Big Block Vs. Small Block V8 Engines: Here’s What Every Gearhead Should Know

Big Block Vs. Small Block V8 Engines: Here’s What Every Gearhead Should Know


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If you want to go fast, and you want that ability right now with very little cost, a small block may be right for you. Generally, small blocks have a displacement of less than 400 cubic inches (via CJPonyParts). In the 1960s, long before efficient four-cylinders became commonplace, engine options for the family hauler were either a six-cylinder or a small-displacement V8. As such, examples are extremely easy to find. The average small block V8 pulled out of a 50-plus year old station wagon will need some work before it’s ready for the track, but it will be cheap. Plus, modders today have the advantage of the Internet where no matter what engine you’re working on, there are likely hundreds of available aftermarket accessories.

General Motors offered the perhaps most versatile engine in the world in the form of the Chevy Small Block. The most popular displacement by far is 350 cubic inches. but it was also commonly offered with a displacement of 327 cubic inches. For the Chrysler fans, you will most commonly see either a 318 cubic inch engine or a 360 cubic inch model. These engines were in everything from the Barracuda muscle cars to work vans. Ford made the 302 Windsor V8 and two different 351 cubic inch V8s often called the Cleveland and Windsor, respectively (via MotorTrend). There were dozens of other small block V8s manufactured in the golden era of muscle cars, but these displacements are the most common in circulation.

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January 25, 2023 at 04:52PM

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