Small Block Milestone
By Larry Jewett - August 18, 2011 09:27 PM
Chevrolet will be celebrating the production of the 100-millionth Chevrolet small-block V-8, one of the most popular and widely used engines in automotive history.
“The introduction of the small -block changed everything,” said Jim Campbell, GM’s vice president for the Performance Vehicles and Motorsports branch. “The small-block was an instant success because it offered customers high performance and an affordable price, in a compact design that was very easy to modify. The small-block also started a wave of innovation – and escalating performance – that transformed the cars Americans drove on the street and the track.”
From 1929 to 1955, Chevrolet only offered six-cylinder engines. In 1955, Ed Cole, who was also chief engineer of Chevrolet at the time, came up with a solution. He designed a powerful, , compact and affordable 90- degree V-8 featuring overhead valves and pushrod valvetrain. The result was the Chevrolet small-block V-8.
“The small-block made Chevrolet the weapon of choice for grassroots racers on the drag-racing and sports-car tracks across America. Chevrolet’s racing experience in turn led to more potent production cars, creating legendary names like Corvette, Camaro, Impala, and Chevelle,” said Campbell.
The original V-8 produced 195hp and thanks to advancing technology, by 1957 the V-8 had fuel injection and produced 283hp. Since then, the small-block V-8 spawned a huge family of V-8s for General Motors and with it came a culture.