The Chevrolet Small-Block: 1955 - 2003

  The Chevrolet small-block engine is a series of automobile V8 engines built by the Chevrolet Division of General Motors using the same basic small (for a US V8 of the time) engine block. Retroactively referred to as the "Generation I" small-block, it is distinct from subsequent "Generation II" LT and "Generation III/IV" LS, and "Generation V" (LT/EcoTec3) engines. Engineer Ed Cole, who would later become GM President, is credited with leading the design for this engine.

  Production of the original small-block began in the fall of 1954 for the 1955 model year with a displacement of 265 cu in (4.3 L), growing incrementally over time to 400 cu in (6.6 L) in 1970. Several intermediate displacements appeared over the years.

  The Small Block also came in several other sizes:  

 The 283 CID (4.6 L) which was built from 1957 through 1967 came in several Horse Power variations from 160 HP up to 315 HP which used fuel injection, The 283 was avable with several induction systems: 2bbl, 4bbl, 2x4bbl and Fuel Injection. The 283 had as many as 10 different horse power ratings in one year

 The 327 CID (5.4 L) which was built from 1962 through 1969 came in several Horse Power verations from 185HP up to 375HP(350 lb-ft) which like the 283 used fuel injection. The 327 was the most powerful naturally aspirated, single-cam, production small block V8 until the appearance of the 385 HP, 385 lb·ft Generation III LS6 in 2001

 The 302 CID (4.9 L) which was built from 1967 through 1969 and used only in the Z-28. It produced 290 HP and 290 lb·ft. It was built to meet the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Trans-Am Series road racing rules limiting engine displacement to 305 CID from 1967 to 1969.

 The 307 CID (5.0 L) which was built from 1968 through 1973 was a replacement for the 283 as the base production V8. It was only avable with a 2bbl carb.

 The 350 CID (5.7 L) which was built from 1967 through Present Day. The 350 first appeared as a high-performance L-48 option for the 1967 Chevrolet Camaro. The 350 went on to be employed in both high- and low-output variants across the entire Chevrolet product line.

 Although all of Chevrolet's siblings of the period (Buick, Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Holden) designed their own V8s, it was the Chevrolet 350 cu in (5.7 L) small-block that became the GM corporate standard. Over the years, every American General Motors division except Saturn used it and its descendants in their vehicles.

 The 262 CID 1975-1976

 The 262 CID 1994-1996

 The 267 CID 1979-1982

 The 305 CID 1976-1998

 The 400 CID 1979-1981

 Finally superseded by GM's Generation II LT and Generation III LS V8s in the 1990s and discontinued in 2003, the engine is still made by a GM subsidiary in Mexico as a crate engine for replacement and hot rodding purposes. In all, over 100,000,000 small-blocks (as of November 29, 2011) have been built in carbureted and fuel injected forms since 1955. In many respects, the later Generation II and Generation III engines still in production today for various vehicles still trace some of their design lineage to the "small block" design concept first laid down by Ed Cole and his team.

  The small-block family line was honored as one of the 10 Best Engines of the 20th Century by automotive magazine Ward's AutoWorld.