Since 1955, a V8 engine has been under the hood of the ultimate American icon, the Chevrolet Corvette. Even today, a pushrod knuckle dragger is used to turn wide rubber into smoke and push the fantastic plastic machine around race tracks at a record-breaking pace. With the current C6 generation Vette very close to retirement, Chevrolet recently took some time to look back at one of the reasons why their favorite sports cars has been so popular.
More than 60 years ago, a 4.3 liter small block V8 was placed between the two front wheels of the first generation Corvette. Back then, the thumper pumped out a humble 195 ponies and according to Chevrolet themselves, that mill’s basic design has stayed true for decades. “The fundamental architecture of the Chevrolet “Small Block” remains the same today as it was in 1955: a 90-degree V-8, with overhead valves actuated by pushrods, and a 4.4-inch on-center bore spacing.” In all honesty, the current small block that is supercharged to produce 638 horsepower is remarkably simple and that reason might just be its beauty.
As nostalgic as Chevrolet’s most recent press release is, it does bring up a rather interesting thought. For a few years now, there have been talks of the next generation Corvette carrying a turbocharged engine less than eight cylinders. Considering that the last Vette to carry anything less than a V8 was built in the 1950s, some have gathered the thought that a downsize would never take place. With the actual and definite news regarding the C7′s powerplant still in the air, their might be a chance that CAFE standards won’t get the best of the best and take away what Chevrolet is calling the Corvette’s “heart”.
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