Posts from ‘Engines’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.