“New” simply wasn’t a big enough word for Chevrolet’s milestone 1955 model. An improved chassis topped by sensational styling would have been enough to make history, but Ed Cole’s engineers just had to stir things up further. They introduced one of the low-priced field’s first overhead-valve V-8s, the vaunted “small-block,” an engine still kicking up dust 55 years later, though basically in name alone. At 265 cubic inches, Chevy’s ground-breaking V-8 not only gave the passenger-car line new life, it also helped saved the two-seat Corvette’s bacon.
Available for all models – the base 150, mid-line 210, top-shelf Bel Air or the flashy Nomad wagon – the 265 V-8 produced 162 horsepower in standard form, and 180 horses with the optional Power Pack consisting of a four-barrel carburetor and dual exhausts. Displacing 235 cubic inches, Chevrolet’s reliable “Stovebolt” six remained the standard power source in 1955 and was rated at 123 horsepower for manual transmission applications, and 136 horses when mated to the optional Powerglide automatic.