2014 Gore Aussie Muscle Mania Car Show (12-4-14)
Celebrating the 350 part #1: Chevrolet 350 V8
THE POWERPLANT (Part 1 of 2)
One of the great paradoxes of automotive history is that while the Ford Motor Company was the first mass manufacturer to produce affordable V8-powered cars, it is the Chevrolet small-block V8 that has gone on to become the most famous and loved of all eight-cylinder engines.
In naming the 10 best engines in history, Ward’s AutoWorld found a place for the Ford side-valve flathead V8 but the only postwar V8 from Detroit to get a spot was the Chevrolet 350 cubic-inch unit.
The postwar boom in the US created a huge proliferation of new models and, by the mid-1960s, what became known as the horsepower race. In our current era where the same basic engine might be found in Peugeots, Citroëns and the Australian Ford Territory, it is difficult to grasp the fact that General Motors was so rich that most of its divisions had a unique range of V8s and in multiple variants.
When the Chevrolet Division introduced the 350ci V8, Buick had a 340 (as well as its 300, 400 and 430), Oldsmobile had a 330 (plus its own 400 and a 425), Chevy’s closest sibling Pontiac had a 326 (and yet another 400 and its 428) while GM’s flagship brand Cadillac had a solitary 429.
None of these engines could match the production life of the Chevy 350 which made its debut in the 1967 Camaro 350SS, tasked with the challenge of stealing sales from the phenomenally successful Mustang.
Although replaced by the Generation II LT and Generation III LS engines in the 1990s, it was not discontinued until 2003. And it remains in production in Mexico as a crate unit for Chevrolet Performance.
To understand the significance of the 350 it is necessary to look at the history of Chevy’s small-block V8.
High-compression V8 engines had been a key element in GM’s postwar plan. Alfred P. Sloan Jr, who effectively ran the corporation from 1923 (as President) to 1956 when he finally retired as Chairman of the Board, wrote in My Years with General Motors: “At the close of World War II we made the projection that for an indefinite period the principal attractions of the product would be appearance, automatic transmissions and high-compression engines, in that order; and that has been the case.”
While Cadillac had always been GM’s top brand, Oldsmobile was usually the one where new engineering was first applied. So it made sense for the high-compression V8 engines to make their 1948 debut in both marques for model year 1949. The chief designer of the Cadillac engine was Ed Cole (see below).
In 1952 Cole was transferred to Chevrolet Division where the engineers were already at work on a new high-compression V8 intended for the Corvette. The view at the time was that without a powerful V8 engine the model would have to be discontinued as the ‘stove-bolt’ 165hp straight-six …
A head gasket is an important component of your car as it restricts the engine liquids from causing any kind of damage to the cylinders inside. This small piece of equipment can be found between cylinder head and engine block in your internal combustion engine. By resting at the right place, the gasket prevents leakage of engine oil or coolant into cylinders. Apart from this sealing effect, the gasket also keeps pressure within cylinders so that the gas is effectively combusted with compression. It is an essential combustion chamber component and its strength should be ensured at all times.
Unlike other exterior components, the internal parts of your car can’t be inspected on your own regularly. If you experience problems like cooling system failure or overheating of your engine, then it is time to take a closer look at your head gasket because this humble component can really result in serious problems. Due to wear in the gasket, coolant liquid can reach the cylinder and reduce the performance of cooling system. Water and oil can get mixed up and this will certainly create trouble with your vehicle. A broken gasket can result in decreased pressure and it can easily cause overheating in your car.
A blown head gasket is often a problem that car owners face most of the time and replacing this component is not cheap. Mild cases of failure of the gasket in the interior part of your car are hard to recognize. Often times, you will ignore the small signs and continue driving. As a result, continuous stress on the component will cause it to break down eventually, leading to major problems. When you take your car to a car mechanic with issues that popup all of a sudden, he will most likely inspect the head gasket first to find out whether there are any issues.
It is impossible to predict problems with the head gasket, but if you are careful enough to notice the minor signs that your car gives you, you can deploy preventive maintenance strategies to reduce the effect. Many car owners prefer to use coolant system conditioners that need to be applied only once in a couple of years. This will keep your gaskets in good condition, but sometimes, a bad conditioner can pose a new threat. Typically, you can choose conditioners that are suited best for the type of gasket used in your car.
Taking care of your engine will automatically ensure safety of the head gaskets. The oil temperature should be at least 60 Celsius before you try to ramp up to 3000 rpm. You can drive your vehicle at a low speed before halting in a parking lot suddenly. If you notice steam or smoke from boot lid vents, pay attention to it immediately to prevent disasters that may arrive at a later point of time. Frequent and professional checking of compression pressure using a pressure gauge will notify you about the status of your gasket. A leak down test …