Oh yes, believe it or not, the 283 put the Corvette at the cutting edge of performance in 1957, fitted with the RamJet FI (fuel injection) system (“fuelie” was the gearhead term for that). In 1958 the 283 was the base engine for the Corvette, but the 283 that use to put on 283 hp was tuned to create an even 290 hp. If that wasn’t enough for you (of course it wasn’t enough, two words that should never be heard together ‘enough’ and ‘horsepower’…unless…the word ‘not’ precedes them). The RamJet FI was an available option RPO 579D.
Additional configurations were dual four barrel carbs that produced 270 hp, they were either Rochester or Carter AFB. The cam was changed in 1958 to give 0.398 inches of lift, improvements made to get more oil to the lifters and the exhaust manifold was reworked, called the Ram Horn’s manifold. There was a change in how the 283 was mounted. Chevy used the 3 point system with a mount on each side and one at the rear of the engine at the transmission.
In 1961 the FI jumped the engines’ horsepower to 315. (Hey, the base corvette in 2007 was 400 hp.) The FI wasn’t the only improvement for the 283 in 1961. It was treated with a set of solid lifter, improved heads and hydraulic cam which helped the block rich 315 hp, easily. This would be as far as the 283 would go in horsepower – in production. 1961 was also the last time the dual four barrel carbs were available as an optional configuration.
By 1962 the 283 was replaces by an entirely new engine the 327 (that’s another mini series) as the premier Chevy small block. The 283 was dropped from the a power plant for the Corvette to a base engine for Chevy’s passenger and used from 1963 to 1964. Its horsepower dropped to 170 and 195 for two configurations. A small bright was a four barrel configuration for 1965-67 that produced 220 hp. (That was the configuration of my 1966 Impala convertible.)
Of note is the use of the 283 in Chevy’s light trucks with a two barrel configuration for most of the models in 1958 to 1962. It produced only 160 horsepower. For the 1963 to 1967 light truck models the hp was increased to 175.
1967 was the last year for the historic 283.
Coming up next a recap of the uses of the 283.
Thanks for reading.