Chevrolet Engines: A Quick Synopsis

From the moment they became available in motor vehicles in 1917, Chevrolet engines emphasized maximum performance. The initial Chevrolet V8 engine had a 90 degree overhead valve. This first Chevrolet engine was only produced for about two years, as Chevy turned its attention to four and six cylinder engines because smaller vehicles began to hit the market. When Cadillac came out with its V8 in 1949, Chevrolet realized they needed to kick their engine production

Rocky Platt and Randall Davis prepare the ‘Twister…496 in the foreground ready for action.

into high gear. As a result, Chevrolet began building a small block V8 engine, which was made available in 1955. This product was critical for the development of the Chevy big block engine model that would come to power the supercharged Dixie Twister and Huston Platt on their road to becoming legendary figures in the sport of drag racing.

Chevy Tries to Find the Mark

Beginning with the first big block engine, Chevrolet had the blueprint for the engine that would one day power the Dixie Twister. The motor in the initial Chevy big block had a cubic inch displacement (CID) ranging from 348, to 409, to 427 CID.  The first big block maxed out at a factory claimed total of about 430 horsepower and 435 pounds of torque. Chevrolet would continue to improve upon this design in the early 1960’s, leading to 1965 when Chevy released the Mark IV big block.

The Chevrolet Big Block V8: Satisfying a Need for Speed

As Chevrolet continued to tweak their highly successful engine formula, engines started to feature high end design qualities that allowed for greater horsepower despite the engine’s noticeable growth in size. Such engines allowed for greater stroke, meaning the ability to push a fuel/air mixture into the combustion chamber of the vehicle. The Chevrolet supercharged Big Block V8 engine satisfied the need for speed of Chevy customers.

dixie twister 427 big block chevy

Up close and personal with the big block V8 supercharged engine of the Dixie Twister.

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