Just when it seems that “EV The World!” is everyone’s newest mantra, General Motors gives a respite of reality with its latest announcement that it is investing nearly a BILLION dollars in four U.S. manufacturing sites to prepare these facilities to produce the company’s sixth-gen small-block V8 engines. Of course, all the juicy details about the next-gen engine are being held closely to GM’s chest for the time being, but the news is considered good news by the internal combustion crowd. What we do know is where that money will be distributed.
Flint, Michigan, has been integral to the Blue Box’s history from the very beginning. Until 1999, over half of the company’s small-block engines were built at the Flint V8 Engine Plant. Now, thanks to GM’s announcement that the next-gen small-block V8 engine will be produced at Flint Engine Operations, that heritage will continue. The plant is being set up to assemble GM’s sixth generation of small-block V8 gas engines, along with the related block, crank, and head machining.
GM’s Bay City Plant will receive $218 million in upgrades to prepare this facility with a long history within GM. The Bay City plant originally opened in 1892, producing bicycles, and GM founders William Durant and Louis Chevrolet purchased the plant in 1918. This latest investment of $216 million will prepare the facility to build camshafts, connecting rods, and additional block and head machining to support Flint Engine Operation’s building of the new engine.
Another $55 million will go to GM’s Defiance Operations in Ohio, the bulk of which is set aside to prepare the facility to build a variety of block castings for the next iteration of small-block.
The final chunk of funding is headed to GM’s Rochester Operations in New York, and $12 million will help it prepare to build intake manifolds and fuel rails for the future V8. Did you catch that? Fuel rails! (Insert happy face here).
Just when it seems the EV bandwagon is stuffed to capacity, it’s refreshing to see General Motors looking beyond the PR horizon and shifting its focus down the road into a world that will soon become a reality for all of us. Chevy’s small-block V8 has had such a vibrant life cycle. Even at almost 70 years old, it’s still out there smoking the competition. It would be a shame to cut it down during what could be considered the prime of its life. But, thanks to this latest announcement from GM, it appears there is no plan to let that happen.