• Dec 22, 2009
The Big Block. Rat Motor. Call it what you will, we can now officially add a final epitaph to the long-running engine's gravestone: R.I.P. The final L18 big block rolled down the assembly line at General Motors' Tonawanda plant in New York last week, and that engine was signed by all the workers at the plant and is on its way to the GM Heritage Center in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

The first big block Chevy engine was introduced way back in 1958 and was used in both passenger cars and trucks. The engine's legacy includes such classic nameplates as Chevrolet Impala, Chevelle, Camaro and Corvette with displacements ranging from the venerable 396, 409, 427 and 454 to, finally, the 496-cubic-inch Vortec 8100 that ended the production run.

Naturally, the death of the big block brings with it other casualties as well, such as the 150 laid off hourly workers that are hoping GM sees fit to bless them with a new powerplant to build along with the RV and marine industries. Thanks for the tip, Corey H!

[Source: The Buffalo News]


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  • 73 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      twin turbo v6's ftw
      • 5 Years Ago
      I cant believe some of the comments here . The only people who could possibly be happy at the death of the BBC ....are ones who haven't owned or experienced one.
      • 5 Years Ago
      And with that...a tiny bit of every car guy just died.

      What a sad, sad day.

      GM is the one manufacturer that shows V8s do NOT have to be gas guzzlers. GM makes V8s that get the same mileage as V6s.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I will surely miss this 8.1L. I had a job as a parts dealer for a local Chevy dealer when this engine came out. We had an old '92 Chevy pickup that was on its last legs as a parts truck and it had never been treated real well. I was surprised one day when I showed up and they gave me the keys to a brand-new 2500HD with the new Alison transmission and the 8100 Vortec.

        Man, if only they'd known what fun times I had with that truck while out on deliveries. It was a beast for sure.

        Granted, I wil say that it was also a beast at the fuel pump. Then agin, I wasn't paying the bill so I tended to floor it nearly everywhere. It averaged right around 10mpg pretty much all the time, city, hwy, loaded, unloaded, didn't matter.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nothing makes up for cubic inches. High-tech is well and good, but give me a modern V-8 over anything else any day of the week. The current engines are not the same as those of 50 years ago. Think evolution.
      • 5 Years Ago
      5.9 liter 6 turbocharged auto
      325 hp
      610 ft lbs torque
      weight 7070 dry
      actual 22 mpg @ 70 mpg
      actual 18 - 20 city

      • 5 Years Ago
      I am sure crate engine makers will keep producing the GM big block for years to come.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Fizz&pop, you said it. These "fat, gray, greasy old man" comments don't come from engine owners, or employed people. You can call anyone anything on the net.

      A certain party had better be careful, or Mom, Dad and his uncle will read this and refuse to co-sign his loans. Then he'll never own a car, or finish community kollidge.

      I was around when side-valve sixes were discontinued. Nobody crowed with glee or called their fans names. A lot of them are still running. They're really smooth. Good mileage, too.

      There's ony One Big Reason the big blocks have been discontinued: look at who/what now controls GM. Let the little snot-noses dance; their party will be over soon enough.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good riddance to bad rubbish. Detroit has used their dinosaur, push-rod boat anchors for too long.
        • 5 Years Ago
        moreso, thanks for new CAFE regulations.

        Suddenly everyone's got small displacement turbo and direct injections motors getting amazing gas mileage. Funny how that works.
      • 5 Years Ago
      long live the V8.

      V6 = wannabe powerhouse, I4 = pitiful member of the family that wont amount to anything. Nothing beats a classic V8.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Going by your logic, would a V8 long to be a V12?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Apparently you haven't heard of turbocharged v6's.

        BMW's 3.0 i6 makes 300hp/300tq stock, all it takes is a chip to bring that up to ~400hp/400tq, People are getting mid 12 second quarter mile times with just a chip.

        Ford's 3.5 v6 makes 350hp/350tq stock, tuned numbers have yet to be seen, but these power numbers best the 4.6l v8.

        Porsche's turbo 3.6 is putting out 530hp/500tq.

        Those are just three examples, there are many more.
        A non-turbo, large direct injected V6 can put out 300ft-lbs easy, and at fairly low RPM.

        v8's are for towing. Those two extra cylinders are a waste of gasoline.
        And don't tell me a v6 can't sound good, that's simply not true at all.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Huh?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Neptronix, your point is? V8's have made similar gains as well. The Corvette LS3 makes 430hp at 5900 RPM. LS7 puts out 505hp @ 6200. The supercharged LS9 makes 638 @ 6500 rpm. Note that these engines don't need the revs that the 6's typically use to make their power and, of course, can be improved with tuning of all sorts.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sad. I hope they will still be available as crate motors.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So who is going to produce them now? Big blocks are still used in tons of non-motor vehicle applications. They won't stop using them.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think the phasing out of the Mark VI is the end of big blocks for new production vehicles, rather than over the counter parts sales. If its anything like the newly produced Gen 0/1 small blocks GM makes, they'll still be produced in Mexico for aftermarket applications.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm sure Dart and World will still cast plenty....
        • 5 Years Ago
        I can't imagine they'd quit making shortblocks. This is probably just the last FINISHED engine they'll make.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "So who is going to produce them now? Big blocks are still used in tons of non-motor vehicle applications. They won't stop using them."

        er, you can still buy Gen I small blocks from GM Performance. AFAIK they're built by a GM subsidiary in Mexico. I think Mercury Marine was building them for a while also.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good.
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