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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

5 famous V-8s whose displacements stretched the truth | Hagerty Media

We know that the 1960s were full of horsepower hijinks, but did you know that manufacturers sometimes fibbed about the size of their engines? Indeed, that burbling V-8 in your beloved classic may actually not measure up to its promised displacement. We rooted out five of the worst offenders.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/lists/5-famous-v-8s-whose-displacements-stretched-the-truth/
124 REPLIES 124
sg
New Driver

what about the 396 / 402 chevy deal , after the smallbock 400 was introduced ?
chrlsful
Instructor

yeah - all the ci, cc, and L engines are the same - world-wide. Never exact, a way to communicate w/one another that is much more workable. Besides...how many other numbers can one maintain up there in the body's small topcase fora field (auto mechanics) already so FULL of Numbers...
8^0
DUB6
Gearhead

All I want is for someone to tell me that I don't have to quit singing, "She's real fine, my 409" next time it comes on the radio, because maybe it's technically not correct - no wonder I always hated math!  😄

E30-325
New Driver

The 63 tempest had a 336 V8 with probably more horsepower than the new 63 corvette with the standard 327. Someone at GM didnt want any car they produced to be on paper a better performer than the flagship Corvette. Maybe another reason they called it 326. I would have like to have seen both cars at a light and see what happened
mpzz
Detailer

The much lighter, much more balanced Corvette would've won, no problem.
RAD2ggs
New Driver

Thought for sure the Chevy BB 396-400-402 would be the highlight of this story, but as complicated as this BB is it, and not to be confused with the SB 400, may as well have a article to it's self. I'm sure they're others like the FE 427 I'd be glad to learn of.
Diego
Detailer

Lots of people know about the 402. Not a lot know about these.
Kickitrick
New Driver

I had the 326 in a 66 Lemans, great running engine. I think it felt like it had more power than my 76 k20 350 I had!
Corkola
Intermediate Driver

Compare these to motorcycles, bikes are bigger liars by far. And it doesn't make any difference, if you ask me.
chipporter
New Driver

Not long ago I ran into a guy who had worked on the Pontiac 326 engine team. He told me that the edict cam down from on high in GM that "Chevrolet was the king of GM" and they couldn't overshadow the 327 Chevy. He said they came to the decision to market the engine as 326 instead of having to "reinvent the wheel".
DUB6
Gearhead

It's hard to admit, but I remember thinking (back then in the '60s), that a 327 was a big engine, but that 326 (the number, not the motor) sounded so much smaller.  Amazing what Marketing and peer-influence can put in your head.  I was probably running a 265 or possibly a 283 at the time.

chipporter
New Driver

I agree, DUB6 - the 326 Tempest was a far distant 2nd fiddle to the 389 Goat (had to have tri-power and a 4-speed, of course). Also, the small journal Chevys got a bum rap when (mid-'68?) 4 bolt main large journals came in. Since mains went from 2.30 to 2.45", and rods went from 2.0 to 2.1", the small engines (302 & 327's) that were making their living on RPM all of a sudden had higher bearing speeds (which hurt their rev potential). And, for the most part, the 4-bolt mains weren't needed...(good idea by Milodon to release the splayed-cap 4-bolt caps for small journals, though).

ReinholdWeege
Intermediate Driver

Just call this article "three Ford marketing schemes disrupted by the Chrysler Hemi" and "two examples of stupid bureaucracy at GM".

And no, this is not a complaint. I enjoyed the piece.
espo70
Intermediate Driver

I guess everyone beat me to it, but I'm very surprised the later Mustang II's and Foxbody 5.0 Mustangs was not included in this list. Its likely the most prominently mentioned victim of this scenario in the last 30 years.
Ghybrid
New Driver

The LS7 is known as Chevy’s modern 427 when it is actually a 428 or 427.8 cu/in. A displacement normally associated with Ford and Pontiac.
WayneG
Pit Crew

1 or 2 cubic inches is falsifying the advertised displacement? I hardly think this qualifies as a lie. Also, you didn't even take into account the displacement of the cumbustion area of the head, so these figures are quite accurate.
TrustyRusty
Intermediate Driver

You mentioned the "370" Pontiac block used in the GMC. My recollection is that the larger GMCs used the 1957-1958 Oldsmobile 371 engine, relabeled a "370" for the truck. I don't know of a 370 Pontiac. They had a 287, 317, 347, a 389 and the 421 in the earlier years as I recall. No 370.engine.
Diego
Detailer

1958 Pontiac 370 V-8
dachastain
New Driver

I mean...I love Hagerty but this is obviously written by someone that doesn't really understand what displacement is except with a online calculator....Displacement is actually measured by bore x stroke + the combustion chambers on the cylinder heads + the chambers on top of the pistons. Almost all of the named engines here on this list have at least 58cc heads...so 58ccX8cylinders= 464cc or 28.315ci. So all these engines are actually bigger than advertised. If they have cupped or cutaway pistons this number is even greater and less with a dome top piston. The only way the authors number are true is if the head was completely flat and the pistons were flat top which they almost never are. Online calculators are for reference not real math. Semantics don't really matter in the real world anyways...but if you're gonna try and use them at least know them. Advertised displacement is like advertised horsepower...just an advertisement
Chronamyd44
New Driver

You forgot the iconic 409. If it wasn’t for the 409 the Ford 427 wouldn’t be here
Diego
Detailer

The 406 was the response to the 409. The 427 was merely an improvement of the 406.

And 409 pretty much was an accurate measurement.
DUB6
Gearhead

So I can sing along with the Beach Boys, confident that I'm not spreading disinformation?  That makes my day - thanks!  🎼🎶

BobRed
New Driver

Chrysler 340, 339 ci
DWjr
Pit Crew

Nicely done, Diego!
Wannarun
New Driver

My 1970 Camaro SS RS has 396 badges from the factory but the factory bored the engine .30 over and it is actually a 402.