Allowing customers to customize colors and materials has become a popular and profitable option for many automakers in the last several years. Most offer customers the opportunity to pick up their new ride at the factory and even watch it being built. For the 2011 model year, Chevrolet is going one step further by giving buyers of the Z06 and ZR1 the option to build the powerplant for their new Corvette.

The LS7 and LS9 V8s used in those two models are both assembled at the Performance Build Center (PBC) in Wixom, MI which we visited last fall. The nature of the PBC production process, where a single technician starts with a bare block, then takes it through the entire assembly process and finally applies a name plaque before delivery, makes it well suited to this new program. The Engine Build Experience is not for those hoping to save a few bucks by taking on some of the labor involved in building their 'Vette. In fact, it will cost an additional $5,800 plus travel to Detroit. Those not familiar with the engine building process will likely come away very impressed with the care and technology that goes into creating these high-performance engines. Check out our chronicle of an LS9 build to see what you'll get for your money. You can see a time-lapse video of the build process after the jump.


Related GalleryBuilding an LS9 V8 at the GM Performance Build Center
Photos Copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.
[Source: General Motors]




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Build Your Own Engine Option Offered to Corvette Enthusiasts

Exclusive Program Lets Customers Help Create Their Own Corvette


DETROIT – For enthusiasts who want to be personally involved in creating their Corvette, Chevrolet's new Corvette Engine Build Experience allows them to literally build the engine for their new car.

In what is believed to be the world's most hands-on super car program, customers who order a 2011 Corvette Z06 or ZR1 can choose an option to help assemble their cars' LS7 or LS9 engines at General Motors' Performance Build Center (PBC) in Wixom, Mich.

"Corvette owners are some of the most passionate – and most involved – enthusiasts in the industry," said Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president, Chevrolet marketing. "The Corvette Engine Build Experience offers customers an unprecedented opportunity to participate, hands on, in creating the car."

In addition to building their own engines, Corvette buyers can attend driving school in Arizona or Nevada, take delivery of their vehicles at the National Corvette Museum or watch their vehicles being built at the Corvette assembly plant in Bowling Green, Ky.

"In a way, this is a dream program for a Corvette customer. I would have jumped at the chance to build the 427 in my '67 'Vette, and that didn't have half of what goes into one of these modern precision engines," said Tom Stephens, GM vice chairman, Global Product Operations. "Today's LS7 and LS9 Corvette engines are pinnacle achievements in engineering, and to personally involve our customers in their final creation shows the depth of Chevrolet's commitment to make lasting connections with the customer."

The Engine Build Experience is an option with a suggested retail price of $5,800. When a customer selects the PBC option for a 2011 Corvette Z06 or ZR1 and the dealer submits the order to Chevrolet, a special concierge contacts the customer to verify participation and help coordinate arrangements. While travel arrangements to and from Metro Detroit are the customer's responsibility, the Chevrolet concierge helps schedule the engine build; coordinates the customer's activities at the Performance Build Center; assists with booking local lodging and meals, and arranges local transportation.

At the PBC, the customer doesn't merely view the engine's assembly; he or she builds it under the supervision of and support from skilled technicians. When the engine is assembled, a personalized nameplate is added to the engine next to the builder's name. It is then sent to the Corvette assembly plant for installation in the customer's car.

The Corvette Engine Build Experience is possible because of the hand-assembly processes used at the 100,000-square-foot PBC. Technicians hand-build the Corvette Z06's LS7 7.0L engine, the Corvette ZR1's 6.2L supercharged LS9 engine and a variation of the Corvette Grand Sport's LS3 6.2L engine. The PBC incorporates the best practices of low-volume niche manufacturers and the established quality and manufacturing standards at GM to ensure the highest-quality specialized engines.

Like all engines assembled at the PBC, Engine Build Experience engines are covered by Chevrolet's five year / 100,000-mile transferable powertrain warranty.

The Engine Build experience is the latest program Chevrolet offers for Corvette owners. Other programs include:
Corvette plant tour, where customers can follow their vehicle down the Bowling Green assembly line
Corvette Museum delivery, where customers take delivery of their new Corvette at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green
Corvette ZR1 Driving School, which offers complimentary attendance at either Bob Bondurant's Corvette Driving School in Arizona, or Ron Fellows' Corvette Performance Driving School near Las Vegas.

"Simply put, no other sports car manufacturer can match the level of personal customer involvement that Corvette offers," Campbell said. "The Corvette Engine Build Experience takes this personal involvement to an unprecedented level."

For more information, see facebook.com/corvette.

About Chevrolet
Chevrolet is a global automotive brand, with annual sales of about 3.5 million vehicles in more than 130 countries. Chevrolet provides consumers with fuel-efficient, safe and reliable vehicles that deliver high quality, expressive design, spirited performance and value. In the U.S., the Chevrolet portfolio includes: iconic performance cars, such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long-lasting pickups and SUVs, such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers, such as Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers "gas-friendly" solutions, such as the upcoming 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco model that is expected to deliver up to an estimated 40 mpg highway, and 2011 Chevrolet Volt that will offer up to 40 miles of electric driving and an additional 300 miles of extended range with the onboard generator (based on GM testing). Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security, and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response, and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models, fuel solutions, and OnStar availability can be found at HYPERLINK "http://www.chevrolet.com/"www.chevrolet.com.