Chevy Small Block History 1960-1964

Article by Mark Trotta

One of the reasons for the small-block Chevy's longevity was it's capacity for displacement increases. The first increase came in 1957, when the original 265 small-block was enlarged to 283 cubic-inches. Five years later, it increased again to 327.

1960 Chevy engine options

1960 - Five versions of the 283 were offered this year; 230-hp, 245-hp, and 270-hp carbureted, and 275-hp or 315-hp with Ramjet fuel injection.

Both the 170-hp and 230-hp versions of the 283 were available in full-size Chevy models (Biscayne, Bel Air, Impala). Also available in full-size cars was the new 348 cubic-inch 'W block'.

Corvette Engine Options

By raising engine compression from 10.3:1 to 11:1, the fuel-injected 283 Ramjet engine now produced 315 horsepower.

Chevy Corvette with Ramjet engine

The lower horsepower Ramjet now produced 275 horsepower.

**********************

1961 - Either 170-hp or 230-hp versions of the 283 were available in Biscayne, Bel Air, and Impala models. The 348 W-Block was also available.

The long-running "Super Sport" series began in February 1961, with a 348 and optional 409 engine.

1961 Corvette Engine Options

The 1961 Corvette 283 was available in same five versions as 1960; 230-hp, 245-hp, and 270-hp carbureted, and either 275-hp or 315-hp with Ramjet fuel injection.

1961 Corvette engine options

**********************

327 Small-Block Introduced

For 1962, Chevrolet engineers increased the cylinder bore of the 283 to 4.00" and the crankshaft stroke to 3.25", making a new small-block with a displacement of 327 cubic-inches.

1962 Chevy Engine Options

With the introduction of the new, larger engine, the 283 was relegated to a two-barrel-only configuration (170 horsepower). Also available was the new 409 motor, which replaced the 348 engine in full-size passenger cars.

1962 Corvette Engine Options

Four versions of the 327 small-block were available this year. The base motor was rated at 250 horsepower with 350 lb/ft of torque. Both it and the optional 300 horsepower version had 10.5:1 compression ratio, hydraulic lifters, and single 4-barrel carburetor.

1962 Corvette engine options

Ramjet Fuel Injection

The 327ci fuel-injected Ramjet engine produced 360-horsepower, and was only available with a three- or four-speed manual transmission.

Similar to the 265's fate, all 283 engines were dropped from the Corvette's option list.

**********************

Engine Designations

In 1963, Chevrolet began designating engines with letter/number codes. These usually start with the letter "L" (example: L75, L84, etc). Before this, engines were referred to by RPO (regular production order) numbers.

Also this year, alternators replaced generators on all motors.

1963 Corvette Engine Options

A brand new Corvette debuted this year, with a beautiful body on an all-new frame. No-one seemed to mind that engine choices remained the same as 1962.

1963 Corvette engine options

The base 327 motor was rated at 250 horsepower with 350 lb/ft of torque.

The L76 motor had a hydraulic cam and single four-barrel carb. With compression at 11.25:1, the factory horsepower rating was 340.

1963 Corvette engine options

L84 Ramjet Fuel Injection

The fuel-injected 327 motor was available only with a three- or four-speed manual transmission. With an engine compression of 11.25:1, power output was 360-horsepower.

1963 Chevy Engine Options

A 195 horsepower version of the 283 was available in full-size Chevy models (Biscayne, Bel Air, Impala). The 327 motor was rated at 250 horsepower with 350 lb/ft of torque. Both it and the L75 engine (with 300 horsepower) had 10.5:1 compression ratio, hydraulic lifters, and single 4-barrel carburetor.

Also available in Super Sport models was the 409 engine.

**********************

1964 Chevy Chevelle

Chevy's new intermediate-size Chevelle was available as a 2-door sports coupe, 2-door or 4-door sedan, 2-door or 4-door wagon, or 2-door convertible.

Chevy Chevelle history 1964

First-year engine choices included 283ci or 327ci small-block engines. A 220-hp version of the 283 was available in the Chevelle.

1964 Engine Options

For the 1964 model year, several versions of the 327 were available.

1964 Chevy engine options

A 195 horsepower version of the 283 was also available in full-size Chevy's, the Chevelle, and for the first time, the little Chevy II.

Chevy II V8

Soon after the Chevy II debuted in 1962, both dealers and enthusiasts alike were performing V8 conversions to the little car. In 1964, a factory-installed small-block was on the option list.

Chevy Two V8 conversion

With a Chevy II weighing about 2,500 pounds, a small V8 under the hood gave an amazing power to weight ratio. These cars certainly surprised quite a few unsuspecting street racers in their time!

**********************

1964 Corvette Engine Options

Several versions of the 327 small-block were available this year. The standard motor had 10.5:1 compression ratio, hydraulic lifters, and single 4-barrel carburetor producing 250 horsepower.

L75 Small-Block

The L75 327 engine had 10.5:1 compression ratio, hydraulic lifters, and single 4-barrel carburetor producing 300 horsepower.

L76 Small-Block

The L76 327 motor had a hydraulic cam and single four-barrel carb. With compression at 11.25:1, engine output rose to 365 horsepower from the previous year.

L84 Small-Block

The 327 L84 motor had Ramjet fuel injection and a solid-lifter cam. With compression at 11:1, engine output rose to 375 horsepower from the previous year.

Until the appearance of the 385-horsepower LS6 in 2001, the L84 was the most powerful naturally aspirated, single-cam small-block Chevrolet ever produced.

30-30 Cam

In 1964, Chevrolet replaced the Duntov 097 cam with a newer version, part # 3849346 (cast 3849347). It became known as the '30-30' camshaft, so named because both intake and exhaust valve lash were set at .030.

The 30-30 cam was fitted to solid lifter 365 hp (carb) and 375 hp (FI) 327's. This was the cam that allowed the fuel-injected 327 to produce 365 horsepower, and with a compression bump to 11.25:1, produced 375 horsepower. Corvettes with these motors were available only with manual transmissions.

**********************

Articles of Interest:

Chevy Small-Block History 1955-1959

Chevy Small-Block History 1965-1969

Tools Needed For An Engine Build

Best Oil For Classic Cars

Chevy Stovebolt Six

Best Engine Assembly Lube

Small-Block Chevy Build

Read: Old School Small-Block Chevy Build