The 1917 Chevrolet Series D V-8 followed an engine trend that Cadillac started in 1915, one that a slew of automakers were copying.

1917 Chevrolet Series D V-8
The 1917 Chevrolet Series D had good power, but its high price led
to low sales. See more pictures of Chevrolet Series cars.


Chevrolet chief "Billy" Durant temporarily put aside his quest for success in the low-price arena and ordered that a new V-8 Chevrolet go on sale -- nearly four decades before Chevy's famed 1955 small-block V-8 would appear.

Advanced in design, the 1917 V-8 had a central camshaft operating vertical overhead valves in each bank, a counterweighted crankshaft, and detachable crossflow cylinder heads. Displacing 288 cubic inches and breathing through a Zenith two-barrel carburetor, it developed 55 horsepower at 2,700 rpm, running on 4.75:1 compression.

Billed as "A New and Greater Chevrolet," the mid-priced V-8 cost $1,385 (more than a Buick) and failed to attract a sizable crop of customers. Riding a 120-inch wheelbase, the touring car weighed 3,200 pounds.

Not only was the V-8 Chevrolet's most powerful engine yet, but years would pass before another could beat it in horsepower. Its new chassis heralded the forthcoming light-car trend, featuring quarter-elliptic cantilever springs at the rear.

Meanwhile, a Series F roadster and touring replaced the Series H models, and the economy-minded 490 model got some improvements -- along with a new sedan. All models had an electric starter. Issuing about 111,000 U.S.-built cars in 1917, Chevy stood fourth behind Ford, Willys-Overland, and Buick.

1917 Chevrolet Series D V-8 engine
The 1917 V-8's 55 horsepower would be
the most for a Chevy until 1932.

1917 Chevrolet Series D V-8 Facts
Model
Weight range (lbs.)
Price (new)
Number built
Series D
3,150-3,200
$1,385
511

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