The original small-block (265 ci) went into production in 1955 (’54-57) growing in cubes until it reached 400 inches in 1970 and this configuration was used from 1970 until 1981. In between there was the 283 (’57-67) that eventually sported the first Chevy mechanical fuel injection. Next up was the 327 (62-69) that shared production runs with the 350 (’67 to present as a replacement component). Mixed in was the highly desirable 302 (Z/28 fame) made for several years (’67-69) and a 307 (smog motor ’68-73). Another slight variation of this motor was the 305 (’76-00). There was also an oddball but a fun engine for hot rodders who really want something unusual--the 262 made for only two years (’75-76).
By 1957 the 265 grew into a 283 and it too came with an optional Rochester mechanical fuel injection, it became the first production engine ever to make 1 hp per cubic inch. Arguably the most popular of the small-blocks the 327 followed, turning out as much as 375 hp and increasing horsepower per cubic inch to 1.15. (This engine from 1963-65 also had an optional Rochester mechanical fuel injection. This FI is often referred to as a big-box injector and highly sought after by rodders who today convert them to electronic operation while keeping the vintage mechanical appearance.) It is the 350 that is most widely used among hot rodders.
By 1996 the last change came to pass for the Gen I engine (350), and it continued through the end of the production run in 2003; all ’97 to ’03 Gen I engines were Vortec truck engines. It featured an intake manifold bolt pattern that was changed to four bolts per cylinder head instead of the heretofore six.
The small-block Chevy fought a battle against the Ford to become the engine of choice among hot rodders--and it succeeded. In place of the SBC now comes the LS series of engines from Chevrolet and they have proven beyond any doubt what an incredible hot rod motor they make.
Now I have to believe there is an engineer or some other forward thinking Ford type who has read Mr. Duntov’s letter and is wondering how to get Ford back on top. Maybe it will be with the Flathead (probably not), maybe with the conventional small-block Ford (valiant battle but again probably not), but lastly could it be with Ford’s latest entry into the V-8 battle with the Coyote? Time will tell but in the meantime the small-block Chevy should be given its propsit earned them.