|Quote, originally posted by NewVWgirl »|
|O.k I am always hearing my husband talking about big block cars and small block cars.|
Please forgive the extreme auto ignorance but what's the difference between the small block and big block?
Good question, I think the definition varies, but a small block is typically a GM V8 engine up to 350 cubic inches (can be higher if it's bored and or stroked), big blocks starts around 396 cubic inches but this is what wikipedia has to say:
A small-block engine is a North American V8 in a family of engines which generally have less than 6 liters (360 cubic inches) of displacement, although some derivatives have grown larger (up to 400 cubic inches, 6.6 litres). Larger families of engines are called big-blocks. The distinction came about in the early 1960s when the large full-size cars needed a bigger V8 than the smaller mid-size and compact cars. Prior to that point, manufacturers normally had only one V8 engine line.
The term is normally used only for engines from the "Big Three" (Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Chrysler Corporation) since the other companies did not keep two V8 engine size families. However, it's sometimes used for the more modern and compact V8s produced by others, such as Studebaker.
Although a small-block V8 is of significantly smaller displacement than the equivalent big-block, a small-block engine can be tuned to develop significant amounts of power. Additionally, many small-block engines were more advanced technologically than their big-block counterparts, and were much lighter and smaller. For this reason, they were often preferred in racing and sporting applications. Many hot rods and custom cars are fitted with small-block V8s, particularly the GM (Chevrolet) 350 engine and the Ford 351 Windsor.
A big-block engine is a North American V8 in a family of engines which generally have greater than 5.9 litres (360 cubic inches) of displacement; factory engine sizes reached a peak of 8.2 litres (500 cubic inches) in Cadillac's 1970s range. Smaller V8 engines are known as small-blocks; some members of small-block engine families may exceed 6 litres, blurring the distinction somewhat. The distinction came about in the early 1960s when the large full-size cars needed a bigger V8 than the smaller mid-size and compact cars. Prior to that point, manufacturers normally had only one V8 engine line.
The term is normally used only for engines from the "Big Three" (Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Chrysler Corporation) since the other companies did not keep two V8 engine size families.
Big-block V8s were most commonly used in full-size and luxury cars, rather than performance vehicles. Thus, they were commonly tuned and built for smoothness, low-end torque to get heavy cars rolling and effortless cruising. Many big-block engines were less technically sophisticated than their small-block counterparts, and their power-to-weight ratios were often lower.
They did see performance applications, however. Performance-tuned big-blocks were used in NASCAR racing, and homologation requirements saw these engines sold for road use. NASCAR's 7-litre engine size limit explains why many high-performance big blocks are of this size; Chevrolet's 427, Ford's 427, Chrysler's 426 Hemi. In the mid to late 1960s, the explosion of the muscle car market saw performance big-blocks fitted to intermediate-size cars. Some used derivatives of the racing engines, but in addition performance versions of former luxury motors were produced.
After the 1973 oil crisis, the days of the big-block in passenger cars were numbered. By the end of the 1970s, they were no longer to be found. However, these engines remained in use in pickup trucks and other non-car uses.