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A Brief History of Chevy Trucks and Torque

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Chevrolet is in the midst of a 100-day celebration of all things Chevy Truck, and there is nothing that quite says truck like torque. Trucks and torque go together like torque and trucks go together, and it’s been that way from the beginning, when the original 1918 One-Ton offered an impressive (at the time) 46 lb-ft of torque.

Chevrolet likens that One-Ton to today’s 2.5-liter Colorado, which only ups torque output by a mere 480%, or 138 lb-ft per liter, at 191 lb-ft of torque. Then there are burlier options like the Chevy Silverado 3500HD, offered with an available Duramax 6.6-liter turbo-diesel V8 that delivers torque of 910 lb-ft. Trucks and torque. Torque and trucks. Got it?

Perhaps you need a bit more. In that case, let’s take a walk through four milestone moments in Chevrolet Truck torque.


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The Stovebolt Six

Introduced in 1929, Chevrolet’s 194-cubic-inch (3.2L) overhead-valve inline six-cylinder engine was nicknamed the Stovebolt Six, which became synonymous with its durability.

Introduced in 1929, Chevrolet’s 194-cubic-inch (3.2-liter) overhead-valve inline six-cylinder engine was nicknamed the Stovebolt Six

Chevy’s first overhead-valve inline six-cylinder engine was introduced in 1929 and changed the game by delivering 120 lb-ft of torque at just 800 rpm. Why was it called a Stovebolt? According to Chevrolet, “the Stovebolt nickname was based on external fasteners that resembled the bolts on wood-burning stoves, but it quickly became synonymous with the engine’s durability.” And now you know.

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The Birth of the Small Block V8

1955 Chevrolet 265-cubic-inch (4.3L) V-8 engine with two-barrel carburetor, rated at 162 horsepower and 257 lb-ft of torque.

1955 Chevrolet 265-cubic-inch (4.3-liter) V8 engine with two-barrel carburetor, rated at 162 horsepower and 257 lb-ft of torque

Chevrolet has become synonymous with the Small Block V8, and the first—a 265-cubic-inch (4.3-liter) V8—bowed in 1955 as part of the “second series” truck lineup. The result: 238 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm and the framework for five generations of Small Block and Big Block power.

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The Small Block Gets Bigger Torque

Fuel-injected 350-cubic-inch (5.7L) Small Block V-8 engine, rated at 210 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque.

Fuel-injected 350-cubic-inch (5.7-liter) Small Block V8 engine, rated at 210 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque

Perhaps the only thing bigger in 1987 than your dad’s hair in that photo he keeps in a shoebox at the bottom of his closet was the torque output from Chevy’s Small Block engines. New technology, including electronic fuel injection, grew torque to 300 lb-ft in 1987 after it had been hampered by regulations; the 5.7-liter Vortec Small Block, arriving just a few years later when people began trading glitter for grunge, upped that by another 10%.

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Duramax-imum Torque

Duramax 6.6L turbo-diesel V-8 engine, introduced in 2001, featured four valves per cylinder and direct injection. It was rated at 300 horsepower and 520 lb-ft of torque.

Duramax 6.6L turbo-diesel V8

The turn of the 21st century marked the debut of the Duramax 6.6-liter turbo-diesel, which delivered 520 lb-ft of torque and, over the course of 16 years, has grown to deliver a 75% increase in torque with today’s 910 lb-ft output. At the rate things are going, just wait until 2033, when the 2034 Chevrolet Silverado will deliver something like 1593 lb-ft of torque.

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