L79 Engine Specs

by David Weedmark
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The Chevrolet L79 327 small-block engine design was one of the first to combine an economy-sized engine with power and performance. General Motors produced the L79 from 1965 to 1968. The engine was available in the Corvette, Chevelle, Malibu, El Camino and Corvette. During production, the L79 was not a popular option among car lovers. Only 49,034 L79's were ever produced.


The most well-known feature of the L79 engine was its high-performance hydraulic camshaft, the first of its kind. The L79 used a wide bore and a short, efficient stroke. The four-inch bore allowed for large valves, and a stroke of only 3.25 inches meant the pistons did not have far to go to deliver massive power.


The four-barrel V8 L79 engine had a top speed of 120 mph. It featured an 11:1 compression ratio with domed pistons made of forged aluminum and a small-journal crankshaft. The L79 had a displacement of 326.721 cubic inches. It had a maximum horsepower of 350 hp at 5800 rpm, and a maximum torque of 360 foot-pounds at 3600 rpm. Standard horsepower at 4400 rpm was 250 hp.


Between 1965 and 1968 only 28,122 Corvettes were produced with the L79 engine. In the same period 14,151 L79s were included in the Chevelle models, with none being produced in 1966. The Chevy II had the fewest L79 engines, with only 6,791 produced from 1966 to 1968. There were no L79 Chevy IIs in 1965 and only 6 were produced in 1967.

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