I hope everyone had a fun weekend. My was very productive. Stacking wood, working on a dock, putting stuff away in a garage (not mine unfortunately). It was chore weekend helping out the in-laws. But now back to cars. I was thinking about small engines with big reputations.
What got me thinking about it was talking to people and mentioning that the 1966 Impala in my garage has a 327. It seems the 327 has a good reputation as a performance engine. Even though it was available in a non-performance version with 250 HP. Compare that to the Chrylser 318 at 230 HP, and you think, so what on the 327. But, the 327 went up from there. All the way up to 375 HP, which is very impressive for a factory small block in the 1960’s.
The other reason the 327 has a reputation as a performance engine, is that it was only around in the 60’s. That means they never were around for the low performance 1970’s like the 350 was. So they started on a high note, and ended there also. After all, in the mid to lat 70’s even 250 HP was a lot.
The 327 wasn’t the only small block like this though. There was also the 302 Chevy, the Mopar 340 and you could look at the Boss 302 Ford also. Although the Ford 302 did live through the low performance era, the Boss 302 was only a couple of years, you can choose if you want to include it in the group or not.
The Mopar 340 did hang on until 1973, so it had to deal with lower compression, but not the full on smog motor issues of the lat 70’s.
The Chevy 302 was only a couple of years in the lat 60’s. Same with the Boss 302.
Other performance small blocks soldiered on through the low performance era of the late 70’s and early 80’s so their performance image is not always there.
Sure the 327 and the 340 and the 302’s had a great bore/stroke ratio that helps them make power. And a 360 or a 350 would probably not make as much power per cubic inch, but with more cubic inches, does that matter?
And with the modern cylinder heads and stroker cranks, it is pretty easy to exceed the power numbers of the muscle car era big blocks with a small block now.
Unfortunately, they are not production engines, so they don’t have the same reputation as the factory engines from the 60’s. So while they may deserve the same small engine, big reputation status, they don’t have it.