292 Chevy Six Performanceby Rob Wagner
General Motors powered its Chevrolet and GMC trucks with the optional 292 cubic-inch, inline, six-cylinder engine. The 292 was a common power plant for light duty pickups because of its relatively high torque, which gave the three-quarter ton and one-ton trucks good pulling power.
GM produced the 292 from 1963 through 1990 only for trucks. During the 1970s, GM equipped its truck-based Chevy Blazer sport utility vehicle with the 292. Early versions generated considerably more horsepower and torque than later 292s. GM modified the later engines to comply with tougher federal emission standards and rising gasoline prices.
The 292 featured an 8:1 compression ratio and fitted with either a two- or four-barrel carburetor. Initial gross horsepower was 165 with 280 pound-feet (ft.-lbs.) of torque. The cylinder bore was 3.875 inches and the stroke measured 4.12 inches. In contrast, the next largest engine, the 305 cubic-inch V8, featured smaller bore and stroke dimensions at 3.736 and 3.48 inches respectively.
GM's last series of 292s was the L25 model produced from 1977 through 1988. GM reduced its horsepower to 115 with the torque rated at 215 ft.-lbs. The changed ratings allowed trucks to get about 16 miles per gallon, but reduced its efficiency to pull heavy loads. The L25 continued in Chevy and GMC trucks through 1990.
Rob Wagner is a journalist with over 35 years experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines. His experience ranges from legal affairs reporting to covering the Middle East. He served stints as a newspaper and magazine editor in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Wagner attended California State University, Los Angeles, and has a degree in journalism.