85!!!!
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:20 PM   #6
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Default think again

I think he was answering the question in the title of the thread, "why does the L98 motor get no respect?" Redwing answered "ignorance".

Last edited by Gray Fox; 01-10-2008 at 03:16 PM. Reason: removed quoted comment
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4howard View Post


I think he was answering the question in the title of the thread, "why does the L98 motor get no respect?" Redwing answered "ignorance".
I agree. I believe he was making the point that many are truly ignorant about the L98 that are critical of it.
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:23 PM   #8
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The L98 was an adequate engine back in the late 80s when it was produced. It could hang with the best of the day.

However, welcome to the 21st century where an L98-powered Corvette in basically stock form would barely beat a new Camry.

If given the option, why not choose the later, higher-powered C4s. There is little price difference and quite a bit of performance difference.
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverja View Post
I have noticed countless threads that disparage the L98 motor. The LT1, LT4, and LT5 offer improved performance that would be expected as they were part of the ongoing Corvette evolution. But in its day, the L98's were unbeatable by Porsche's, Nissan Turbo Z's, Mazda Rx7's, and all others in SCCA stock class racing. Porsche gave up and refused to try and compete, along with the rest of the field. The L98 Corvettes were so successful in SCCA stock class racing that that won every race held in 1985, 1986, and 1987. Not defeated even once! Their competition refused to race any longer against L98 Corvettes which resulted in a Corvette only series of races - The Corvette Challenge - in 1988 and 1989. I consider this quite a powerful testimony to the L98 Corvettes in their day.

In their day, 1985 - 1991 the L98's helped Corvette earn the award as the "World's fastest production sprts cars." I admit that mine does not have much oomph over 4,000 RPM as the LT1's, LT4's, and LT5's that I have had the pleasure of driving. But most of my driving is on local public highways and doesn't necesssarily require the added top end RPM's. And its kick at low RPM's from its great torque band have kept me satisfied with its performance. Just like a Harley Davidson, I find my L98 to be a great highway cruiser that can get up to speed when demanded.

If I was in the market for a first Corvette, I would not be so quick to exclude a L98 equipped C4 Corvette. Some fellow forum members have added the extra punch to their L98's through modifications (Intakes, heads, camshafts, and exhaust modifications) that I believe make them competitive with the LT1's. But if someone is searching for the C4 that offers higher RPM top end performance, then of course one should look for a LT1, LT4, or LT5 equipped C4. One point about a L98 I enjoy is that it is almost indestructable and offers 200,000 miles if properly maintained and driven. Plus L98's do not have the Optispark issues found on the LT1's motors which can be expensive to fix.

One other point in favor of the L98 C4's was the 1987 - 1989 Callaway Twin Turbo Corvettes. These babies provided a factory warrantied L98 that put out 382 horsepower at 4250 RPM with 560 lb-ft of torque at 2250 RPM. All I am trying to say is that in their time the L98's represented the best performance in the world and maybe deserve a little bit more respect for this accomplishment. And personally, I still find the L98's with their intake runners to look very cool which ceased with the LT1's and others.

No disrespect to the LT1's, LT4's, or LT5's as I know they offer better top end performance. No argument here. But as a Corvette owner and enthusiast for over 40 years, I felt it was my duty to stand up for the L98's against their frequent critics. Especially from those who may not have even owned a L98 C4.

"Long live all Corvettes - old and new!"
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:37 PM   #10
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And you can dump way too much money into an L98 and will walk any of the new vettes and the exotics as well. I own the old L98s and the new C6, but the old L-98 will always remain in the stable.

Though mine is probably no longer technically an L98 with 760 ft-lbs of WTQ. But I still refer to it as the L98, as it uses an L98 block.

Aaron
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale1990 View Post
The L98 was an adequate engine back in the late 80s when it was produced. It could hang with the best of the day.

However, welcome to the 21st century where an L98-powered Corvette in basically stock form would barely beat a new Camry.

If given the option, why not choose the later, higher-powered C4s. There is little price difference and quite a bit of performance difference.

Are you sure ?
the 2007 Camry has 158 HP and 161 lb-ft tq the 4 cyl
and the V6 Version has 268 HP and 248 lb-ft tq

http://pressroom.toyota.com/presstxt...007Camry_s.pdf
last time i checked the L98 vettes made more power than that
please explain me that
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKS Racing View Post
And you can dump way too much money into an L98 and will walk any of the new vettes and the exotics as well. I own the old L98s and the new C6, but the old L-98 will always remain in the stable.

Though mine is probably no longer technically an L98 with 760 ft-lbs of WTQ. But I still refer to it as the L98, as it uses an L98 block.

Aaron
Aaron,

That is amazing! I never heard of a L98 with that much horsepower. I would love to hear more about it along with seeing a few photos if possible. Someday I hope to add a 2008 to my garage. I too will always keep my L98. Someday my son will inherit my 1987 and I hope he will pass it on to his son one day.
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:49 PM   #13
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I think its a relative question. The technology is 20 years old , great for its day but not by todays standards.So historically speaking the L98 deserves respect. In todays world apples to apples not so much respect= its 20 years old! I like older cars and the 88' I have fit into my future plans. I belong to an old car club and like to travel. As a result I do not expect the car to be the best drag car out there or be the best. Being the best of its day is good enough for me . IMO just having a Corvette is enough . I do not belong to any other forums but get tired of seeing this kind of thread. I mean come on you own a Corvette- How many of your friends can say that? Mine look at my old 88 and think I am rolling in the dough- I could care less IT makes me happy and I could care less what others think. Same goes for Auto or Manual- We all have our reasons and do not need to justify it through others. Remember opinions are like A-holes we all have one and they all stink!
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:56 PM   #14
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i want comments on this one http://forums.corvetteforum.com/show...5&postcount=13
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:06 PM   #15
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Bolt-on L98???
Click the image to open in full size.

Seriously, specs:
87 Vette, FAST sequential, 408CID, Callies, Oliver billet, JE customs (9.3:1), AFR 215CP (320 flow), CC 0.670+", C4SP, MB, D1R, ZF with McLeod twin, D44 with custom cradle. I am sure I have forgotten a thing or two.

Actually, it made the previous WTQ numbers at 10.8 psi, and now it is well past 20 psi. It's kind or rediculous to drive on the street.
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:12 PM   #16
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I believe that the biggest knock on that engine is the horsepower to displacement ratio.

A stock L98 producing 230 HP at 5.7 litres is roughly just less than 50 HP per litre. A stock Porsche 944 Turbo of the same era at 2.5 litres was putting out about 250 HP. Or 100 HP per litre.

Now that is just a though and not my preference as I would rather have a big V8 over a high revving, turbo 4 banger anyday.
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:14 PM   #17
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Oh crap here we go.
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:15 PM   #18
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I've been giving this same topic alot of thought lately. I've always been an F-body guy and the L98 is held with a high level or respect. Whenever someone pulls up in an IROC with an L98, it gets respect from most tuners and track racers. It doesn't take much to get them into the 13's, which is faster than 1/2 of the people at the track bracket racing. The funny thing is, when people find out that said IROC has an L98, they invariably say "Oh! That's the Corvette motor!" However, when it comes to Corvettes with an L98, people dog them out and act like the motor is a joke. I call these people "haters". The Corvette weighs less than a thirdgen f-body and is better equipped for any kind of racing. For a Corvette equipped with an L98, running low 14's from the factory is a given. Even the used ones with 160-200k on the clock, they can STILL run the same times. Try and say the same thing about most of the naturally aspirated, front wheel imports that people buy with "268 horsepower".
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:21 PM   #19
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Default Interesting Comment

Is performance strictly measured just by a few select numbers? Of course a new car will advertise those higher numbers. But what do they truly mean anyhow? If I had to bet on either in a performance contest, I would go with the C4. Everything today is all about the numbers only, which the marketers want everyone to buy into. What about braking, handling, and other performance criteria? Why even drive an old car if one believes this hyperbole. Somehow I do not find a Camry to be mentionable in the same sentence as any Corvette.

But I get his point whenever speaking of strictly numbers. Of course today's cars have higher numbers. But they'll never have the heritage that Corvettes have defined by being the world's best high performance car anywhere for the dollar! One needs to compare today's Camry with today's Corvette to make a fair comparison. A 2008 bone stock C6 produces 430 HP and can reach 190 MPH. With a 100,000 mile warranty and about 30 MPG on the highway. And can be had for the low 40K's! That is what one needs to compare when going against a 2008 Camry. Apples to Apples. How can a Corvette from the past ever be built to out compete something that hasn't yet been built?

Amazing and illogical argument.
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:23 PM   #20
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I upgraded from an L83 to an L98, but kept the L83. 80's cars are , especially when they are kept up and look like new. A guy said to me you should of got the LT1 because he had a Z28 with the LT1. His opti started to act up so he sold it. My antique still runs great, his is probably parked in the weeds on an old used car lot by now.
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