Engine Mini Series – Chevy’s 283 Prt1

So far my writings are about engines have been ones I owned and the 283 was the engine in my very first car.  It was a 1966 Chevy Impala.  It was a gift to me for my 1976 high school graduation.  The car was restored by my father, who was a master auto body man.  The car was a convertible with A/C and glass rear window. It sported an automatic Powerglide transmission.

The 283  was a simple engine and of course the engine bay of the ’66 Impala  could hold a family of four, with lots of room  to work in there.  Oh…those were the days…a piece of cardboard on the ground and 3 bolts later you’d have the starter out.  I wish I could find a picture, I know there were some taken, polaroids back then, but they’ve disappeared over the years, much like the car.

So what’s the history of the 283 and what was it used in.  Well those answers are coming up as well as two special uses of the 283, one in the past and one modified restro-mod use…(yeah…someone mod’ed a 283..very cool, but that is later).

As with most engines the 283 wasn’t drawn up on the design boards and produced.  It was a result of Chevrolet’s desire to increase performance of a power plant they already had on the shelf.  The 265 cubic inch small block underwent transformation that resulted in a new engine in 1957.

The modifications made to the 265 to create the 283 were increased bore from 3.75” to 3.875″, the main bearing was given 2.30” journals and 2.00” connecting rods.  The base configuration (with a two barrel carb) for the 265 produced 165 hp, the 283 made 185.  Twenty more horsepower doesn’t seem much but toss on a 4 barrel and the 283 takes off at 220 hp which tops the 265 similarly configuration producing 185-195 hp.

Chevy's 283

1957 was a good year for Chevy.  Bill “Grumpy Jenkings took a 283 fitted with a dual carb set up and achieved 270 hp. It was also the first year for Chevy’s Rochester Ram Jet and what better engine to use than the new 283.  This combination took the 283 in to the history books by producing horsepower that equaled the displacement – 283 c.i.d. and 283 hp.

And that is what led to the installation of the 283 in Chevy sports car platform, the Corvette.

More on that coming up in Part 2.

Thanks for reading.


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8 Responses to Engine Mini Series – Chevy’s 283 Prt1

  1. Pingback: Chevy 283 Motor | ChevroletPhotosBlog.com

  2. timsweet says:

    From online name: bucwheat
    Digital Corvettes

    The 283 was a well designed engine I had a 67 Caprice,not only could you put 4 motors in the engine bay ,you could all most place a King size bed in the trunk. The 350 and 327 were in the same family. Great motors.

  3. John says:

    Seeing this, I’m wondering if someone can answer these two questions involving my experiences with a 283.

    1) My parents had ’59 & ’66 Impala Sport Sedans, 283, PG. Both cars, when they got to about 25,000 miles, started to cut out when cruising 40-70 mph. Didn’t matter if it was hot or cold, rain, snow or clear. We’d be riding along and all of a sudden they’d start jerking or bucking and gradually slow down. We’d coast to the side of the road at idle. The engine never quit, so when it was shut off and restarted, it would drive off normally. I took the ’66 on a trip and drove over 1000 miles with no trouble, then 50 miles from home, it acted up. Then sometimes, it would do this every time we went out but neither one ever did it when driving around town.

    2) My first old car was a ’64 Impala sedan, also 283, PG. It had 57K on it when I bought it in 1984. When I first bought it, it had old Sears 4 ply nylon tires on it that thumped terribly. The next summer, I put new tires on it and almost immediately noticed a vibration. I took it to get checked out and they found the center carrier bearing had failed. I had a new one put in, but the vibration was still there. I drove it for awhile, but took it back to the garage where they found the new carrier bearing had failed. Had another one put in – still had a vibration. Anyway, I kept using it, took it to some places other people recommended and no one could figure it out. At one point, a friend of mine and I disconnected the driveshaft, started the car, put it in gear and accelerated. I could feel the vibration, so to me something was wrong with the engine or transmission. Anyway, I eventually gave up on the car and traded it for a ’79 Catalina and $1000 cash. One of the mechanics that I took it to told me that some 283s had an inherent imbalance in them – but with the millions produced, I find that hard to believe.

    Anyone have any thoughts?
    Senior Member AACA Forums

  4. tim says:

    well i hope this history in the chevy mouse motor will give credit and thanks to the pontiac engineers who design the lifters, pushrods, stud mounted ball & rocker system for pontiac’s new 287 strato-streak V8, that pontiac had ready for 1953. ed cole had help design the 1949 cadillac new overhead valve engine, and he didn’t want the chevy mouse motor to copy cadillac’s rocker shaft valve system. so ed cole got gm’s board of directors approval to borrow pontiac’s inovation for the 265 mouse motor. now later on, when the history gets around to the reverse flow cooling, and the engine in front- transmission in rear that chevy has used lately, please give pontiac credit for the reverse flow cooling 1955 to 1959, and the engine front/transmission rear 1961 to 1963 pontiac tempest/le mans. charles coker, 1953 pontiac tech advisor. poci.
    Senior Member AACA Forums

  5. timsweet says:

    That good old Chevy 265-283 Cu-In V8 engine later morphed & evolved into 307, 327, 305, 350,and finally 400. not to mention the later bored-out & stroked 383. Also an aluminum version was built. And a V6 that was made by chopping-off two of it’s cylinders !

    There is little doubt that this small Chevy “Mouse Motor” was the most successful and prolific V8 Detroit ever built with well over 65 million units built over almost six decades !

    As usual~~~ I am getting way ahead of YOUR story & history lesson !

    I cannot wait for Part II !
    Brad Hunter AACA Forums

  6. PDawg says:

    From now on I want to be known as PDawg “Grumpy” Myers.

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