The Chevrolet 396-cid, big-block’s destiny was decided long ago. After punching the block out 0.030-inch and increasing its displacement to 402-cid back in 1970, a couple years later, GM stopped offering the little big-block in cars and trucks altogether.
It probably didn’t help that GM kept calling this engine a 396 big-block, further adding confusion to the already vague big-block market. Following its official retirement, the 396 will forever go down in history as second fiddle to the big, bad 454. Now with newer and bigger displacement Rats like GM’s new 8.1-liter (496 cid) truck engine being introduced, the little old 396 gets pushed further and further into big-block obscurity.
Without going into tremendous details of production figures and years of availability, it’s safe to say that there were more 396-cid big-blocks installed in cars than there were 427s or 454s combined. Yet, to date the 396 is still often cast aside by the performance crowd whom usually have hailed the credo, “If you’re going to build a big-block, build it as big as you can.” While that’s certainly a good motto to live by, it’s also an expensive mantra to uphold… read more >