News & Car Culture / Top 10 Engines

Top 10 Engines of All Time (#8): Chevrolet 454

 

 Editor’s Note: This series counts down the Top 10 engines of all time—see how the voting was done by reading our initial post.75310_Engine_Web

Does size matter?

No, we say emphatically (but not for any particular reason).

However, there is clearly a large contingent of you that believes bigger is better, because the Chevrolet 454 big block easily made your top 10 engines list with room to spare. For sheer size and power, you placed the Chevy 454 at #8 on the list.

As the old saying goes: “There’s no replacement for displacement.” And GM got it right when it introduced the venerable and popular big block in 1970.

History

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.

Original Vehicles

The Chevrolet 454 originally came stock in these passenger vehicles:

Top Aftermarket Upgrades

The Chevrolet 454 remains a favorite among performance enthusiasts because of the its power output and the availability of aftermarket parts for the engine. A quick glance at the Summit Racing website shows these Chevrolet 454 parts as the most readily available (number of options as of 1/16/2014 in parenthesis):

Editor’s Note: This series counts down the Top 10 engines of all time—see how the voting was done by reading our initial post.

SOURCE: EngineFacts.com.

 

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46 Comments

  1. sherman nicks says:

    Hey,buddy will a454 chev .eng bolt up to 1962 caddy devillehad 390 cad engine,thanks sherm

    • OnAllCylinders says:

      Dimensionally there is plenty of room for a BB Chevy in there. You will need to fab engine mounts, use a Chevy trans. and make a driveshaft. Oh, and there are no swap headers available!! 

  2. Wayne Roland Jr. says:

    Hello sir. I’m looking to build a Mark IV 454 (need mechanical fuel pump) street strip engine. Would you have a casting number and year you prefer? I understand some early 70’s blocks are better with more nickel content etc. I have access to a 1972 Tonawanda built 3999289 two bolt forged crank truck engine or a Tonawanda built 14015445 casting I believe built 1978 with four bolt main with forged crank un known vehicle but its bored 60 over already (fresh rebuild no miles). I have an excellent machine shop that can add four bolt mains to anything. The more reading I do the more confused I get. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks.Wayne

    • Speedracer says:

      For a street engine either would work fine. If the 72 block has never been bored I believe that would be the way to go. Don’t waste your money making a 2 bolt block into a 4 bolt. How many broken 2 bolt main caps have you ever seen? I’ve never heard of it happening in a street car. Spend your money on something more effective like cylinder heads.

    • Paul DeRaimo says:

      Wayne. I came across your posting looking to find information on my 454 casting #14015445. Do you have details on this casting?

    • Does anyone know the variation of horsepower that this engine 14015445 could have?

  3. What about the L89 in 1967?

    • Speedracer says:

      What about it? Same thing as a 396/375 solid lifter engine. Just so happens the heads were aluminum.

  4. What about the 1969 Chevelle ss With the option of the 396 cowl and the 427 even a 454?

    • Speedracer says:

      What about it? The 69 with a 427 was a dealer option from places like Yenko, Baldwin Motion, Nickey…etc. The 427 wasn’t an option from the factory in the 69 Chevelle. The 454 didn’t come out until 1970.

  5. Wylie Harrison says:

    I have a 1969 chevell SS.With a 396c.i.d eng.I was wondering if it be better if I buy or put in the bb 454 c.i.d.engine. .from Jay.

    • Speedracer says:

      396 to a 454 is like going from a 305 to a 350. Which do you think runs better, all else being equal?

  6. Barry jo Folan says:

    How much more gasoline does 454 then 350 in 1975 c/20 chevy truck

    • Driven like a normal truck the 454 is probably a bit easier on fuel.weight and tor.driven hard 454 is harder on fuel

  7. hi looking at 1967 Beaumont with a 454 in it to buy can you please give me your 2 cent ineed your opinion. Thanks

  8. Mario Guillen says:

    I have a 1971 chevy impala 2 door with a 350 -v8 I want to know if I can put a 454 -v8 -7.4 engine big blocks on

  9. hi i have 1971 monte carlo 4 speed with a sbc in it i have found a complete 1970 454 to put it in it can you tell me what is needed .onlything i can see is bbc springs up front and new flywheel?motor mounts should work and my shroud as well

    • OnAllCylinders says:

      Chris,

      There will be some variables that will involve a more detailed conversation. It’s probably best if you call the Summit tech line at 330-630-0240.

  10. what about 454 out of 84 mobile home

  11. domsnyder@yahoo.com says:

    I have a 1975 chevy caprice convertible with the factory 454. I’m looking to do some up grades on the motor (power wise) any one have any recommendations on what I could do without breaking the bank. From the research I’ve done the 454 in the caprices where a motor built to tow and pull. I don’t don’t want a work horse I want a power wagon…

  12. I have a Gen 6 big block I was wondering what model/year chevy truck can I get the serpentine belt setup off of

  13. I am looking at purchasing a project 1973 corvette. I would like to know would I be able to upgrade the engine too something more current that could put out over 600 horsepower? What would be the engine type for that set up? Will it fit without having to modify the frame or the engine supports? I really love the look of the 73 with the chrome bumper and nice curves. I do not wish to take a running vehicle apart make the beast that I want to run. Thanks for your help in advance.

  14. I have a 69 Camaro with a 350 engine. I want to install a Big Block but am struggling to determine if a 427 CI or a 454 ci is the way to go. I like the idea that 427 ci were installed in 69 camaros but 454 ci is bigger bang for the buck. Please share your thoughts. 427 for nostalgia or 454 for bigger is better and economics.

  15. hi onallcylinders…

    i found this engine block in a storage unit that i bought…

    PLEASE de-code it for me???

    i currently speak porsche, with a mm / litre accent…

    🙂

    air cooled, for now…

    1974 454 CUBIC INCH

    TO218TRW (stamped) T4Z512079 (stamped)

    E HP (cast front)

    HI PERF (Cast rear)
    PASS
    F8

    3999289 C GM 10 T O
    N
    V

    8 5 74 date code

    forged crank

    aluminum pistons

  16. Chevy 454 ranked #8??? Bull SHIT!!! Should easily be ranked #1!!!

    • Some people should keep there comments to there self if u don’t know much about engine and cars.454 is a good engine but never made it at the track like the hemi,fords,Buick.it u Gm guy that 75% of u know nothing about muscle engines and u probably a skidoo who keeps getting beet by cats.gm will keep making more ci to keep up with the rest

    • I got a mark IV bbc it number one in my book

  17. Would a 1973 454 fit into a 1977 Malibu Classic?

  18. Jason Sloan says:

    I’m putting a 454 in my 92caprice… Any thoughts, motor already has upgrades,cam,lifters,intake,carb…

    • GO WITH AN LS CRATE ENGINE> The newest family of small blocks are better in every way than an iron block, no matter the displacement. You can chose from a mild 5,3 crate engine at 475 hp for about 5 thousand all the way to a 7 liter mill that comes with papers showing 800 plus HP dyno results. Get out your wallet and visit your local GM parts counter and best engine builder in your locality. For 23 grand you can buy a supercharged off the shelf 6.2 that will drop in, fire up and put out 700+ horsepower. Besides the LS engine will give you 20 plus MPG in daily driving on 91 octane pump gas. Don’t mess with the antique BB unless you are into nostalgia.

  19. Recently purchased a 454 MK / IV Block with dome pistons, rods, crank never assembled and still in boxes, all the numbers read 1970 – 71 except the block that comes up 1990 – 91.
    I was told it was outlawed due to federal regulations, all the parts have the same coating and casting #s sprayed pink, Block Casting # 10069286, Crank # on box 3963523 stamped on crank # 3967416 comes up as a sub-set of the # on the box 1970-71. Could this block have been cast in 71 and retired until 1990-91, all info I’ve gathered gatherer reads 1971 right down to the coatings that have preserved everything ! Any help is greatly appreciated. THANKS, Norm

  20. Forgot a most important FACT this engine has a 2 piece rear main seal.

  21. jim phelan says:

    i have a old school LS7 454 engine that has never been run or modified, any body interested?? 587-341-3660

  22. Pingback: Listen To This 454 Big Block With Two Cherry Bomb Glasspacks Make An Awesome Rumble! | CAR NEWS & REVIEWS

  23. My Boy Friend have à Beaumont 1967 with a 454 not à clone original. IT s à car brend on western Canada

  24. Looking for info on ford big block 427 marked C8we-v

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