To some, the Chevrolet 454 big block was the right engine at the wrong time.
Building on the popularity of its 427-cubic-inch engine, General Motors introduced the 454 in 1970—one year before emissions standards were tightened and just three years before the gas crisis hit with full force. It was not the ideal time to introduce a large cubic-inch big block tailored for performance vehicles, but the Chevy 454 made quite an impression nonetheless.
The Chevy 454 was originally offered in three variations: the LS5, LS6, and LS7 (which was never offered as a factory option to the general public). It was intended for only Chevrolet’s high-performance vehicles, including the Chevelle and Corvette, and there were rumors the engines’ horsepower output was actually under-reported by Chevrolet during the muscle car wars.
The 1970 versions of the Chevrolet 454 were the most powerful, with the LS5 putting out around 360 horsepower and the LS6 delivering about 450 horses. The LS6 was phased out after 1971, and the LS5’s power had dwindled to about 245 horsepower by 1973 thanks to stricter emissions control.
The Chevrolet 454 was eliminated from most passenger cars by 1975 but remained a viable powerplant in heavy-duty Chevrolet trucks through 1996.
The Chevrolet 454 originally came stock in these passenger vehicles:
- 1970–1976 Chevrolet Caprice
- 1970–1975 Chevrolet Chevelle
- 1970–1975 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
- 1970–1975 Chevrolet El Camino
- 1971–1972 GMC Sprint
- 1970–1974 Chevrolet Corvette
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The Chevrolet 454 remains a favorite among performance enthusiasts because of the its power output.
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