GM builds its 100-millionth small-block engine

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 1, 2011

General Motors achieved a milestone last Tuesday – the 100-millionth small-block V-8 engine that it has produced. This engine will go to the historic collection of the automaker. In 1955, Chevrolet launched the small-block engine. There was no stopping this engine as it became popular globally. It powered a lot of machines: cars, trucks, boats, and even industrial ones.

Presently, this engine is used by Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC in the U.S. while Vauxhall and Holden use it abroad. Several years after the Second World War, the small-block program started.

This was when chief engineer Ed Cole moved from Cadillac to Chevrolet. Cole kept the Stovebolt engine’s engine but reduced its weight and added some power. Chevrolet said that this is a better way to make engines as it made use of streamlined production techniques. David Cole (Ed Cole's son), the founder and emeritus chairman of Center for Automotive Research, said that the small-block is the engine that made people get a taste of high performance.

He said that the design has “an elegant simplicity” that has kept it from disappearing nearly 60 years later. In 1957, Chevrolet installed mechanical fuel injection but this feature was later discontinued in the mid-1960s.

The electronically fuel-injected engines, including the famous 1985 Tuned Port Injection unit, debuted in the 1980s. The engine bay of the Corvette ZR1 is where the pinnacle of the present generation of small-block engines could be found. It has an output of 638hp and 604 pounds feet of torque. It can be recalled that the first engine produced 195hp.

Topics: gm, engine, production

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