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[C2] High horsepower small blocks

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Old 06-19-2018, 08:24 PM
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65 396
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Default High horsepower small blocks

I've always believed that the 365 hp small block and the fuelie 375 hp engines were exactly the same except for the induction systems. Is this correct?
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Old 06-19-2018, 08:32 PM
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My engine builder said the very same thing. Same cam, pistons and heads.
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Old 06-19-2018, 08:33 PM
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Yeah. Why are you mystified?
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Old 06-19-2018, 09:27 PM
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I'm not mystified at all. I just needed help with my original question.
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Old 06-20-2018, 12:41 PM
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Well let me start a rumor. The gossip I have read is that the Big Block Corvettes came about as Chevy found it cheaper to build and install Big Block motors than to make improvements to the small blocks for the same power increase. The FI was a bit complicated and expensive and further improvements for more power would be even worse/more expensive and complicated. And you can see what Chevy had to do for more power/performance with an entirely new platform of the LS series motors.

Just my 2 cents on the topic.
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Old 06-20-2018, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by cardo0 View Post
Well let me start a rumor. The gossip I have read is that the Big Block Corvettes came about as Chevy found it cheaper to build and install Big Block motors than to make improvements to the small blocks for the same power increase. The FI was a bit complicated and expensive and further improvements for more power would be even worse/more expensive and complicated. And you can see what Chevy had to do for more power/performance with an entirely new platform of the LS series motors.

Just my 2 cents on the topic.
Not my perspective. My perspective is that by 1965, bigger was better across ALL car lines, muscle cars were coming on strong, and engine displacement was bragging rights, even with station wagons. If the Corvette was not offered with the 'latest and the greatest' big block big inch engine, it would have been laughed at.....and trumped by the 396 Chevelle and all the other muscle cars. Working on engines/cars for the past 40+ years, I would much rather have a SBC under my own hood than a BBC....they are a better designed, lighter, longer-lasting engine.
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Old 06-20-2018, 02:59 PM
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The horsepower wars, gentleman. The high water mark was the late 60s. Many of the forum members lived through it. Each year was a competition to see who could make a bigger bad *** engine.

It cut across all marques within the Big 3. Horsepower sold cars. It was as much marketing as it was anything else. Look at the production numbers for that period among muscle.

The much vaunted 427 Cobra was created because Shelby was concerned that GM was working on a large displacement engine for the Corvette in '65. That was a threat to his 289 cars. It was all about competition--among all manufacturers, even one like Shelby who was only producing a handful of cars a day. The 427 Cobra was one of the most iconic cars every built, but it will never be remembered for its handling, braking or FIA wins (which it had none). It is the "427" for which it will always be remembered and its straight line performance.

Image is everything.

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Old 06-20-2018, 03:19 PM
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Don't forget the king of the gen-1 SBCs, the 1970 LT-1.
370hp without FI.
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Old 06-20-2018, 03:43 PM
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Don't forget that GM knew that Ford was improving the 7-Liter FE427 effort to win the Sports Car Endurance Championship events, and Chrysler was winning at the drag strips with their new 426 Hemi. Nobody at the time the Chevrolet big block was designed expected any of these big engines to be placed in anything but full size car bodies in NASCAR. In a period of a very few years these big engines were options in Mustang, Barracuda, and Nova chassis platforms that were initially lightweight economy cars. It didn't matter that a built 302, or 340, or 327, could deliver a reliable 450 hp package (knowing that the 427 GT40 engines were detuned to ~485hp to last through the 24-hour races). The marketing word in the 60's was bigger is better.

Having a lightweight Cobra beat the Corvette on a road course was disappointing, but to get beat in a stop light challenge by a Nova or Comet was outright criminal.
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Old 06-20-2018, 03:51 PM
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For the new 65 model, the fuel injected Corvette engine was to be advertised/rated at 385 HP instead of 375. Also, the 365 HP L76 engine was to be rated at 375 HP. At the last minute, those changes were canceled and changed back to the original 365 and 375. Image is from GM/Chevrolet new products information sent to dealers. Also interesting that an L76 and L79 were scheduled for Nova.

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Old 06-20-2018, 04:31 PM
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A friend of mine has an original 1965 Chevelle SS 396 Z-16. Black on black. He's had it 40 years. One of 201 or so made. NEAT car!! And when it comes to big inches, let's not leave out the Pontiacs of the era: 421--428--455. Torque monsters, all of 'em.
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Old 06-20-2018, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Critter1 View Post
For the new 65 model, the fuel injected Corvette engine was to be advertised/rated at 385 HP instead of 375. Also, the 365 HP L76 engine was to be rated at 375 HP. At the last minute, those changes were canceled and changed back to the original 365 and 375. Image is from GM/Chevrolet new products information sent to dealers. Also interesting that an L76 and L79 were scheduled for Nova.
the 64 Chevelle was to have the L76 and the AIM has canceled drawings for it.
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Old 06-20-2018, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Nowhere Man View Post
the 64 Chevelle was to have the L76 and the AIM has canceled drawings for it.
I didn't know that. Learn something every day.
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Old 06-20-2018, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Critter1 View Post
I didn't know that. Learn something every day.
I read that engeenering built a couple of them but I donít know if any made it out the door
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Old 06-20-2018, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Nowhere Man View Post
I read that engeenering built a couple of them but I donít know if any made it out the door
A lot of strange things came out of engineering and some actually made it out to the public. Some went to people in high places in GM and eventually sold to the public.
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Old 06-20-2018, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Critter1 View Post



Also interesting that an L76 and L79 were scheduled for Nova.
True statement.
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Old 06-20-2018, 07:13 PM
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So, with all the above being said, is the F.I. engine the same as the 365 hp carburated engine?
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Old 06-20-2018, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by 65 396 View Post
So, with all the above being said, is the F.I. engine the same as the 365 hp carburated engine?
Yes, for engines of the same model year.

Originally Posted by Critter1 View Post

For the new 65 model, the fuel injected Corvette engine was to be advertised/rated at 385 HP instead of 375. Also, the 365 HP L76 engine was to be rated at 375 HP. At the last minute, those changes were canceled and changed back to the original 365 and 375. Image is from GM/Chevrolet new products information sent to dealers. Also interesting that an L76 and L79 were scheduled for Nova.
In all these years I don't think I've ever heard this before. Very interesting. Sounds like the same shenanigans that went on with the 427 engines at the start of the 66 model year.
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Old 06-20-2018, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
True statement.
If a solid lifter 327 was available in a 65 Nova, would you have bought one?

Last edited by Critter1; 06-20-2018 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 06-20-2018, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by DansYellow66 View Post
Yes, for engines of the same model year.



In all these years I don't think I've ever heard this before. Very interesting. Sounds like the same shenanigans that went on with the 427 engines at the start of the 66 model year.
I never heard that before but every year for pre production sales literature there are always things that never made it into production that was printed. Just chalk it up to things that never where
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