When it comes to engines, some of them just get a bad rap for no real reason. The 318ci Chrysler LS series small block seems to be one of them. In fact, Uncle Tony thinks that it may be the most underrated small block in history! He does not mean underrated by the company for horsepower but underrated in terms of what it was capable of, what it can be made into, and even how the thing was constructed back in the day. The base V8 engine for Chrysler had low compression, small cams, a 2-bbl carb only for more than a decade, and single exhaust only on virtually every model it ever came in, outside of a scant few.
Here’s the rub. The engine is basically a smaller bore 340. A smaller bore 340 that was given junkier heads, lower compression, and weenier camshafts. For years the 318 shared the same forged crank as the 340 and even the same beefier connecting rods. The bones are all there. This video is cool because Tony knows this stuff like the back of his hand and he mounts a pretty awesome defense of this engine and how they can be gotten cheap and built to make real power for not a whole lot of money.
Steve Dulcich has been a champion of the 318 for many years as well. We remember reading his stories on building budget versions of the engine that made well north of 300hp with no help from power adders. If you love the history of engines, especially those that are underdogs, you’ll love this.