Chrysler A engine
The Chrysler A engine is a small-block V8 automobile engine from Chrysler Corporation. It was produced from 1956 until 1967, when it was replaced by the wedge-head LA engine. The A engine's combustion chambers are polyspherical, and it is not related to Chrysler's Hemi engines of the same era.
The A engine was first released in 1956, and was used exclusively in Plymouths until 1958. The cylinder bore center distance is 4.46 in (113.3 mm), larger than the earlier Dodge-based poly engines. The A engine formed the conceptual design basis of its successor, the LA engine.
The 278 was the first A-block engine, produced for 1956 and sharing almost nothing but the basic concepts with other engines built by Chrysler. Bore is 3.750 in (95.3 mm) and stroke is 3.125 in (79.4 mm) for a piston displacement of 277.4 cu in (4,546 cc). It was replaced by the 290 in 1957, except for in low-priced Plaza models where it continued to be used during the 1957 model year.
The Plymouth 290 replaced the 278 in 1957. Its piston displacement is 289.6 cu in (4.7 L), owing to its 3.91 in (99.31 mm) bore. These dimensions are entirely different from the 1955 Chrysler 301.
The 1956 Plymouth 305 displaces 304.3 cu in (5.0 L) and uses the same connecting rods as the 278; the bore is 3.8125 in (96.8 mm) and the stroke is 3.31 in (84.1 mm).
This engine was used in the following vehicles:
- 1956 Dodge Custom Royal (Canadian)
- 1956 Chrysler Windsor (Canadian)
- 1956 Plymouth Fury, 240 bhp (179.0 kW) with 4-barrel carburetor
- 1957 standard on all 118 in-wheelbase Dodges and Plymouths
A 312.3 cu in (5.1 L) version of the A engine called the 313 was produced from 1957 to 1967 primarily for Canadian and export markets. This engine has a bore of 3.875 in (98.4 mm) and the common 3.31 in (84.1 mm) stroke, and was used in the following vehicles, amongst others:
- 1957 Canadian Dodge Custom Royal
- 1958-1967 standard or available in all Dodges and Plymouths except Valiants, Barracudas, and Darts.
- 1957-1964 Australian Chrysler Royal
- Bristol 407
- Bristol 408
The 318 is the most common version of the A engine, produced from 1957 through 1967 when it was replaced in all markets by the LA 318. Only Plymouth used this 318 in 1957 and 1958, but it was shared with the other Chrysler divisions from 1959 on. It displaces 318 cu in (5.2 L) and has a 3.91 in (99.3 mm) bore and the 3.31 in (84.1 mm) stroke.
A special 1957-'58 version called the V-800 used two four-barrel carburetors to produce 290 bhp (216.3 kW), making it the highest-output A engine. It was used in the 1957 and 1958 Plymouth Fury, but was also an option on Plymouth models lower in the model range. The Bristol 409 and 410 continued to use this engine until 1969. From 1962 until early 1965, Checker used this engine for their Aerobus limousines.
The Dodge Red Ram 327 was launched in 1959. Its actual piston displacement is 326.5 cu in (5.4 L) but it was marketed as the 327 to avoid confusion with the unrelated Dodge Hemi and polyspherical 324 cu in (5.3 L) engines. The 327 uses the same 3.31 in (84.1 mm) stroke as the 318, but with the largest bore of any A engine at 3.95 in (100.3 mm). It uses hydraulic tappets, unlike the earlier A engines, and was used in the 1959 Dodge Coronet.
- Lee, John (1990). Standard Catalog of Chrysler, 1924-1990. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, Inc. pp. 390–391. ISBN 0-87341-142-0.
- Naul, G. Marshall (1999). Ron Kowalke, ed. Standard Catalog of Independents: The Struggle to Survive Among Giants. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, Inc. p. 35. ISBN 0-87341-569-8.