Corvette Small-Blocks - 10 To The 8th Power

Part 2: An illustrated look at 10 of Chevy’s most significant Corvette small-blocks

Christopher R. Phillip Mar 8, 2012 0 Comment(s)
View Full Gallery


Engine order code LS3

Displacement 376 ci

Bore x Stroke 4.06- x 3.62-in

Compression 10.7:1

Fuel System Electronic sequential-port fuel injection

Horsepower/Torque (lb-ft) 430/424

Cam Hydraulic roller, 204-/211-deg duration (at 0.050), 0.551-/0.552-in lift

Did you know? The LS3 block and heads are based upon the parts introduced on the L92 high-performance truck engine. The LS3 uses the Nylon-6 glass-reinforced intake manifold and 5 g/s fuel injectors from the LS7.

Vemp_1206_009_corvette_small_blocks_10_to_the_8th_power_ 2/12


Engine order code LS9

Displacement 364 ci (supercharged)

Bore x Stroke 4.06- x 3.62-in

Compression 9.1:1

Fuel System Electronic sequential-port fuel injection

Horsepower/Torque (lb-ft) 638/604

Cam Hydraulic roller, 211-/230-deg duration (at 0.050), 0.562-/0.558-in lift

Did you know? The LS9 is the first supercharged Corvette production small-block in the marque's 60-year history. Before this 6.4L powerplant was released to the public, GM engineers put it through more than 6,800 hours of dyno testing, including a simulated 24 Hours of Le Mans race. When installed in the Corvette ZR1, it yields a power-to-weight ratio of 5.2 lbs/hp, compared with the Z06's 6.2 lbs/hp.

Vemp_1206_011_corvette_small_blocks_10_to_the_8th_power_ 3/12

About David Kimble

Growing up in L.A., the son of an aerospace-industry middle manager and midget racer, David Kimble formed an affection for all things automotive at an early age. This obsession, combined with a skill in drawing, led him to study drafting and technical illustration at the Academy of Technical Arts.

Word of his artistic talent and love of racing spread quickly through southern California race shops and eventually reached Jerry Titus, then technical editor of Sports Car Graphic magazine. Although Kimble was working as a contractor at North American Aviation, assigned to the Apollo space program, his career as an automotive illustrator was effectively born.

Vemp_1206_005_corvette_small_blocks_10_to_the_8th_power_ 4/12

Requests for his art from Road & Track led Kimble to establish his own business in 1976, David Kimble Illustration. Since then, his works have been featured in a wide variety of major magazines, and his style has attracted a dedicated following.

Upon the request of Chevrolet Deputy Director of Communications Thomas D. Hoxie, Kimble began illustrating Chevrolet small-block engines in 1991, beginning with the LT1.

Kimble uses a technique similar to animation-cel painting: First he creates a detailed pencil drawing. After GM approves the drawing, he overlays drafting film onto it and makes a fine-line inking using technical pens. The next steps begin on a film positive of the inked drawing. Using watercolor paints, which he sprays through airbrushes, he applies the color detail primarily onto the back of the positive, and adds shadows, highlights, and value adjustments to the front. His last step in each cutaway illustration's creation is to have the original art digitally scanned. Using this method, he's illustrated dozens of small-block cutaways, and he says he won't stop until he's transformed every Chevy small-block ever manufactured into a two-dimensional work of art.

"David Kimble is an icon at GM," says Tom Read of GM Powertrain Communications. "Those who know his work appreciate it as a true art form. David is an artist-engineer--a perfect combination for someone to put the three-dimensional mechanical art that is the GM small-block onto canvas.

"Over the years we've contracted David to perform his magic and bring out the technical highlights of our engines as no one else can. The warmth of his colors and feeling in his lines still can't be matched by the somewhat sterile computer-aided-design (CAD) images. David's perspectives are dead-on. His art serves multiple uses, from internal engineering reference to using them to accompany press releases, to becoming the prized framed print on a customer's garage wall."


Connect With Us

Get Latest News and Articles. Newsletter Sign Up

subscribe to the magazine

get digital get print