Here's Why The Chevy 350 Is One Of The Most Popular Engines Ever Made

A car's engine can be more important than the car itself, sometimes. Beloved engines like the Ford 300 were used for decades in multiple models of vans and trucks before finally retiring for good in the 1990s. Chrysler used the Slant-6 powerplant for over 20 years before discontinuing the six-cylinder wonder in favor of more efficient four-cylinder options in the 1980s. Chrysler (now Stellantis) is still using a variant of the HEMI engine over six decades after introducing it in the 1950s.

Once in a blue moon, an engine will come along that spawns an entire industry to support it. The Chevy 350 V8, a motor that only rivals the HEMI in fame, is one of them. GM's ubiquitous engine has stood the test of time better than nearly every other automotive part to date. The Chevy Small Block, specifically with a displacement of 350 cubic inches (5.7-liters), may hold the title for being one of the most popular engines to ever sit in a car, boat, truck, or virtually any other form of transportation.

Easy V8 power

According to Hagerty, General Motors first started making the Chevy 350 in 1955 and essentially never stopped. In fact, you can still buy a new 350 from Chevy despite it being nearly 70 years since the engine first debuted, but for competition only, according to the Chevy. A comprehensive list of every vehicle that housed a 350 would fill several volumes. 

Part of the 350's popularity lies in the availability of parts. In its stock form, the engine was available in a wide range of Chevy vehicles for several decades, lasting from the 1955 until 2004 (per Cars Direct). Parts are still easy to find online from dozens of retailers and used parts only require a quick search on eBay or a trip to the junkyard. In some form or another, the engine was an available option in everything from a Camaro to a family hauler Tahoe. It helps that the engine is reliable, relatively mechanically simple, and easy to maintain (via Hagerty).

The ubiquitous nature of the parts makes the engine a no-brainer for hot-rodders looking for cheap V8 power in whatever car they can jam the engine into.