If you’re an AMC owner and get tired of questions like “Why did they install a Chevy engine in an AMC?”, this story is for you. Ditto Studebaker folks who must deal with people asking about the Ford 289 in their Lark.
It wasn’t only Independents who used engines that shared displacements with a mill from another manufacturer, of course. General Motors had several 350- and 455-cubic-inch blocks over the years, though they didn’t always measure exactly as advertised, as we recently laid out in this article. Here are sixengines that shared similar dimensions yet hailed from different manufacturers. We even tossed in a special Mopar example that has long confused enthusiasts.
Chevrolet’s 327, which powered the most pedestrian and the most sporting of Bow Ties, is legendary. However, the Chevy was preceded by Rambler’s 327, which debuted in 1957 in the celebrated Rebel. In the Rebel, the 327 put out 255 hp with mechanical lifters, a Carter four-barrel carburetor, and 9.5:1 compression. (A Bendix-developed electronic fuel-injected unit upped the rating to 288 horses but never reached production.)
The Rambler 327 also was available in swan-song Nash and Hudson models but, though it still made 255 hp, featured hydraulic lifters and slightly lower (a half-point less) compression. Alas, the limited-edition Rebel lasted but one year, though the 327 would continue to play the role of AMC’s big gun, powering American Motors’ senior Ambassador models through 1966; for 1965–66, the 327 was also available in mid-size Classic and Marlin models. Kaiser-Jeep also adopted it for several years. Peak horsepower during this era was 270 thanks to a Holley four-barrel and 9.7:1 compression.
In contrast to its Rambler counterpart, Chevrolet’s 327 was a solid middle-of-the-road offering for most of the decade. Debuting for the 1962 model year in full-size and Corvette models, the 327 evolved from the 283 and, in Chevy’s engine hierarchy, sat just below the big-blocks. It came in 250- and 300-horse variants, both of which used four-barrel carbs. In its final appearance in 1969, the 327 was only available in 235-horse, two-barrel guise.
The 327 truly shone in the Corvette. In addition to the 250- and 300-horse pair, Chevrolet also offered 340- or 360-hp versions, the latter sporting fuel injection. Horsepower peaked in 1965 with the 375-horse Fuelie, but the 1965–68 L79 with 350 horses was a popular compromise between horsepower and drivability.
The L79 was also available in the 1965–68 Chevelle (strangely skipping the ’66 model year) and the 1966–68 Chevy II, though the lesser, four-barrel versions were available too