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The origins of the Chevy small block

By Product Expert | Posted in Chevy Silverado, Chevy Silverado HD on Monday, November 20th, 2017 at 3:00 pm
1955 Chevy truck red side view illustration

When was the first V-8 Chevy truck?

Are you a Chevy truck fan, an enthusiast, or even a relative newcomer to the world of Chevy trucks? Then you may have some questions, especially regarding their engines. Maybe you’ve been asking: when was the first V-8 Chevy truck? We’ll give you a little history lesson and provide you with answers.

1955 Chevy small block out of the truckFirst small-block Chevy truck

When the first Chevy truck rolled off the line in 1929, it was packing an inline six-cylinder engine. This winning formula defined the Chevy truck for years. That changed in 1955 when Chevy revealed the revolutionary small-block V-8, thus changing the face of Chevy trucks forever.


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Performance of the first V-8 Chevy truck

The small-block V-8 Chevy truck was so popular because it delivered power to the masses. With a full 4.3 liters of displacement, this innovative powerhouse supplied 238 pound-feet of torque.

Not only was that an impressive number, but it could supply that torque at just 2,000 rpm. The design of this engine is one of the most enduring architectures in the automotive world and can still be seen in the latest Silverado and Sierra trucks today.


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1955 Chevy truck white side viewDifferences between the Chevy small block and big block

You have likely heard of both the Chevy big block and small block, and though it was the small block that first came about in the Chevy truck in 1955, you may be curious what the differences are. Does the big block have more cylinders, more power, more displacement, or all three?

The big block is still a V8 engine. In fact, Chevy has never made an engine with more than eight cylinders for a production car. The big block is simply larger, and thus has a higher displacement and more power. These two engines are very much related though. When the big block was brought to market just a few years later in 1958, it used a lot of the technology that the small block had put to work.

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Though the big block was used in many production cars over the years, it has fallen out of use as engine design has trended towards smaller engines. However, the small block is still in use in the latest Chevy Silverado trucks of today, and the big-block is still purchased as a crate motor for a variety of performance applications.

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