We could not let the day end without noting that Friday, December 18, 2009, saw the production of the very last production big-block Chevy engine that will ever be made by General Motors. Actually, the legendary Town of Tonawanda Engine Plant may never see V8 production again. The end of the big-block meant 150 more layoffs, so that now a total of almost 300 people in Tonawanda, New York, are out of work.
The last big-block is the L-18, an 8.1-litre weirdo version of the famous Rat motor that was still being produced for boats. The news we’ve read claims that big-block production started in Tonawanda in 1958, but that’s if you count 348s and 409s. The big-block we know too well started with the 396 in 1965 production cars.
It’s a good thing we still have GM Performance Parts, Dart, and World making big-blocks, because they will continue to be the dominant engine in sportsman drag racing for a long time to come. It’s a sad day, anyway.