Happy 3/15! Today We Look At The Oft Forgotten 315ci Chrysler Poly V8 Engine


Happy 3/15! Today We Look At The Oft Forgotten 315ci Chrysler Poly V8 Engine

We’re pretty sure you were all waiting for 3/18 to come around and that we’d be talking Mopar small blocks at that point. Well, wake up! Rather than wait until the date you all knew was commingle figured that we’d throw a curveball at you and tell you about the short lived 315ci Chrysler Poly V8 engine which was available in trucks from the 1957 and 1958 model years. The Poly engines are interesting in the fact that they share a lot of their engineering and construction with the hemi engines of the day but none of the glory. The Poly engines are not often hot rodded or made into hairy engines because they are pretty expensive to get speed parts for and even after some strong spend and effort you are not going to have a real fire breather on your hands with respect to performance.

We’re not knocking these things, just stating some facts. The Poly engines themselves were hurriedly designed from the Hemi as a lower cost option because of the popularity of the V8 engine that Chrysler was producing. They knew that if the expensive Hemi was selling well, a cheaper version of the same engine would blow the doors off of sales. By eliminating one rocker shaft, altering the combustion chamber design, and designing a lighter head that used less material, Dodge engineers came up with something that would work to make some power but also put more money to the bottom line.

There were a bunch of different size Poly engines. This 315 was referred to the Super Power Giant V8 in 1957 and 1958. It made more than 200hp, used a 2bbl carb, and by all accounts was a fine truck engine and did everything that the offerings from Ford and Chevy were doing as well. The 315 was replaced with the typical 1950s Detroit “bigger and better” in 1959 but many of the engines troop on today, powering vintage trucks and keeping those less educated gearheads guessing at car shows. The sawtooth style valve covers get many people, especially the younger guys guessing, don’t they?

Check out a couple of videos featuring the 315 Chrysler Poly V8 below –


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6 thoughts on “Happy 3/15! Today We Look At The Oft Forgotten 315ci Chrysler Poly V8 Engine

  1. Cletus T Rickenbacher 3rd

    Music in that video needs to be louder, I could still hear the narrator.

    1. Hoffman

      Man, no kidding! Pick one:

      A) great Joe Satriani instrumental that is totally out of sync with the pickup.

      B) annoying geek droning on with infomercial crapola delivered with all the panache of a free sample pusher at Cosco…….

      C) Hit the mute button.

  2. 69rrboy

    Yep 204HP and a 1BBL. I had one in my old 57 Dodge Pickup with a 4spd and steep gears. Just ease the clutch out and idle around at 20MPH in granny gear all day. Hardly even needed brakes because it would all but come to a complete stop just letting off the gas.

    Came from the factory with solid lifters so it clattered around like a race motor. A really neat piece. I miss it.

  3. KCR

    I have had a few vehicles with Polys.You can stump some hard core Mopars fans by asking them what type of engine is in the Dodge D-200. And the story is correct.The aftermarket never liked these engines.The early Polys were Hemi short blocks with different heads. The “L’ poly was a beast all it own .A few parts from the “LA” family fit. But no performance pieces to speak of. Just a good high torque stable engine .I like them myself. And as a Mopar fan they will bring down the price of a Mopar car or truck.

  4. 69rrboy

    Pretty interesting to see that “I” supposedly posted something to this thread at 6:34AM yesterday when I didn’t actually get on a computer all day until just now almost 20 hours later.

    Even more interesting is that it IS what I wrote but it was what I posted LAST YEAR at this time when you had a small write up about the 315 motors for the same reason.

    So what’s that about? A computer glitch? Just wondered..

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