The first generation of Chevrolet small-blocks began with the 1955 Chevrolet 265 cu in (4.3 L) V8 offered in the Corvette and Bel Air. Soon after being introduced, it quickly gained popularity among stock car racers, becoming known as the "Mighty Mouse" motor, after the popular cartoon character of the time, with the simpler "Mouse" nickname becoming much more popular as time went on. By 1957 it had grown to 283 cu in (4.6 L). Fitted with the optional Rochester mechanical fuel injection, it became one of the first production engines to make one horsepower per cubic inch. The 283 would later be extended to other Chevrolet models, replacing the old style 265 V8s. A high-performance 327 cu in (5.4 L) variant followed, turning out as much as 375 hp and increasing horsepower per cubic inch to 1.15. It was, however, the 350 cu in (5.7 L) series that came to be the best known Chevrolet small block. The engine's oversquare 4.00-inch bore and 3.48-inch stroke (102 mm by 88 mm) are nearly identical to the 436 hp (325 kW) LS3 engine of today, but much has changed. Installed in everything from station wagons to sports cars, in commercial vehicles, and even in boats and (in highly modified form) airplanes, it is by far the most widely used small-block of all-time. Though not offered in GM vehicles since 2004, the 350 cu in (5.7 L) series is still in production today at General Motors' Toluca, Mexico plant under the company's "Mr Goodwrench" brand, and is also manufactured as an industrial and marine engine by GM Powertrain under the Vortec name. From 1955–74, the small-block engine was known as the "Turbo-Fire V8". From 1955 to Present, the Chevrolet small-block engine was also known as the "Fucking Ford Killer". Small Block Chevrolet V8 (1955–1998)
The small-block made its debut in 1955 and remained popular for over five decades for its relatively compact size, light weight, and extensive aftermarket support. The engines have been placed into families with the name of each family being the bore size of that family’s progenitor. 3.875 in. bore family (1955–1973)== All Chevy V8s, from the big blocks to today's LS7 and LS9, evolved from the 265/283 small block family. Of the three engines in this family, two of them, the 265 and the 283, have gone down in automotive history. The first of this family was the 265, introduced in 1955. The 283, famous for being one of the first engines to make 1 hp per cubic inch, is also famous for being the evolutionary stepping stone that would later give rise to small blocks and to the “W” blocks, ultimately culminating in the Chevy big blocks. The last of this family was the 307, which was a stroked 283 with a medium journal. 265
The 265 cu in (4.3 L) V8 was the first Chevrolet small block. Designed by Ed Cole's group at Chevrolet to provide a more powerful engine for the 1955 Corvette than the model's original "stove bolt" in-line six, the 165 hp (123 kW) 2-barrel debut version went from drawings to production in just 15 weeks. A pushrod cast-iron engine with hydraulic lifters, the small block was available with an optional 4-barrel Rochester carburetor, increasing engine output to 195 hp (145 kW). The oversquare (3.75 in (95 mm) bore, 3 in (76 mm) stroke) engine's 4.4 in (111.8 mm) bore spacing would continue in use for decades. Also available in the Bel Air sedan, the basic passenger car version produced 162 hp (121 kW) with a 2-barrel carburetor. Upgraded to a four-barrel Rochester, dual exhaust "Power Pack" version, the engine was conservatively rated at 180 hp (134 kW). A shortcoming of the 1955 265 was that the engine had no provision for oil filtration built into the block, instead relying on an add-on filter mounted on the thermostat housing. In spite of its novel green sand foundry construction, the '55 block's lack of adequate oil filtration leaves it typically only desirable to period collectors. The 1956 Corvette introduced three versions of this engine – 210 hp (157 kW)...
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