Current LT4 small block
Photo credit: Mechanical Power INC

GM's Next-Gen Small Block

Published January 11, 2024 at 4:55 PM

When Chevrolet unveiled the Turbo Fire V8 engine in 1955, few could have predicted its ascent to American icon status.

Launched amid the horsepower battles of the 1950s, it seemed unlikely that this powerhouse would endure beyond a decade, especially with the anticipated rise of turbine engines.

Surprisingly, the Chevrolet small block defied expectations, becoming a mainstay at General Motors, spanning five generations over nearly 70 years.

Amidst General Motors' ambitious shift toward electrification, speculation arose about the fate of the beloved small block.

However, recent developments indicate otherwise, as GM commits $854 million to revamp the sixth-generation small block.

Despite the company's aggressive push towards electric vehicles, the enduring demand for internal combustion in full-size pickups and SUVs remains significant.

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Brett Smith from the Center for Automotive Research suggests that the emphasis on enhancing the small block stems from the prolonged reliance on ICE gasoline engines in larger vehicles.

Meeting California's Advanced Clean Car regulations and potential changes to the EPA's pollutant criteria further emphasize the need for efficient and clean engines.

Details about the sixth-generation small block remain undisclosed, with GM focusing on the investment's impact on manufacturing operations.

Investments include retooling in Michigan and Ohio for various components, highlighting GM's commitment to sustaining jobs and ensuring the longevity of the small block.

While the automotive landscape shifts towards electric vehicles, the announcement of a new small block underscores the enduring significance of internal combustion engines.

As GM navigates the transition, the strategic revitalization of the small block is seen as a crucial element in supporting the company's high-profit-margin vehicles and funding the development of next-generation Ultium batteries.

Credits: Auto Week
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