Chevrolet Performance Crate Engines

When Chevrolet started building modern engines more than 50 years ago, it started with a six-cylinder engine. At the time, these vehicles had an acceleration of zero to 50 in about 15 seconds. Top speed was about 65 MPH depending on the vehicle. They have not looked back since.

Chevrolet has channeled the experience and technology from racing in all kinds of environments into high-performance crate engines with engineering and durability no one else can match.

In the early years, there was a great deal of research and development dedicated to coming up with a powerful engine that could be produced for a reasonable price. However, a power war was emerging between all three automobile manufactures. This power war continues today. Chevrolet Performance Crate Engines continue to lead the pack with innovative design, flexible offerings, and affordable power.

As most GM enthusiasts know, the venerable 55 Chevy achieved a huge impact on the automotive market. This impact was driven by a 256-inch V-8 engine under the hood. This small-block milestone changed Chevrolet’s image and was recognized as an engineering milestone. In subsequent versions, these Chevrolet crate engines continued to grow in popularity and power. Moving from 180HP in 1955, 255HP in 1956 then 283HP in 1957 with the introduction of optional fuel injection, this GM crate engine quickly became the go-to engine for racers, street rods, and hot rods.

Chevrolet Performance Crate Engines In The Early Years

In the late ‘50s into the early ‘60s, GM made notable strides with V-8 crate engines. One notable engine was an optional 315HP burner engine which became quite popular. Chevy crate engines quickly following this up with the SS Impala available with a 409CID V8 as an option. This configuration sent the competition back to the drawing board as it literally blew away everyone at the Winternational Drag Racing Championships in 1961.

The next year, 1962, GM Crate Motors followed this up with a 409-horse 409CID dual-quad powerhouse. At the time, an Impala SS with this configuration was one of the fastest automobiles in the world!

Throughout the ‘60s, the GM small-block V8 matured into a go-to powertrain for a variety of purposes. Fuel-Injected 327’s powered Corvettes making up to 360HP. Nova SS’s were powered with carbureted versions of 327’s. In 1966 the Nova SS could be equipped with the Turbo- Fire V-8 (L79 Version). This was a hot performer within its class.

In 1967, GM Crate Motors introduced the newly designed Camaro with available small block 350 V-8. This 350 V-8 quickly became a very popular option for auto enthusiasts.

Throughout the ‘70s America entered the age of Fuel Conservation. During this time period, innovation was focused on creating energy-efficient Crate Motors. Although the V-8 continued to be an important option in GM’s arsenal, market forces were affecting GM powertrain decisions. Introduced in 1975 the Chevrolet subcompact Monza, was offered with a 262CID V-8 engine in an attempt to bridge the gap between performance and economy. This was the smallest V-8 ever produced by GM Crate Motors.

Chevrolet Performance Crate Engines In The 90’s And Onward

In 1990, Chevrolet introduced the Corvette ZR-1. The LT5 V-8 engine included four cams and 32 valves, producing 375HP. This engine was a result of collaborations between GM and Lotus. This milestone is significant due to the inclusion of new cam and valve technology which provided strong power coupled with fuel conservation. By 1993 the ZR-1 was outfitted with a refined LT5 engine which created an incredible 405 horsepower.

When conversations turn to the best engines of all time, one stands out, the GM Crate Motor V-8 350 Small Block. This one engine set the standard many years ago. Other engines have been judged by it.

Many variations of this power plant have been created over the years. GM engineers always knew that factory-equipped engines could benefit from small changes and tweaks to the engine. The key to better performance was to offer bigger carburetors, fuel injection, high flow air filters, and to make these available to customers as packages or bolt-on upgrades. This trend has not changed.

GM continues to offer a variety of performance enhancement to its customer base via Chevrolet Performance Products.

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