This question has probably been asked a hundred times but could some on explain the difference between a 396 and a 402. I'm looking at a 71 camaro that the owner says is a 402 and my book says 396. Thanks in advance for your help
It's related to emmissions requirements. After 1969 (70 model year) engines displacing greater than 400 cubic inches had to meet less stringent emmissions requirements. I guess the theory was that the larger displacement engines were typically used in trucks which have always had different federal requirements for everything from 5 mph bumpers to emmissions.
Actually I think it was because prior to 1970 GM had a policy that prohibited any engine of 400 cubic inches or more from being factory installed in intermediate cars (Chevelle, Camaro etc). That policy was dropped in 1970. So the 396 block was overbored and that resulted in 402 CID. But marketing knew that the popularity of the SS would be hurt, so they kept the 396 designation.
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