Tom Lieb sat down with LSX Magazine to share his many years of knowledge on flat-plane crankshafts.
There’s a lot of chatter on the internet lately about the new Chevrolet C8 Z06 that is most definitely on the way to the production line. This new Corvette has a lot of hype behind it as people are talking about the possibility of a turbocharged 5.5-liter engine with the addition of a hybrid powertrain. The new model C8 is also thought to possess a flat-plane crankshaft in addition to these new features. While all of these assets are exciting, there is a lot of interest in the flat-plane crank. But what is a flat-plane crankshaft, and why’s it so special?
You might think the flat-plane crank is some wild new technology that GM built in a secret lab, but that’s hardly the case. In fact, the flat-plane design has been around for decades. Cadillac was one of the first manufacturers to use it in a V8 back in the early 1900s. And the flat-plane crank is probably more common than you realize. Just about every four-cylinder in existence utilizes this technology, including that annoying Honda Civic that keeps doing laps in your neighborhood getting into the infamous “V-Tec” mode. But don’t let that guy sway you one way or another — the flat-plane has some uniqueness to it when installed in a V8 engine.
Flat-plane crankshafts are often found in both super and hyper-cars — McLarens, Ferraris, Porsches, and Lotus’ are no strangers to this type of crank, and if you want to know what else they have in common, it’s a great exhaust note. The flat-plane crank is responsible for this phenomenon. These lightweight cranks rev higher and faster than the cross-plane crank that most American V8 enthusiasts are familiar with while making a delightful sound that the now-standard cross-plane designs can’t duplicate.
Tom Lieb, the owner of SCAT Crankshafts, knows the ins and outs of just about every crankshaft made, including the flat-planes. And while GM does not offer any flat-plane cranks for the LS or LT platforms at this time, we knew Lieb would be an excellent asset to this article since he’s worked with big-name companies to develop flat-planes used in popular hyper-cars. We sat down with Lieb to ask to glean some of his many years of knowledge on these cranks.