Chevrolet’s truck centennial continues and the brand took a look back at one of the most important facets of pickups: torque output. Obviously, torque is essential for power and towing, and Chevy has often been at the forefront.
It started in 1929 with the “Stovebolt” overhead-valve inline-six engine. The 3.2-liter engine produced 120 pound-feet of torque at 800 RPM and allowed Chevrolet to increase load ratings from 1 ton, to 1.5 tons. The design, which earned its nickname due to its external fasteners, would go on to serve Chevy trucks through the late 1980s.
In 1955, the legendary small-block V8 engine appeared. For Chevy trucks, the engine displaced a whopping 4.3 liters and produced 238 pound-feet of torque at 2,000 RPM. Following the small-block V8, Chevrolet introduced the big-block V8 for even greater performance. Although the big-block died long ago, the small-block V8 lives on and is currently in its fifth generation in the 2018 Silverado.
After years of low performance ratings due to emission and fuel economy standards, torque returned to the forefront in 1987. Chevrolet introduced electronic fuel injection to push torque ratings in its pickup to 300 lb-ft. In 2001, another legendary engine was born: the Duramax. Chevy’s Duramax diesel V8 engine debuted with 520 lb-ft of torque, and the second-generation engine now makes a stout 910 lb-ft.
Despite renewed interest in emissions at present, the small-block and Duramax V8 are far from dead. We’ll likely see advanced technology help improve fuel economy and curb emission outputs even more in the years to come. The next-generation 2019 Chevrolet Silverado will likely bow next year.