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Ernest Meland

Dr. Raquet

26 April 2017

ENGR 1202-M03

Quality Enhancement-Chevrolet Small Block V-8

Ed Cole, a lead engineer of GM and later GM President was assigned a new task

in 1954 along with a team of other engineers to design and produce a new engine to replace

the old and weak Stovebolt six-cylinder engine. Chevy was in need for a new more powerful

motor that could keep up with competition. The engine that Ed Cole and his team of

engineers produced was arguably the best engine ever created as far as power per dollar goes.

In 1955 Chevrolet designed and produced the most popular engine of all time. This V-8 was

powerful, simple, inexpensive, and it was known for good gas mileage for the power. The

small block V-8 came in many different models or displacements. The displacement of an

engine is the volume of the combustion chamber for each cylinder in the engine. The first

Chevrolet small block had a displacement of 265 cubic inches, the displacement size

progressively increased all the way up to 400 ci.

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Figure 1- Small Block 265 CI

Engine, Discovery Channel

Figure one shows a

small block Chevy 265.

Most Chevrolet

engines where painted orange from the factory. One of the most popular displacement

models of the Small Block Chevrolet is the Small Block 350. The 350 signifies that the

engines displacement is 350 cubic inches. The Chevrolet small block v-8 was used from

1955 to present in cars and trucks of all models in all GM companies. Figure two shows a

1970 Chevy 350 CI small block engine. The shape has not changed other than the more

modern accessories.

Figure 2-Small Block 350 CI

Engine, Carros Antigos

This engine Is one of the simplest automotive engines ever designed. It works off internal

combustion through a four-stroke cycle. First, the piston travels down on the intake stroke
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sucking a finely tuned air fuel mixture through the import valve port. Then as the piston travels

back upwards it compresses the gas until the spark plug fires a spark into the combustion

chamber at a certain distance before the piston reaches its highest point, the distance (degrees

before top dead center) that the spark fires as the piston moves depends on the rpms (revolutions

per minute) and displacement model of the engine. Once the air fuel mixture is ignited the piston

gets thrown back down in its power stroke propelling the crankshaft in a rotational motion. Then

the piston travels back up pushing the exhaust gas out of the exhaust ports. The rotational

motion that the pistons create gets transferred to the drive wheels of whatever vehicle the motor

is powering through a transmission and rear differential and axle. One of the great things about

the Chevy motor is the one camshaft design. The engine uses one camshaft that is directly

synchronized to the motion of the crankshaft by use of gear and chain. The camshaft is used to

lift the lifters which transfer the motion back down on to the valves opening and closing the

intake and exhaust valves at specific times during the combustion cycle. The cylinders receive a

spark at the right time by a sparkplug that is wired to a part called the distributor cap. Under the

distributor cap is the distributor and coil. The distributor spins at the same rpm of the engine by

a vertical shaft that is geared and spun by the camshaft. As the distributor spins it contacts

certain plug wire points and sends a spark to the correct cylinder. The engine receives that finely

tuned air fuel mixture by use of a carburetor. The carburetor sits atop of the intake manifold,

when the operator hits the accelerator petal it pulls a wire that activated the accelerator piston in

the carburetor. The engine is cooled by water flowing through machined passages throughout the

block to avoid overheating and catastrophic engine failure.

One of the greatest things about Chevrolet small blocks is that all the engine/

displacement sizes have interchangeable parts and accessories. This is part of the reason that
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caused GM vehicles to become so popular. A very commonly known and sought after

antique race car from the 1950s is the 1955 Chevy Gasser. The Gasser was made so popular

because it was the first car to let the Chevy small block make its debut as the powerful

performance machine that it is. All of GMs sub companies such as Pontiac, Buick, Cadillac,

and Oldsmobile began using the Chevy 350 Cubic Inch small block as the Corporate standard

in 1967.

The lead engineer of the small block Chevy, Ed Cole, was born on September 17th, 1909

in Marne Michigan. Cole was born into a dairy farming family but sparked an interest in

automobiles while working part time at an auto parts store and attending community college.

After community college Ed attended the General Motors Institute, where he expanded his

knowledge of automobiles and studied Engineering. Cole began working as an engineer at

GM and was part of a project as co-head of team developing a V-8 engine for Cadillac. In

1952 Ed was promoted to the lead engineer of the Chevrolet branch of GM after being

supported by the previous lead engineer. 1954 is when Ed Cole began leading a team to

design and produce the Chevrolet small block, this was the biggest and most important

project he had been assigned. The design process took approximately a year and the product

ended up being in production for nearly 5 decades. Ed Cole was promoted to General

Manager of GM in 1956 shortly after the debut of the small block. Ed Cole passed away in

1977 due to a plane crash although he was active in the GM work force from 1948-1974. Ed

Cole was recognized for the Small Block V-8 as well as the Chevrolet Corvair and the

Chevrolet Vega.
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Edward Cole, General Manager

and Lead Engineer at GM. (1909-

The reason I

chose the Chevrolet

Small Block V-8 as my quality enhancement topic is

because of its extensive engineering feats and good traits.

Personally, I have owned 4 small block Chevrolet V-8s of

all generations of cars. I believe this product is a very

important innovation to the American society because of its simple yet powerful and efficient

design. The small block Chevrolet engine has provided the necessary power needed for millions

of people around the world. Its production and use in race cars such as Late Model asphalt and

dirt cars in Nascar and Outlaw dirt racing has led to thousands of jobs and has helped the

economy. Most the small block engines where manufactured in the USA except for a select few

years when the engine was manufactured in Mexico, the manufacturing of these engines in the

United States increased the desire to own them among the public.

The most interesting factor about the small block Chevrolet to me is how it was

engineered. Ed Cole and the other engineers didnt have computer renderings or drawing

programs, the Chevrolet engine had to be hand drawn layer by layer. This is so interesting to me

because of all the oil and water passages as well as the rotating assembly. The fact that the GM

engineers of 1954 hand drew every component of the engine is fascinating to me. The Chevrolet

small block is constantly being improved upon for performance and racing purposes. Although

the first-generation small block discontinued production in 2003, after market companies all over
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the world manufacture the small block. GM is also producing a newer version of the small

block, the LS series of motors. LS motors have a slightly different block shape and can

withstand higher rpms and produce more horsepower. The small block Chevrolet engine was

most definitely a milestone in not only GM production efforts but in engineering history.


Udy, Jason. Small Block Chevy V-8 Through the Years. Motor Trend on Demand

http://www.motortrend.com/news/small-block-chevy-v8-through-the-years/ 11/03/2011.


Donnelly, Jim. Edward N. Cole Hemmings Classic Car.

https://www.hemmings.com/magazine/hcc/2007/05/Edward-N--Cole/1453678.html 5/2007