A style of Chevrolet, Ford or Mopar motor. American car makers are known to have small and big block V8 motors. Big block motors are more rare and powerful, but small block ones can be found easily and are cheaper to upgrade and own.

It is called a small block because literally it is a smaller block than the big block, go figure. Bearing nothing towards the potency of the motor, a small block engine can produce hundreds and in some cases thousands of horse power and be in stout competition with their bigger brothers.

Typical sizes:
Chevrolet: 283,305,307,327,350,400
Ford: 289,302,351Windsor,351Cleveland,360,400
Dodge/Mopar: 318,340

There are dozens of sizes of these motors, i would not likely be able to list them all, but those are just a few.

An interesting and pleasant note, the Chevrolet small block motor are actually 90% compatible with eachother. Example, a 350 intake manifold would bolt on perfectly to a 305. Sadly, the other car makes dont boast this feature. However on further testing, one can find that a Ford 302 will accept Ford 351 windsor heads thus making it a more powerful motor.

(Note: This write is limited to GM's small block engines, as it turns out I know nothing about the other manufacturer's small blocks.)

Originally introduced in 1955, a small block Chevy - sometimes abbreviated SBC - is a V8 automobile engine. (It is not necessary to specify that "small block" refers to the engine. This will be understood by other car guys from context.) There are actually a number of GM brands that use this block - Chevrolet is simply the most well-known - as well as a number of different displacements, ranging from 283 to 400. (Note: These are factory displacements. It's possible to bore and stroke SBCs out to 454 cubic inches, but this is done by starting with an aftermarket SBC-compatible small block.)

Although referred to a "Chevy", use of these engine blocks was not limited to the Chevrolet brand, and they showed up in Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Buick, and I beleive even Cadillac cars (although Cadillac tended to use GM's big block instead).

There are actually four generations of SBC engines. These are generally just designated with Roman numerals. There's also a relatively recent variation on the 350, the Corvette LS1 motor, that is made completely of aluminum, giving considerable weight savings. As far as I know, all generations use the same mounting points and general layout, there are a number of differences as to what brackets can be used to bolt on the various engine accessories.

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