Various auto manufacturers become known for a particular motor and no one does the small-block V-8 quite like General Motors. The company has been making them for more than 50 years and number 100 million just rolled off the assembly line.
The engine that could
Various auto manufacturers come to be identified with a motor that powers many of the iconic cars offered by that company. Examples include Toyota’s four-cylinder R series, Mazda’s rotary engines and Porsche and Subaru’s boxer engines.
One of the most iconic engines has been the small-block V-8 by General Motors. The first small-block V-8, according to AutoWeek, debuted in 1955 from Chevrolet, and just about every General Motors brand has had something like it in a car ever since. Name an iconic muscle car by GM, and it had one. Any available full-size GM truck, van or performance car has the modern version in it today.
Number 100 million rolls off the line
It was announced by General Motors that it had produced its 100-millionth small block V-8, according to the Wall Street Journal. In order to commemorate the event, engine number 100 million was an LS9, the bespoke V-8 for the Corvette ZR1, GM’s fastest production car to date. The LS9 that goes into the ZR1 is a super-charged monster; the 6.2-liter motor produces 638 horsepower and can propel the ZR1, according to Chevrolet’s website, from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.4 seconds and has a top speed of 205 miles per hour.
Small block number 100 million, according to MotorTrend, was assembled in Wixam, Mich., at GM’s Performance Build Center. Unfortunately for enthusiasts who have the cash to afford the $111,525 price tag for a ZR1 and want the car powered by the 100-millionth small block V-8, it will not be put into a car. Instead, according to the Wall Street Journal, the engine is headed for General Motor’s historical collection.
Tradition will continue
The first small-block V-8 was the Chevrolet small-block V-8, which was the brainchild of Chevrolet engineer Ed Cole, according to AutoWeek. Cole transferred to Chevrolet from Cadillac and refined the design of the Cadillac Stovebolt motor, making it lighter and more powerful. That first Chevy small block was pedestrian by today’s standards. The 4.3-liter engine turned out 195 horsepower and was immediately offered, according to Wikipedia, in the Corvette and the Bel-Air.
Other GM divisions developed their own bespoke eight cylinder motors, but the small-block V-8 became the flagship engine for the General Motors auto empire. The next generation, according to MotorTrend, of GM V-8 will likely debut in the 2013 Corvette, which should arrive in late 2012.