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Still love that 8.1 liter big block truck engine for towing your speedboat to the lake — or towing your three-bedroom vacation home to the RV park? Better get ’em while they’re hot. This weekend GM shut down the Tonawanda, NY, production line that makes them. That makes all of ’em.

The engine in question was known as the L18, and was introduced in 2001 as an update to the previous 7.4 liter big block, sharing the same bore centers but incorporating an increased stroke. Depending on top-end equipment it generated between 225 and 340 HP, but cranked out a whopping 455 lb-ft of torque in its full-tow configuration.

GM’s cutback started as far back as 2007 when they pulled the L18 from the Silverado HD, though the engine was still available as an option in the Silverado 3500 and Suburbon/Yukon XL lines. The engine continues to see use in commercial applications — like U-Haul’s 26-foot truck — and in some marine situations. (Need a 500 HP inboard for a speedboat? GM used to have your back.)

As of this morning, GM Performance Parts still had L18s in stock — the photo above is from their catalog, by the way — but we’ve heard reports of regular customers buying up existing stock quickly. So if you’ve been eying one, now’s the time.

Of course, the truly sad part of this story lies with the auto workers. The Tonawanda plant has been assembling big blocks since 1958, and Friday’s L18 line shutdown brought 150 layoffs. One shred of good news: an engine like this doesn’t just disappear. It evolves. Tonawanda still makes other smaller engines, though, and they hope to snag production of the L18’s replacement — whatever it might be.

Plant Bids Farewell To Big Block [Buffalo News]
The Vortec 8100 (RPO L18) [Wikipedia]

 

12 Responses to GM Ends Big Block Production

  1. Brett from Utah says:

    ….Holy F-ing Sh-t….Wow….

  2. Old Coot says:

    First Obama, now this. We are doomed.

  3. bob says:

    Old Coot: W brought us to our knees. Obama might be able to helps us stand again.

  4. buckshot says:

    W was a lousy financial manager, Obama is worse, much worse. Health care would have been nice but he seems to have only half delivered on even that.

  5. lkjsdf says:

    Auto workers? The ones retiring early and living on my taxes, while I’ll be working until I’m 70 to support them? Screw those parasites.

    GM is now a government program which transfers money from the productive economy to a reliable Democratic voting block. It’s going to be a net drain on the economy as long as it lasts. It was the private sector that made this country rich. Companies in the private sector either produce more than they consume, or they die. If they die, good riddance. Let the workers and the resources go to somebody who’s got something worthwhile for them to do. Somebody will always come along with something worthwhile, if the government doesn’t tax and regulate them to death.

    As for health care, look at the mess in Massachusetts if you want to know what’s in store now for the rest of us: Costs rising faster than anywhere else in the country, lousy care, and punitive taxes on all those who STILL can’t afford insurance. And there’s a lot of them.

    RMV Care: Pay More, Wait Longer, Get Less.

    The more you get the federal government or any state government involved in anything at all, the more costs spin out of control and quality plummets. Find me a single exception, anywhere. What makes you think this will be any different? What, they PROMISED it’ll be different this time? They always promise that. You people who buy into this stuff, you’re like abused wives. Ever time you go back, he swears it’ll be different this time! Yeah, right. Two black eyes instead of one, that’s how it’ll be different. But you keep on going back. Worse yet, you drag the rest of us along with you.

  6. johnnyp says:

    Guys if I want political commentary I know where to go. It ain’t here

  7. PutnamEco says:

    Re:
    lkjsdf Says:
    It was the private sector that made this country rich

    And it was the private sector that almost crashed the economy…

    Re:
    Somebody will always come along with something worthwhile, if the government doesn’t tax and regulate them to death.

    Yes, and they will rape the planet and poison the people if we let them get away with it…

    Re:
    The more you get the federal government or any state government involved in anything at all, the more costs spin out of control and quality plummets.

    You mean like, the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Or don’t you think they’re quality?
    There is also the FDIC (why was there no run on banks,while they were crashing, like before the great depression?) FDA, CDC, National Park Service, highway system…..

  8. browndog77 says:

    A truly sad day for motor-heads. RIP

  9. russ says:

    You forgot to mention the other good news, the workers still get about 70% of their pay after taxes. That’s a lot more than most people that have lost their jobs in the last year or two.

  10. bob says:

    The most successful welfare project ever was the GI Bill. My grandfather and father both bought their first homes because of government involvement in the education and housing markets.

  11. Bill says:

    If you are really jonesing for a big-block Chevy, I wouldn’t sweat it too much. I’m sure Mitchell and other aftermarket companies will be casting replacement performance blocks for years to come. In fact, this just might be the impetus for the aftermarket to step up production.

  12. sam says:

    to bad about the big block era coming to and end, but something better will come in time.

    o-yea! and obama sucks! “obama… worst ever!”

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