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Engine Mini Series - Chevy's 283 Part 3


Apr 14, 2010
Tucson, AZ
1984 C4 Coup
Engine Mini Series – Chevy’s 283 Part 3 « Average Guy's Car Restoration, Mods and Racing
This is the part of the engine series where I list the uses for the power plant. The 283, as I mentioned, carried Chevy engines to the next level, by being the first engine that car manufacturers were able to coax out the same horsepower as the displacement. From 1957 (its inception) to 1959 the 283 was the base model V8 for nearly all Chevys, coming in a 2 and 4 barrel versions with the 4 barrel being the main power plant for the Corvette. In 1958 the 4 barrel version was dubbed the Super Turbo Fire with 220-230 hp with 9.5:1 heads. (Toss that name in with other versions like the 348 Turbo Thrust and the Super Turbo Thrust which sported 3 two barrel carbs.) The other premier engine during that period was of course the FI used in the Corvette with 9.5:1 and 10.0:1 compression.
The 283 Super Turbo Fire

1960-1961 saw the base 283 drop to a 2 barrel and muster just 185 hp. The bright spots were engines used only in the Corvette, the dual quad and the FI engines. 1961 also saw the 283 go MARINE – nope not joining that elite military branch but rather Chris-Craft the boat builder, sealed it tight and give a duty on their Cavalier Cruiser vessel.
Marine 283 for Chris Craft Cavalier Cruiser

Not much changed in 1962-1963, at least nothing very exciting. Chevy dropped the dual quad as an option (although I bet you could still get it done) and the 283 dropped in hp to 170 and as was no longer an option for the Corvette, but was added to the Impala.
As perhaps a last chance to breathe some life into 283 Chevy gave it a bump in hp to 195 and it found a new home in the new Chevy II in 1964 and 1965 a 4V was added give the iron 220 hp and another new home the ’65 Chevelle.
But that couldn’t save the 283, it was time for Chevy to move on and 1966 was its final year. It served as the base V8 that year as an option for the Chevy II and Chevelle and the other Chevy sedan’s, like my 1966 Impala.
Although it seems like I give this a quick pass (not a long list of models) the 283 served nearly all models of Chevy from 1957 to 1966, listing them all would be, well ..repetitive . Interesting enough it never crossed over to the other GM brands. But it did make it into the Canada made Studebaker cars in 1965 and 1966.
During the it’s life span the 283 was offered with every transmission available for that year. From the torque glide to the power glide automatic transmissions and even a few 3 and 4 speed manuals. Additionally, I was surprised to find that it was offered with air suspension with some automatic.
Did the 283 really die? Nope it received the cam from the 327 and became Chevy’s 307!!
- The 327 followed the 283 and although it was an entirely hunk of iron, to keep cost down Chevy used some 283 components initially.
- GM’s RPO 579E option on the 283. 579E was called the Air Box. It was perhaps the first production cold air induction system(at least for Chevy). It consisted of a plenum box mounted on the fender well of the driver’s side. The box was fitted to an opening in the bulkhead next to the radiator with an air filter inside. The duck work ran to the fuelies injection unit. Records indicate that there were only 43 produced in 1957.
1957 Corvette AirBox

- Corvette Fuelies had a reputation for hard starts and finicky operation and many were replaced with the standard carburetor (1957)…Flash Forward the 1984 Corvette Crossfire (fuel injected) (Of which I was a previous owner) suffered from finicky operating and some were replaced with carburetor set ups.
I hope you enjoyed this little bit of engine history and as always, thanks for reading.
Interesting read. Thanks Tim. :w
I have the 283 with 245 HP (2 - 4 barrels) in my 1959 Corvette automatic. You could not get automatic with the 270 HP (solid lifter).

The correct should be - the 283 received the "crank" from the 327 (not the cam) and became the 307.



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