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Hot rod Chevrolet Stovebolt six-cylinder memories ‘Hemmings Motor News’ contributor Jim Van Orden looked back fondly at the Chevrolet straight six-cylinder Stovebolt motors and shared some of his personal memories.  The venerable “Stovebolt” engine first appeared in 1929. Jim said that his Chevy was the ultimate “sleeper”.  No one suspected the car was fast. He went on to say the he was only 17 and feeling his oats, he drove the old Chevy like a maniac and enjoyed surprising V-8 drivers at stoplights. Shifting into first and revving the 235-cubic-inch, 135-horsepower “stovebolt” six, he would pop the clutch and leave them in the dust. This got him in trouble with the boss, a hard-working Swede who ran the hometown meat market.  He daily cleaned his butcher blocks and delivered steaks in a 1957 Chevy 150 two-door commercial sedan. The plain-Jane car, sporting only front bucket seats and a wood rear floor, was really a station wagon without side windows. Heavy-duty springs and shocks reminded you it was built for work, not fun. But two factors made it fun to drive: a very low differential gear and stovebolt six developing max- torque at low rpm. “This baby could haul meat faster than Porky Pig ran from the big bad wolf” Jim said. It didn’t take much to spin rear tires. Most races were over before shifting into second. Then one day the gear linkage failed when speed- shifting.  It wasn’t easy explaining to the boss what happened, but Jim was grateful he didn’t fire him. “I really liked the stovebolt six” Jim said.  It revved like Chevy’s small-block V-8 and got decent gas mileage. It took some growing up to learn why it was called a “stovebolt.” As he discovered, the engine used slotted bolts like those on 1920s-30s wood-burning stoves to secure components. The fastest stovebolt in his life showed about the time he turned 18.  “Martha,” a brown-and-white ’53 Chevy convertible owned by a friend, Justin, had been transformed from an underdog into a roaring beast. Ripping out the stock stovebolt, he replaced it with a bored-out “Jimmy” GMC truck engine mated to a three-speed manual transmission. An Iskenderian racing cam made the stovebolt vibrate angrily. But what made the engine rage with power was its intake manifold. Three two-barrel carbs with chrome air cleaners were reminiscent of the ’53 Corvette’s three one-barrel set-up. “Martha” was genuinely fast…V8 fast…and demonstrated the stovebolt’s potential for power and speed.
Posted Monday, April 9, 2018
1957 Chevrolet Sedan Delivery
© Lynch Automotive Group
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Hot rod Chevrolet Stovebolt six- cylinder memories ‘Hemmings Motor News’ contributor Jim Van Orden looked back fondly at the Chevrolet straight six-cylinder Stovebolt motors and shared some of his personal memories.  The venerable “Stovebolt” engine first appeared in 1929. Jim said that his Chevy was the ultimate “sleeper”.  No one suspected the car was fast. He went on to say the he was only 17 and feeling his oats, he drove the old Chevy like a maniac and enjoyed surprising V-8 drivers at stoplights. Shifting into first and revving the 235-cubic-inch, 135- horsepower “stovebolt” six, he would pop the clutch and leave them in the dust. This got him in trouble with the boss, a hard-working Swede who ran the hometown meat market.  He daily cleaned his butcher blocks and delivered steaks in a 1957 Chevy 150 two-door commercial sedan. The plain-Jane car, sporting only front bucket seats and a wood rear floor, was really a station wagon without side windows. Heavy-duty springs and shocks reminded you it was built for work, not fun. But two factors made it fun to drive: a very low differential gear and stovebolt six developing max-torque at low rpm. “This baby could haul meat faster than Porky Pig ran from the big bad wolf” Jim said. It didn’t take much to spin rear tires. Most races were over before shifting into second. Then one day the gear linkage failed when speed-shifting.  It wasn’t easy explaining to the boss what happened, but Jim was grateful he didn’t fire him. “I really liked the stovebolt six” Jim said.  It revved like Chevy’s small-block V-8 and got decent gas mileage. It took some growing up to learn why it was called a “stovebolt.” As he discovered, the engine used slotted bolts like those on 1920s-30s wood-burning stoves to secure components. The fastest stovebolt in his life showed about the time he turned 18.  “Martha,” a brown-and-white ’53 Chevy convertible owned by a friend, Justin, had been transformed from an underdog into a roaring beast. Ripping out the stock stovebolt, he replaced it with a bored-out “Jimmy” GMC truck engine mated to a three-speed manual transmission. An Iskenderian racing cam made the stovebolt vibrate angrily. But what made the engine rage with power was its intake manifold. Three two-barrel carbs with chrome air cleaners were reminiscent of the ’53 Corvette’s three one-barrel set-up. “Martha” was genuinely fast…V8 fast…and demonstrated the stovebolt’s potential for power and speed.
1957 Chevrolet Sedan Delivery