Truly the “heartbeat of America” from Indy, Sebring, Daytona, Le Mans, Pro Stock, Can-Am, Trans-Am, club racers, Sprint Cars, Baja & Desert racers, IROC, F5000, Swamp Buggies, Dune Buggies, Hot-Rods, Kit Cars and even to off-shore powerboats, Chevy’s small blocks, big-blocks and pure racing engines set records, crushed competitors and dominated practically every type of motorsport for well over half a century. Chevy’s small block V-8 of 1955 was the elegantly simple engineering masterpiece that inspired hot rodders and race car builders alike. Chevy small block power even sat on the front row of the Indy 500 (1981), outran the fabled Offys on dirt tracks, ruled NASCAR’s high banks, short tracks and road courses, won the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring and owned the Can-Am (at one point winning 33 races in a row).
Chevy Thunder is the soundtrack of NHRA Pro Stock competition winning the championship 24 times, more than any other manufacturer. Its impact on American culture even extends to popular music; in 1962 the Beach Boys composed a song commemorating the power of Chevy’s big block Turbo-Thrust V-8 entitled, appropriately, “409.” Specifically songwriter Gary Usher’s “ . . . 4-speed, dual-quad, positraction four-oh-nine!” Since its first V-8 in 1917, Chevy V-8 power has touched practically every facet of American life towing trailers, delivering groceries or taking the likes of McLaren, Scarab, Lola, Chaparral, Eagle, Corvette and Camaro to scores of racing victories and championships; some Chevy V-8s even replaced those legendary Italian V-12s in American sports car racing.