Piston Slap: Pi are square in the Studebaker’s engine displacement

Flickr/Alden Jewell

Kevin writes:

My ’64 Studebaker Daytona has its original 289 cid V-8 and has had the cylinders bored out 0.060. Can you tell me what the displacement would be now?

Sajeev answers:

Oh man, I am totally getting flashbacks to grade school math class! Calculating engine displacement requires determining three values: The number of cylinders, the cylinder’s bore, and the piston’s stroke. Your Studebaker has eight cylinders (‘natch) possessing a 3.625″ stroke and a 3.563″ bore, but the latter was increased by 0.060″ to make 3.623″ bore. You can pop all that info into a handy-dandy online calculator, but where’s the fun in that?

Here’s a brief math lesson, manifested in a formula that, thanks to our publishing software’s inability to accurately reproduce mathematical formulas, must be written out as a sentence.

Engine displacement equals the engine’s stroke, multiplied by the bore (which is π, times the radius squared), multiplied by the number of cylinders.

I used this moment to (literally) dust off my solar-powered calculator, got major sixth grade flashbacks to the phrase “Pie are round? No pi are square!”, and eventually calculated a displacement of 298.816 cubic inches.  Which, to be fair, is essentially 299, and should be discussed at car shows as a motor with “just under 300 cubic inches”. (Math snobs who disapprove of everything mentioned above are encouraged to send hate mail to pistonslap@hagerty.com at your leisure.)

And with that, enjoy your 300-ish cubes of mighty Studebaker V-8 power!

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