Fifty-seven years after Chevrolet installed the first small-block V-8 in a production Corvette, General Motors celebrated the manufacture of the 100-millionth small-block Chevy. Big news? Indeed, and VETTE readers have even more reason to rejoice because the milestone motor was a Corvette 6.2L LS9--the same engine that comes in the ZR1.
"The LS9 assembly--guided throughout the day by the same men at GM's Performance Build Center [PBC], who hand-build every production LS9, LS7, and dry-sump LS3 for the Corvette--represents the current state of the art for the [Chevy] small-block. GM will preserve the engine as part of its historical collection," says Tom Read, spokesman for Chevrolet's Powertrain Division.
The milestone engine's creation commenced at 7:30 a.m. on November 29, 2011, with PBC Skilled Engine Builders taking a first-string role in the build-up. They were assisted by employees and guests, including former small-block chief engineer and GM vice president Ed Koerner, current small-block chief engineer Jordan Lee, and retired engine engineer Denny Davis, among others. The process took a total of five hours, ending at precisely 12:30 p.m.
Then it was time to show off the milestone "mouse" motor and celebrate its significance for past, current, and future generations. On a stage that had been erected at the Build Center, special guest Dave Cole told the private audience about the origins of the Chevy small-block and his father, Ed Cole's, role in its development. Next, GM Executive Director Engine Engineering Sam Winegarden discussed the historical importance of the current SBC and provided highlights of the upcoming Gen V small-block architecture.
To conclude the ceremony, Tom Stephens (GM Vice Chairman, Global Chief Technology Officer), Dan Hancock (retired Small-Block Chief Engineer and GM Vice President), Koerner, and Cole torqued the final four bolts on the 100-millionth engine.
Follow along now as we share some of the highlights from this historic event, and check back next month as we pick 10 of the most significant Chevy small-blocks installed in the Corvette over its 59-year run. We'll also discuss what details Chevy has revealed about the Gen V that's slated to power the upcoming C7.