Posts from ‘Engines’

2003 Chevrolet Avalanche

2003 Chevrolet Avalanche 2500

When most Chevrolet fans think “big block,” they probably think of the legendary 396- and 454-cubic-inch V8s. These stout mills made their names pushing Chevelles through the quarter mile and helping vacationers in Estate Wagons tow pontoon boats.


With 140 horsepower, this Studebaker’s 244-cubic-inch “Commander” V8 was muscular for its time, but it falls 225 horses short of the least-powerful engine on our top-5 list of current truck engines.

In 1990, Chevrolet rolled out the 454 SS, an outrageous performance-oriented version of the brand’s full-size pickup truck. At its heart was a tuned version of General Motors’ “big block” 454-cubic-inch (7.4-liter) V8. The engine was rated at 230 horsepower and a stump-pulling 385 pound-feet of torque.

1991 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP

Found in the Pontiac Grand Prix and two other General Motors cars for 1991, the LQ1 V6 was just one of nine passenger-vehicle V6 engines produced by GM for U.S. consumption that model year.

In 1981, a Federal jury ruled that General Motors would have to pay $550 each to 10,000 owners of 1977 Oldsmobiles. This stiff punishment was levied because the Oldsmobiles in question came not with Oldsmobile engines, but with Chevy powerplants.

At the time, it was largely understood by the non-motoring public that GM’s placement of Chevy V8s in Oldsmobiles was an attempt to defraud buyers by slyly passing along an inferior product.

2012 Vortec 4.3L V-6 (LU3) for Chevrolet Express

General Motors’ 4.3-liter V6 has been around since 1985. Shown here in Chevrolet Express/GMC Savanna trim, this dated mill was finally replaced in GM pickups by the stronger and thriftier EcoTec3 V6.

Michael Jordan came close to leading the Washington Wizards to an NBA playoff spot in 2002, but injuries held the legend back, and the team sat out the post season. But it’s not Jordan’s near miss with another championship run that most basketball fans remember about that season. Mostly, folks who recall his time playing for the Wizards at all remember his less-than-godlike 22-point-per-game performance, and grumblings by teammates that the 14-time NBA All Star was taking more shots than he probably should have.


At a rated 150 horsepower, this ’72 AMC Gremlin sported a healthy performance advantage when compared with lesser models saddled with the standard 100-horsepower 232-inch six, or the available 110-horse 258-inch six.

Merriam-Webster defines a V8 as “an internal combustion engine having two banks of four cylinders each with the banks at an angle to each other.” While true enough, a dictionary definition of one of motoring’s finest achievements can’t begin to capture the intoxicating power of a well-tuned small-block’s exhaust burble.


This 1983 Indy pace car sported a twin-turbocharged V6 that never made it into production. A single-turbo 3.8-liter V6 boasting 185 horsepower was available, however.

The V6 engine has played a funny role in American automotive history. For domestic product, the V6 represented–at least for a time–a response to high fuel prices and and, on a grander scale, the passing of an era. For import products, V6 engines meant stepping up into the mainstream, and competing head on with domestic makers in the massive midsize sedan market, and later the burgeoning SUV/crossover segment. What we have here are five ads openly celebrating the charms of V6 motoring. It’s worth noting that the V6 engine that once seemed like so much of a compromise is now being replaced by even more-efficient small-displacement turbocharged 4-cylinder mills. In fact, neither the Chevrolet Malibu nor the Ford Fusion is available with a V6 engine anymore.


A Ford “High Swirl Combustion” (HSC) engine

In automotive parlance, the term “fleet special” is almost never used lovingly. Fleet-special cars and trucks are almost always decontented and often down on power compared to retail variants of the same vehicles.


1981 Cadillac ad

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and few periods in American automotive history were more desperate than the late 1970s and early ’80s.

Arriving just in time for a double-dip recession and an unprecedented spike in gas prices was the General Motors LC4 V6, a spin-off of Buick’s already ubiquitous 3.8-liter V6.

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