We asked our friends at General Motors to come up with some fast facts about the small-block Chevrolet, to help them celebrate the 100 millionth one produced.
Some of them you may know, but do you know all of them?
• One-hundred million engines since 1955 is the equivalent of more than 1.78 million produced every year – or about 3.4 small-blocks produced every minute for the last 56 years.
• With an average length of 29 inches, about 2,185 small block engines could be lined up front to back in a mile. It would take 45,766 miles to line up all 100 million small blocks – almost twice the distance around the equator.
• At an average of 230 horsepower per engine, the collective output of all 100 million small block engines is 23 billion horsepower.
• The introduction of the small-block V-8 in the 1955 Corvette is widely credited with saving the car from cancellation.
• In 1955 Zora Duntov drove a disguised, pre-production and small-block-powered ’56 Chevy in the Pikes Peak hill climb race and shattered the sedan-class record by more than two minutes.
• The fuel-injected 283 small-block in 1957 was rated at 283 horsepower, or one horsepower for every cubic inch. Today, the Corvette Z06’s 427-cubic-inch small-block produces 1.18 horsepower per inch, while the Corvette ZR1’s 376-cubic-inch supercharged small-block produces 1.69 horses per inch.
• The fuel-injected small-block was so dominant in NASCAR racing in 1957, it was banned.
• Corvette won its first race at LeMans in 1960 with a small-block engine and won its seventh title there in June 2011, again with a small-block engine.
• The largest-displacement small-blocks ever produced by GM are the LSX454/LSX454R crate engines offered through Chevrolet Performance, at 454 cubic inches (7.4L); the largest-displacement small-block for a production vehicle is the 427-cubic-inch (7.0L) LS7 used currently in the Corvette Z06.
• The smallest-displacement small-block V-8 ever produced included a 262-cubic-inch (4.3L) version used in the mid-Seventies – the same displacement shared by the current small-block-based 4.3L V-6.
• The most powerful small block ever produced is the LS9 engine used in the current Corvette ZR1. It is rated at 638 horsepower, making it the most powerful engine ever produced by GM for a regular-production car.
• The lowest-output small block was the 1975-76 262 V-8 rated at 110 horsepower. The supercharged LS9 makes 580 percent more horsepower than it with only 43-percent greater displacement.
• The 4.3L V-6 used today in some GM trucks and vans is based on the original small-block architecture, but essentially with two fewer cylinders – and a 280-hp turbocharged version was used in the 1991 GMC Syclone and 1992-93 Typhoon.
• Original-architecture small-block engines are still produced as crate engines for Chevrolet Performance and manufactured for marine and industrial applications.
• The small-block wasn’t known as the small-block until Chevrolet introduced the big-block engine family in 1965 – previously, versions were known simply by their cubic-inch designations, i.e. 283, 327, etc., or simply as the Chevy V-8.
• Small-block engines are currently produced in Wixom, Mich.; Romulus, Mich.; St. Catharines, Ontario; and Silao, Mexico.