The year 2011 is a big year for General Motors, but more specifically Chevrolet. Not only is the American brand celebrating its 100th anniversary, but also another centennial…except in the millions.
This year, Chevrolet will be celebrating the production of the 100-millionth Chevrolet small-block V8, 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. Then in 1955, a man by the name of 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 V8 featuring overhead valves and pushrod valvetrain. The result was the Chevrolet small-block V8.
“The performance of the Small Block transformed Chevrolet,” said Campbell. “The Small Block made Chevrolet the weapon of choice for grassroots racers on the drag-racing and sports-car tracks across America. It also powered Chevrolet’s factory racing programs, leading to wins in stock car, endurance, and Trans Am series. Chevrolet’s racing experience in turn led to more potent production cars, creating legendary names like Corvette, Camaro, Impala, and Chevelle.”
The original V8 produced 195hp and thanks to advancing technology, by 1957 the V8 had fuel injection and produced 283hp. Since then, the small-block V8 spawned a huge family of V8s for General Motors and with it came a culture.
– By: Chris Chin