Celebrating Engine Types: V-8

By Tom Martin

January 29, 2013

We could do a whole series on this one. Probably the great engine type in the "if you could only have one" sense. Shown here is what we think is the iconic V-8, the small block Chevy.

The small block Chevy was first offered in 1955 in the Chevrolet Corvette and Bel Air. At that time, it displaced 265 cubic inches (4.3 liters). Initially it was offered in configurations from 162 to 240 horsepower. For 1957, Chevy bumped displacement to 283 cubic inches and offered the engine with 283 horsepower in the Corvette. Eventually, the signature 350-cubic-inch version was offered in 1967 and this displacement got up to 370 horsepower. The generation I engine continued to be used in General Motors cars through 2003, and is still in production as a crate motor.

Since then, the generation II LT engines and generation III and IV LS engines have picked up the small block torch for GM. The most famous of these is probably the LS7 used in the Z06 Corvette, with 505 horsepower at 6300 rpm and 470 pound-feet of torque at 4800 rpm from 428 cubic inches. Ed Cole, who worked on the original 265 engine, would have been proud.