Chevy introduced the small-block V-8 engine in 1955. In the fifty-six years since, Chevy has built nearly 100 million examples, and will cross that 100 million threshold sometime this year. Coincidentally, 2011 also marks Chevy’s 100th birthday.
The small block Chevy V-8 is compact, so the range of applications is almost endless. When the engine launched in 1955, it delivered an impressive 195 horsepower with an optional four-barrel carburetor. When fuel injection entered the picture in 1957, output jumped to 283 horsepower, which was a big number for a production engine then. Since the early days, the small-block Chevy has powered everything from family sedans through 1,000 horsepower dragsters, and it’s powered the Chevy brand to victory in NASCAR and at Le Mans.
Today, Chevy sells more four-cylinder engines than eight-cylinder ones, but that doesn’t mean the small block V-8 is going away any time soon. It can still be found under the hood of the Camaro and Corvette, as well as the Silverado and Suburban. As long as customers want V-8 in a compact and easy to tune package, chances are good that Chevy will keep building them.