GM's top engines? Here are our picks
General Motors has produced a lot of world-class powerplants over the years. Here's our list of the 10 greatest engines in GM's history, listed alphabetically.1. Buick 3800 V-6:
This was GM's workhorse engine from the mid-1970s through 2006. It was reliable, tunable for performance or fuel economy and extremely durable. Buick's V-6 ranks not only as one of GM's best engines; it's also one of the best engines in industry history. GM made more than 25 million.2. Cadillac V-16:
Built for a decade, this giant, 431-cubic-inch engine set the standard for torque, smoothness and refinement in luxury cars of the 1930s.3. Cadillac Northstar V-8:
In the 1990s, Cadillac needed a world-class, 24-valve, double-overhead-cam engine to compete with Lexus. Tom Stephens, now the head of GM's global powertrain operations, delivered. His 4.6-liter engine was smooth and quiet, and it helped propel Cadillac out of a sales funk.4. Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1:
Both versions — the 1990s-era, 375-hp model and the current 638-hp engine — delivered great performance for a bargain-basement price.5. Chevrolet small block V-8:
Introduced in 1955 and still going strong several generations later, Chevy's small block V-8 is nearly indestructible. Says Stephens: "You know it will do exactly what it is supposed to do, and it'll do it forever." So far, more than 90 million have been built.6. Chevrolet "stovebolt" inline 6-cylinder:
This straight 6, built from the late 1930s through the early 1970s, provided reliable, economical power in a variety of displacements. It powered trucks, cars, vans and cabs. Pontiac made a special overhead-cam version to spiff up the 6-cylinder Firebird from 1967 to 1969.7. Chevrolet Corvette 283-cubic-inch V-8 with fuel injection:
This engine delivered 1 hp per cubic inch, transforming the Corvette into a Jaguar-beating sports car when it arrived in 1957.8. Duramax diesel V-8:
The Duramax, designed with Isuzu's help, rebuilt GM's reputation after the disastrous passenger-car diesels of the late '70s and early '80s. These hardworking, 6.6-liter engines made GM's heavy-duty pickups contenders against Ford's top-selling Super Duty models.9. Ecotec 4-cylinder:
This may be GM's first great 4-cylinder engine. It will be GM's future workhorse, capable of de- livering high performance and high fuel economy. One version that shows the engine's potential for technology and performance is the direct-injected, turbocharged 2.0-liter version that debuted in the 2007 Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky.10. Pontiac 389-cubic-inch V-8:
The big Pontiac V-8, breathing through three carburetors with a distinctive roar, ignited the muscle-car wars in the 1960s and grew to as big as 455 cubic inches. It kept the GTO and other Pontiac muscle cars ahead of the pack.
You can reach Richard Truett at email@example.com.