1964 L76 Engine Guide: Specifications, Features & More



Classic Chevrolet cars and small-block engines go hand in hand, forever as closely related as baseball and hot dogs. Chevrolet’s small block heritage dates back more than 50 years, to the beginnings of the now legendary wars of power. The small 265 cubic inch block served as the starting point for these efforts and the starting point for successive stages of development.

Chevrolet spent the next decade perfecting its previous small block, which eventually grew in displacement and became a test bed for early fuel injection technologies. Further progress was made in 1964, with the release of the L76 V8. This powerful little block has proven to be quite reliable while developing more than enough horsepower to make a living.

A brief history of the 1964 L76 engine

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By the early 1960s, the aforementioned 265CI V8 had undergone more than its share of overhauls, eventually reaching 327CI in displacement. In fact, Corvette owners of that time had a choice of four individual variations of the small block 327CI, all of which differed slightly in design and horsepower ratings.

In its basic form, the 327CI V8 was topped with a four-barrel carburetor and produced 250 horsepower. This power could be increased to a total of 300 horsepower by selecting a larger high performance carburetor.

At the top of the options sheet were the L76 and L84, the former of which was carbureted, while the latter was of the “fuelie” line (fuel injection). The small block L76 was the Corvette’s most powerful carbureted powertrain at the time of its release, developing up to 340 horsepower for the 1963 Corvette C2.

The L76 was updated once again, prior to the 1964 model year. Equipped with a new high-performance camshaft, the L76 produced 365 horsepower at 6,200 rpm, just ten horsepower less than the total power of the fuel-injected L84 V8.

1964 L76 Technical specifications and engine configurations

The L76 small-block V8 featured a cast-iron block with a two-bolt sector. This block contained a forged steel crankshaft, supported by a total of five main bearings.

The L76’s cylinder bores measured 4.00 “in diameter while bearing a stroke measurement of 3.25”. Also of interest was the L76’s relatively high compression ratio of 11.0: 1.

Unlike the base render of the 327 cubic inch V8 or the slightly more rugged L75, Chevrolet’s small block L76 featured a special high-lift camshaft. This camshaft was developed by Zora Arkus-Duntov, a design authority at Chevrolet, and was often referred to as the “30-30 cam” due to its specified valve lash settings (0.030 intake, 0.030 exhaust).

The engine‘s valve stems were housed in a set of cast iron cylinder heads closely resembling those used by the L84. In fact, structurally the L76 and L84 were extremely similar, even sharing the same internals. However, discrepancies between these two engines arose when comparing the fuel systems of the two powertrains.

Close-up of the 1964 L76 engine in the open hood with the Corvette branding

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The L76 also featured the same high-rise intake manifold as several earlier Chevrolet smallblocks. Atop that intake was a new four-barrel Holley carburetor, in stark contrast to Chevrolet’s use of a Carter carburetor on all lower horsepower iterations of the 327 cubic inch small block.

All in all, the small block L76 was incredibly impressive for its time, producing 365 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 350 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. While such recordings taken at the time are somewhat vague in scope, most believe that the 1964 Corvette equipped with the L76 posted 0-60 MPH times of around 5-6 seconds and could cover a mile. in less than 15 seconds.

1964 L76 engine specification index

  • Power : 365 hp at 6,200 rpm
  • Couple: 350 lb-ft at 4000 rpm
  • Compression ratio: 11.0: 1
  • Shift: 327 cubic inches (5.4 L)
  • Cylinder bore: 4.001 “(101.6 mm)
  • Stroke: 3.25 “(82.55 mm)

Alternative uses of the 1964 L76 engine

The L76 small-block V8 was Corvette-specific, never relegated to being used in a Chevy touring sedan. Instead, many models of such vehicles used GM’s small block 283, which was considered by many to be a precursor to the 327CI L76 itself. Alternate versions of the 327CI were also used in a host of other Chevrolet models.

Close up of 1964 L76 engine sitting in open hood of red Corvette

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The legacy of the 1964 L76 engine

Chevrolet’s 327 cubic inch L76 V8 proved more than worthy of its place under the hood of the Corvette. Besides its excellent performance, the L76 has also become very popular with consumers.

This small-block engine produced respectable power without digging too much into the future Corvette owner’s wallet. In truth, rushing for the L76 only added $ 129 to the price of the 1964 Chevy Corvette over its base setup.

Unfortunately, like many legendary Corvette engines of the past, the L76 was eventually discontinued from production, retiring in the late 1960s. However, most still remember the L76 as one of the smaller Corvette blocks. powerful since few similar offerings compared to the L76 during its manufacturing era.


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