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Entries in Small Block (13)


1952 MG-TD V8

A couple of old guys talking about an old MG with a Chevy V8.

Back in the day stopping was always a challenge, cooling was another challenge. You get a flavour for 3:73 gears on the highway...listen to the engine rev.






Small Block Chevy

265For all intents the small block Chevy is 60 years

Let's get The Colonel to dig in his memory data base, and see what he can remember about small blocks.

Q: Colonel Good Morning, what do you remember of small block Chevies.

A: Guys I was a kid, although Ford had flatheads, in 1955 a V8 in a Chevrolet was HUGE.

Q: What was it about that engine?

A: It was small compared to an Oldsmobile or Cadillac V8.

Q: Its came out as a 265 and then a 283 in 1957.

A: Yes 265 were sort of rare, 283's after a few years were quite common.

Q: What was it about that engine that captivated attention.

A: It was small, light, stamped steel rocker arms, tubular push rods, readily available, affordable, easy to put in another Chevrolet.

Q: In hindsight Chevrolet through the social media of the day developed an strong following for the small block especially in performance circles.

A: The engine was in the Corvette, there were myriad of variations, and when the 327 came out in 1963 it just took off even more.

Q: From today's perspective the small block was disruptive, it was the iPhone of engines, with a ton of Chevrolet apps, and subsequent apps from performance providers.

A: Intelligent analogy...there were a lots of engines, but the small block stood head and shoulders above the others. It was easy to generate power with a small block.

Q: With all those engines there must have been an extensive knowledge base on how to get a small block to perform better.

A: To think of it, no Internet, no social media, no forums, and word on how to generate power with a small block was pervasive among the folks that really wanted to know. Its was "Did you hear that.....".

Q: The early versions with the shorter stroke would rev up like crazy...we heard.

A: 327's and the 302's would wind up a tach so was pretty wild. Keep in mind that a short stroke limits torque, and you had to wind up the engine to generate power, especially with an aggressive camshaft.

Q: Today after a few versions that engine is still around generating even more power.

A: In a world of overhead cams, 4 valves per cylinder, the venerable push rod V8 is still around competing with the best.

Q: It shows that its an enduring design that adapts to current times.

A: You have to wonder if Ed Cole ever imagined how iconic that engine would become.

Q: Not only iconic, but still around, and current. With mechanical and technology redesigns.

A: Yes...that too.

Overview of the latest small blocks...LSX.




Corvette LT4 Engine

An informative technical briefing on the new LT4 engine, and the evolution of the "small block Chevy".





712 HP Small Block

A cool engine with serious horsepower and torque and only 400 lbs. from Nelson Racing Engines.



The 327 - Part 1

We continue with our conversation with The Colonel.

Q- You surely had some memorable experiences with that engine in the car.

A- Yes...several...once revved it up to 6,800 RPM which was almost scary. Another time cruising at 4,000 RPM for an extended period...with wonderful sounds coming from the engine.

Q- You were young back then and perhaps invincible.

A- You had to be young and invincible to to do certain things with that car.

Q- Are you saying that the rest of the car was not "engineered" to deal with the power. 

A- Precisely...

Q- Care to expand?

A- That car started life as an econo 6 cylinder coupe, with a barely adequate suspension, manual steering with many turns lock to lock, and drum brakes with no pwer assisi and a single circuit.

Q- In hindsight although it was a few decades ago, what did you learn about the engine?

A- It was reasonable for an engine built on a student budget, and if you want to spin engines you need a rebore to have proper ring sealing. When you experiment, get creative you have to be ready for more than less work. Small block Chevies need cooling (water and oil) if you want to run them hard. 

Q- them hard?

A- A 327 with a Duntov cam, and a bigger than smaller carburetor you had a to keep the revs up to get achieve a level of performance, which usually entailed more than less cooling, and needless to mention poor fuel economy. There was a good level of power, but not the ideal street engine for a daily driver. 

Q- Back then who cared?

A- Precisely...the idea was to have a lively small block, one that came alive, with a limited bottom end, but an explosive top end. In a hindsight a 350 with the longer stroke was a slow engine compared to a 327 that one instant was at 3,000 and another at 6,000.

Q- No rev limiters / governors.

A- You were the ECU with your right foot, and at those revolutions and without a scattershield missing a shift was not an option. You would slam a 1 to 2 shift very hard to ensure that it went into second gear, the Hurst shifter was not a luxury. 

Q- What did you learn about the hindsight?

A- These were the days of bias belted tires, 5 inch rims, X frames, no stabiliser bars, long winded steerings, and drum brakes, and on a student budget. 

Q- Of all the mentioned several...which one was the worst?

A- The brakes- you simply could not stop those cars, never could apply enough pressure with manual brakes, the brakes would heat up, they would fade, the linings would glaze which then required even more pressure.

Q- Sounds like a vicious circle...brake fade?

A- Brake fade is one of the most helpless feelings, you need to scrub off speed, applying all the pressure you can muster, while the brake pedal slowly sinks to the floor.

Q- That must be an awful feeling...especially when you really need to stop?

A- You do learn a valuable lesson, do not put yourself in a position where you need to scrub off a ton of speed in a short distance, use the engine (down shift) to slow down initially, then the brakes. 

Q- Heard that the 64 Chevy had a brake booster.

A- That one had the "unobtanium" 4 speed, and a monster brake booster that would literally smoke the linings in the stops or it all melts!

Q- What other lessons did you learn from that 327 experience.

A- 1-An undying affinity for power 2- Never enough brakes on a car 3- From the 63 to the 64, to the 67 Camaro, to the 79 Camaro, to the engine block in the garage...

Thank You!