GM has just produced the 100 millionth unit of their legendary V8 engine.
In those nearly six decades, the small-block has become an American icon and a symbol for GM's success. All generations of GM's small-block family have featured an overhead valve arrangement that became derelict in the modern industry during the '80s, but the 4.4-inch bore center specification - the center-to-center distance between the cylinders - has lived on through the years.They were used for various tasks in road cars, light trucks, and sports cars. Even racing car versions were available. "The small-block is the engine that brought high-performance to the people," said David Cole, from the Center for Automotive Research."There is an elegant simplicity in its design that made it instantly great when new and enables it to thrive almost six decades later." The small-block has been adapted in almost innumerable ways throughout the auto industry and beyond.Updated versions of the original Gen I engine are still in production for marine and industrial applications, while "crate engine" versions offered by Chevrolet Performance are used by thousands of enthusiasts every year to build hot rods. The 4.3-liter V-6 used in some Chevrolet and GMC full-size trucks and vans is also based on the small-block, but with two fewer cylinders.When Tom Keating, a former General Manager of Chevrolet, drove the 1955 Indy 500 Pace car, it featured GM's then-new V8 265-cid engine. No one in the crowd could have imagined that they were about to witness to the birth of a new American icon: the Chevy small-block engine.And now, some 56 year later, GM has just produced the 100 millionth unit of their legendary engine. To this day, nobody has even seriously tried to predict when the engine will cease production (apart from a few electric car fanatics).All of these versions have contributed to the small-block's 100-million production milestone. "This tremendous achievement celebrates an engineering triumph that has reached around the globe and created an industrial icon," said Sam Winegarden, executive director and group global functional leader of Engine Engineering."And while the small-block's enduring design has proven adaptable to meet performance, emissions and refinement challenges over the years, it has more importantly delivered them with greater efficiency." The first small-block Chevy was a 4.3-liter with 162hp.