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When Chevrolet introduced the LS engine, many clever and effective innovations were incorporated to simplify operations and reduce engine weight and overall dimensions. An integral part of these new technologies was a compact serpentine belt system designed from the start to lower frictional losses, which in turn improved belt strength and longevity.

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A Bit of History

Hundreds of thousands of these “little” big-blocks were sold in the 1960s. In 1965-66 alone, over 150,000 came in the Impala, Biscayne and Bel Air big cars. Few paid attention to them because the hot engine of the day was the L-78 with high-rpm, rectangle-port heads. But when stock eliminator drag racers began flogging the L-35, it responded magnificently.

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When Ford introduced its Y-block engine in 1954, it labeled the engine the worthy successor to the venerable Flathead. The Flathead gained a loyal following of hot rodders and racers, but the big Cadillac overhead-valve V-8 and Oldsmobile’s Rocket 88 were stealing Ford’s thunder in terms of power, so something had to be done, and Ford decided to respond. The answer was a clean-sheet V-8 design, featuring overhead valves and improved cooling compared to the old Flathead. It was dubbed the “Y-block” because of the way it looked and because of its deep skirt and tall cylinder heads.

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