Chevy V8

Ahead of it’s time.

The Chevrolet first V8 was the 1917 Series D, 288cid, Over head valve, push rod V8. designed and built by Chevrolet Motor Car Company.

It would take Chevrolet 37 years to build their next pushrod V8, one of The most famous engines of all time, the Chevy small Block in 1955.

This advanced engine produced 36 hp at 2700 rpm with 4.75:1 compression ratio to run on the 50-60 octane rating you found in 1917.

The design was quite compact and had features that you would see on many modern engine layouts. Running exposed valvetrain, nickel-plated rocker cover, an aluminum intake manifold, zenith duel jet carb, a starter in the valley, as did the gear driven generator that run a clutch fan. The generator was gear driven and ran the distributor as well.

So what big problems did Chevrolet’s ground breaking V8 have and why did it only live for a short time?

Well it made less horse power than the much cheaper Chevrolet FA series 4 cylinder....

The bigger V8 gave you just 36 hp from the OHV pushrod 288 cid V8, compared to 37 hp you got with the 224 cid OHV pushrod 4 banger.

Another nail in the coffin was the price, you could buy a new 20 hp Ford Model T for just $360 ($7,076 today’s cost) VS the hefty $1,385 ($28,004) for the Chevrolet V8.

After merging with General Motors in 1918, the Chevrolet division discontinued the V8 to concentrate on cheaper, more affordable, economy cars.

~Blanton Payne


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