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Aftermarket Chevy Small Block Engine
350 Chevy Small Block Engine

A pic of an Aftermarket Small Block 350cid. Engine.

 Aftermarket Chevy Big Block Engine 
427  Chevy Big Block Engine

A pic of an Aftermarket Big Block 427cid. Engine.

The Chevrolet Camaro Engines.


  1. What is a Small Block Chevrolet Engine?
  2. What is a Big Block Chevy Engine?
  3. What is a ZL1 Engine?
  4. Were In Line 6 engines used in the Chevy Camaro?
  5. What were the Small Block engines available for First Gen Chevy Camaros?
  6. What were the Big Block engines available for First Gen Chevy Camaros?
  7. What radiators were available for each engine configuration?
  8. 1967-1969 Batteries
  9. What is an Engine and how does it work?

Q: What is a Small Block Chevy Engine?

A: Chevrolet's small-block V8 is a famous automobile engine. Nicknamed "mouse motor" for its compact dimensions compared to other V8 engines of the time, production began in 1955 with the 265 in³ (4.3 L) engine used to bring performance credentials to the Corvette. The displacement changed over the years, eventually reaching 400 in³ (6.6 L), but none caught on like the 350 in³ (5.7 L) small-block. This engine is still in production today at General Motors Toluca Mexico plant (primarily for the GM over-the-counter Goodwrench powerplants), but is no longer offered in current model year vehicles since the year 2004. Its production numbers were impressive, with more than 90,000,000 built.

From 1955-74, the small-block engine was known as the "Turbo-Fire V8".

Although Buick, Cadillac, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac also designed V8 engines, it was Chevrolet's 350 in³ small-block that became the GM corporate standard. Over the years, every American General Motors division used the Chevrolet small-block, and its descendants (see GM LT engine and GM LS engine) continue as the company's mainstream V8 design today.

The small-block was on the Ward's 10 Best Engines of the 20th Century list.

A lawsuit by disgruntled Oldsmobile purchasers in the mid-1970's, who were upset that their new Oldmobiles were equipped with "inferior" Chevrolet engines prompted GM to declare all engine designs to be "corporate" property. This meant that engines traditionally associated with a particular brand could be installed in other brand cars without buyer recourse. Please keep in mind that even though the Small Block Chevy became a corporate engine--like all the other GM engines--it had recognizable design features, and those features allow us to trace the lineage back to the original Chevrolet design. This is important in regard to the current GM "small block" engine, the LS (sometimes called the LSx) series. The LS engines share no parts with the "Chevrolet-designed" small block. The LS engine was not designed by Chevrolet engineers, rather it was done by GM Powertrain Division engineers and is a totally new design. Although the LS series shares the bore center dimension and most--but not all--of the traditional Chevrolet bellhousing bolt pattern, it should not be considered a "development" or "extension" of the Chevrolet Small Block engine. GM themselves are very careful to NOT use the name "Chevrolet" in the description of the LS series engines, prefering to call them "Small block" or "new generation small block" engines without the word "Chevrolet" in front--although they clearly want to promote the misperception that it is an outgrowth--a new generation--of the Chevrolet design.

Q: What is a Big Block Chevy Engine?

A: "Big block" is the term used to describe the large displacement V8 engines that were developed in the USA during the 1950's and 1960's. As American automobiles grew in size and weight following the Second World War the engines powering them had to keep pace. Chevrolet had introduced their popular small block V8 in 1955 but needed something larger to power their medium duty trucks and the heavier cars that were on the drawing board. The decision was made by Chevrolet to develop an all-new design for large-displacement use. This engine family had two generations, the "W" series, and the Mark IV series., being this design, the one used on First Generation Chevy Camaros.

Development of the second generation big-block started with the so-called Mystery Motor used in Chevrolet's 1963 Daytona 500 record-setting stock cars. This "secret" engine was a substantially modified form of the "W" engine, and was subsequently released for production use in mid-1965 as the Mark IV, referred to in sales literature as the "Turbo-Jet V8."

Where the Mark IV differed from the "W" engine was in the placement of the valves and the shape of the combustion chambers. Gone was the chamber-in-block design of the "W" (which caused the power curve to drastically sag above 6500 RPM), and in its place was a more conventional wedge chamber in the cylinder head, which was now attached to a conventional 90 degree deck. The valves continued to use the displaced arrangement of the "W" engine, but were also inclined so that they would open away from the combustion chamber and cylinder walls, a design feature made possible by Chevrolet's stud mounted rocker arms. This alteration in valve placement resulted in a significant improvement in high RPM volumetric efficiency and resulted in a substantial increase in power output at racing speeds. Owing to the appearance of the compound angularity of the valves, the automotive press dubbed the engine the "porcupine" design.

As part of the head redesign, the spark plugs were relocated so that they entered the combustion chamber at an angle relative the cylinder centerline, rather than the straight in relationship of the "W" engine. This too helped high RPM performance. Due to the new spark plug angle, the clearance provided by the distinctive scalloped valve covers of the "W" model was no longer needed, and wide, rectangular covers were used.

In all forms (except the ZL-1 Can-Am model) the "rat motor," as it was later nicknamed (the small-block engine being a "mouse motor"), was slightly heavier than the "W" model, with a dry weight of about 685 pounds (310.7 kg). Aside from the new cylinder head design and the reversion to a conventional 90 degree cylinder head deck angle, the Mark IV shared many dimensional and mechanical design similarities with the "W" engine. The cylinder block, although more s ubstantial in all respects, used the same cylinder bore centers and main bearing dimensions as the older engine (in fact, the shorter stroke 348 and 409 crankshafts could be installed without modification). Like its predecessor, the Mark IV used crowned pistons, which were castings for conventional models and impact extruded (forged), solid skirt types in high performance applications.

Also retained from the "W" design were the race-proven Moraine M400 aluminum bearings first used in the 409, as well as the highly efficient "side oiling" lubrication system, which assured maximum oil flow to the main and connecting rod bearings at all times. These features, along with the robust crankcase design, sturdy forged steel crankshaft and massive four bolt main bearing caps used in the high performance versions, resulted in what many have considered to be the most rugged and reliable large displacement automotive V8 engine design of all time.

Q: What were the Small Block engines available for First Gen Chevy Camaros?


A 307 in³ (5.0 L) version was produced from 1968 through 1973. Engine bore was 3.875 in (98.4 mm) with a 3.25 stroke.

The 307 replaced the 283 in Chevrolet cars and produced 200 hp (149 kW) SAE gross in the 1960s. The later emissions-modified versions produced just 115 hp (86 kW) SAE net, giving the engine one of the lowest power-per-displacement ratings of all time. Chevrolet never produced a high-performance version of this motor.

(Chevrolet produced for Outboard Marine Corporation, a high-performance marinized 307, rated at 235 and 245 hp SAE gross, depending on year, that shipped with the Corvette/Z-28's cast aluminum valve covers and Rochester QuadraJet carb. Chevy also built other versions of the OMC 307 rated at 210, 215 and 225 horsepower SAE gross.)

The 307 was also unique in the fact that its casting alloy had a very low nickel content making it relatively soft. Due to this fact, this engine has low value among rebuilders because of reduced longevity.

The 327 in³ (5.4 L) V8, introduced in 1962, was bored and stroked to 4 in (102 mm) by 3.25 in. Power ranged from 250 hp to 375 hp (186 kW to 280 kW) depending on the choice of carburetor or fuel injection. In 1962, the Duntov solid lifter cam versions produced 340 hp (254 kW), 344 ft·lbf (466 N·m) with single Carter 4-brl, and 360 hp (268 kW), 352 ft·lbf (477 N·m) with Rochester mechanical fuel injection. In 1964, horsepower increased to 365 for the now dubbed L76 version, and 375 for the fuel injected L84 respectively, making the L84 the most powerful naturally aspirated, single-cam, production small block V8 until the appearance of the 385 hp (287 kW), 385 ft·lbf (522 N·m) Generation III LS6 in 2001. * L76, L84 1963-1965; Chevrolet Corvette. This block is one of 3 displacements that underwent a major change in 1968/1969 when the main bearing size was increased from 2.30 in to 2.45 in.

The 350 in³ (5.4 L) V8. The first generation of Chevrolet small-blocks began with the 1955 Chevrolet 265 in³ (4.3 L) V8. But it was the 350 in³ (5.7L) series that set the standard for high performance. The engine's physical dimensions (oversquare 4.00 in bore and 3.48 in stroke, 102 mm by 88 mm) are nearly identical to the 400 hp (300 kW) LS2 engine of today, but of course much has changed. It is by far the most widely used Chevrolet small-block; it has been installed in everything from station wagons to sports cars, in commercial vehicles, a nd even in boats and (in highly modified form) airplanes!

A 350 is usually common with engine swaps - much of the older, pre-1968 Chevrolet V8s were usually swapped with a later 350 when engine replacement was the norm. It has been known to swap a 350 in place of a 305 since the 350 is part of the same engine family (the external dimensions of a Chevrolet small block are the same).

First usage of the 350 was in the 1967 Chevrolet Camaro and 1968 Nova producing 295 horsepower (gross); other Chevrolet vehicle lines followed suit in the year 1969.

The GM Goodwrench 350 crate motor (sold through Chevrolet dealerships) is based on the pre-1986 small block design with two dipstick locations; pre-1980 on the driver's side and post-1980 on the passenger's side. This motor was produced in Mexico since 1981 as the Targetmaster 350.

Note that Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac all produced three entirely different 350 in³ V8 engines that shared nothing in common other than displacement. The Buick 350 had a 3.80 in bore and a 3.85 in stroke (96.52 mm by 97.91 mm), the Oldsmobile 350 had a 4.057 in bore and 3.53 in stroke (103 mm by 90 mm), and the Pontiac 350 had a 3.876 in bore and a 3.75 in stroke (98.5 mm by 89.66 mm).

The 302 in³ (5.4 L) V8 engine was only available in first-generation Z-28s (the 350 LT-1 was used in 2nd generation Z-28s), and was created in response to a Trans Am racing engine displacement limitation at that time of 5 litres (305ci). The 302 was created by installing a short-stroke 283ci engine crankshaft in a 327ci block, resulting in 302ci. This just fit the Trans Am limitation (the bores of the actual racing engines were tweaked to produce exactly 305ci) and this design (with special modifications for high-performance use) resulted in an unusual, high-revving engine that helped create the legend of the Z-28. The 302 was the only engine available in the first-generation Z-28.

L26 230ci/140HP L6 1BC - non-SS

L22 250ci/155HP L6 1BC - non-SS

Z28 302ci/290HP V8 4BC - Z-28 only

L14 307ci/200HP V8 2BC - non-SS, 1969 only

LF7 327ci/210HP V8 2BC - non-SS, eliminated during 1969

L30 327ci/275HP V8 4BC - non-SS, 1967-68 only

L65 350ci/250HP V8 2BC - non-SS, 1969 only

LM1 350ci/255HP V8 4BC - non-SS, regular fuel, 1969 only

L48 350ci/295HP V8 4BC - SS only, rated 300HP in 1969

Q: Were In line 6 engines used in the Chevy Camaro?

A: Yes they were used on the base models. Two versions were available. The 230 displaced 230 cubic inches (3.8L). It was used by Chevrolet and GMC trucks. There was also a 250cid. engine which had 155Hp.


Q: What were the Big Block engines available for the First Gen Chevy Camaros?

A: The big block Chevy engines available were the 396 and the 427. The 396 in³ (6.5 L) V8 was introduced in the 1965 Corvette as the L78 option. It had larger bore and stroke at 4.094 in by 3.76 in (104 mm by 96 mm) than any previous small-block and produced an amazing 425 hp (317 kW) and 415 ft·lbf (563 N·m). This version of the 396 was equipped with four bolt main bearing caps and was very comfortable with being operated in the upper 6000 RPM range. The highly successful and versatile 427 cubic inch (7 L) version of the Mark IV engine was introduced in 1966 as a production engine option for full sized Chevrolets and Corvettes. The bore was increased to 4.25 inches, with power ratings varying widely depending on the application. There were smooth running versions with hydraulic lifters suitable for powering the family station wagon, as well as rough idling, high-revving solid lifter models that resembled racing powerplants and produced well over 400 horsepower.

Not every version of the 427 was available in every car, and ordering the highest performance versions often required that other options be added to or deleted from the car (for example, power steering wasn't available with the high performance models). This relationship between engine configuration and vehicle options often resulted in what was jokingly referred to as a "racing taxicab," the description usually applied to a minimally equipped, plain looking, two door Biscayne sedan fitted with the brutally powerful 425 horsepower version of the 427—resulting in a vehicle whose performance was the polar opposite of a taxi.

Perhaps the nec plus ultra in 427 street applications was the L89 435 horsepower version available in 1967 to 1969 Corvettes. This engine was equipped with three two barrel carburetors and large port aluminum heads for maximum high RPM air flow, and resulted in a car whose performance was described by one automotive journalist as "the ultimate in sheer neck-snapping overkill." The "tri-power" 427 could accelerate the 1967 Corvette coupe from zero to 60 miles per hour in little more than four seconds and, when suitably tuned for drag racing, turn in 11 second, 125 mile per hour quarter mile performances, suggesting a true power output in the range of 550 horsepower.

The most famous version of the 427 was undoubtedly the 1969 ZL1 engine. Developed for Can-Am racing, where it was very successful, the ZL1 had specifications nearly identical to the production L88 version of the 427, but had an all-aluminum cylinder block that weighed 100 lb less than a similar iron block. The engine was also fitted with the new open combustion chamber cylinder heads, a lightweight aluminum water pump and a specially tuned aluminum intake manifold, resulting in an engine weighing little more than a small block, but producing around 600hp in "street" tune and far more in racing tune. The 4718 dollar cost of the ZL1 option doubled the price of the 1969 Corvette, but resulted in a car with exceptional performance. Just two production Corvettes (factory) and 69 Camaros (non-factory option COPO 9560) were built with the ZL1.

Chevrolet capitalized on the versatility of the 427 design by producing a wide variety of high performance, "over the counter" engine components (marketed as "heavy duty" or "extra capacity" components to mask their intended racing application), as well as ready-to-race "replacement" engines in shipping crates. Some of the components were developed to enhance the engine's reliability during high RPM operation, possibly justifying the use of the description "heavy duty." However, most of these items were racing parts originally designed for Can-Am competition that found their way on to dealers' shelves, and were meant to boost the engine's already impressive power output. As a result of this activity, the 427 quickly became dominant in drag racing.

The version of the 427 produced from 1966 to 1969 was fitted with essentially the same cylinder heads as used with the 396, a type often referred to as the closed combustion chamber design. Starting in 1969, the highest performance models were fitted with the new open chamber cylinder head, which along with design improvements in crankshafts, connecting rods and pistons adopted from the Can-Am development program, resulted in an engine with substantially increased performance and reliability. This development culminated in a specialty version of the engine called the ZLX, which was essentially a ZL1 engine built with the L88 engine's sturdy, four bolt main bearing iron block (it has been suggested that "ZLX" was a code name for ZL1 crossover). The ZLX, available as a short block assembly or complete "replacement" engine in the crate from a few dealers, was a resounding success and became a best-seller by after market racing components standards—the closest thing to an all-out competition engine ever offered to the general public. Chevrolet gave all 427 engines except the ZL1 a torque rating of 460 ft·lbf (624 N·m).

L35 396ci/325HP V8 4BC - SS only, Q-Jet

L34 396ci/350HP V8 4BC - SS only, Q-Jet

L78 396ci/375HP V8 4BC - SS only, Holley

L78/L89 396ci/375HP V8 4BC - SS only, Holley, Aluminum heads

L72 427ci/425HP V8 4BC - COPO 9561, Cast iron block and heads

ZL1 427ci/430HP V8 4BC - COPO 9560, Aluminum block and heads

Chevrolet Camaro Engines

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Source: Camaro Research Group - , Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

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