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Thoughts Pertaining to Youth, Hot Rodders, and Chevrolet (1953) [pdf] (corvetteactioncenter.com)
36 points by gkop 15 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 21 comments



I find it very interesting how the transcript put online is not the same as the original in significant ways. It is great that the pdf is available, but that is not what is going to be searchable on the web (especially with the quality of the memo text being so poor). The transcript present online does not give any indications that the transcript presented is highly edited. Here is one example paragraph left out that came after the third paragraph to the end in the online transcript:

"The association of Chevrolet with hot rods, speeds and such is probably inadmissible, but possibly the existence of the Corvette provides the loop hole. If the special parts are carried as RPO items for the Corvette, they undoubtedly will be recognized by the hot rodders as the very parts they were looking for to hop up the Chevy."

I enjoyed this post quite a bit as I am interested in cars and how the internet records history differs from the paper age.



The result of this thinking was a tremendous breakthrough for GM. They captured the mindshare of hot rodders and their V8 became a de facto standard. It is commonplace to find these engines retrofitted into non-GM vehicles due to low cost and availability.


"LS swap" is now the go to engine retrofitting.


Long, long before the LS was even a twinkle in an engineer's eye, the the 1st generation chevy small block V8 was the most common choice for hot rods.


The Ford flat-head V8 would like to have a word with you.

Either way, the chevy small block (and its evolution to the LS) has been dominant for a very long time.


That's exactly what the memo was commenting on.


Where's the least expected place you've found a LS engine? I found out they use them on airboats in the bayou in Louisiana.


Not a motorhead, was the defacto V8 from GM the "small block"?


Yes Arkus Duntov created the small block at GM, having previously created hemi heads for flathead Fords, amazing Belgian/Russian jewish innovator https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zora_Arkus-Duntov


It has been for a long time now, but it was not at this time.


The auto industry pulled out of racing for years after a disaster at Le Mans killed 80 people in 1957.[1]

The memo is interesting. The author is concerned about beefing up the remainder of the drivetrain to match a higher powered engine, but not about improving the stability of the vehicle. Today, it's all about keeping the wheels on the ground and the vehicle pointed in the right direction. Power is not a problem. Most racing vehicle classes today are power-limited in some way.

[1] http://www.superchevy.com/news/1705-the-day-performance-almo...

[2] http://speedace.info/lead_wedge.htm


A couple notes: RPO means Regular Production Option - as in you can order it from the factory with those parts.

Also, in the 50s and 60s GM's market share bounced between 40 and 50% (in fact 1986 was the first year that GM fell below 40% US market share). As such, competition was more fierce between GM divisions like Cadillac and Chevrolet than between GM and Ford per se. Thus the notes at the end comparing the Chevrolet engine to the Cadillac engine.


It occurs to me that this very pattern could be seen in the iPhone development history.

“We’re behind in the smartphone market But from what we see as the driving factor for adoption, we need to come to market with a capable base component, and pre-load the app environment with anything that users could want, we’ll even make the developer ecosystem rich with expansion options.”

Being second to market can be used as an advantage


> Being second to market can be used as an advantage

The jargon for that kind of business plan is “fast follower”. Apple has sometime chosen that approach (iPod, watch, arguably even the iPhone) to great success, so it’s not only a small company strategy.

Another phrase used in the valley is “you can tell who is the pioneer from the arrows in their backs”. I don’t like the term “pioneer” but the metaphor is apt.


But they don't allow hot-rodding their phones. They're pretty much forcing the tech folks out of their business.

The whole group of people who might start with swapping a graphics card, and move towards their own pc build with watercooling are being forced out of the apple market.

Even the old mac pro is replaced by this phenomenally expensive beast that nobody would hotrod (except for maybe a sheik)


Amazing write up on forming communities that can geek out obsessively over the things & the saga of what's happening to their things.


The introduction of the small block v8 solved most of the described problems.


> the slide rule potential of our V8 is really high

Damn, what a great line...


This site is not a good site to look at. I am currently on mobile looking at the linked page. I had to scroll past about 13 ads before the actual article started. Was not a good start.

Edit: after switching to a desktop, this site is not mobile friendly


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