What is a RAT motor? - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old Dec 30th, 06, 1:22 AM Thread Starter
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Frank
 
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What is a RAT motor?

kind of embarassed to ask
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old Dec 30th, 06, 1:33 AM
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Chris
 
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Re: What is a RAT motor?

It's a nickname for the big block chevy engines. The small blocks are mouses.

There's an explanation for these names. Hopefully someone that knows the story will speak up, cause i would butcher it up

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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old Dec 30th, 06, 1:38 AM
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Re: What is a RAT motor?

It seems now that anything under 500 cid is a baby rat

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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old Dec 30th, 06, 10:00 AM
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Re: What is a RAT motor?

Can't remember the deal about rats, the story line, has to do with the intimidation of the Hemi and it being called a elephant motor.
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old Dec 30th, 06, 10:24 AM
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Re: What is a RAT motor?

From what I've read, the only thing Hemi's were scared of at the track were small block Chevies. Since people already called the Hemi's Elephants they started to call the small blocks Mouse Motors. Then naturally when the big block Chevy came out they started to call them Rat Motors.
This all started back in the 50's. The Mouse came out in 55 as a 265. The Rat came out in 65 as a 396. I think I'm right on all of this, correct me if I'm wrong please. I wasn't even born until 72'.
Since then the displacement avalible in either motor has went through the roof.
Some people call the Big Block Chevy a Porcupine or Porcupine Head, because of the way the valves are splayed out on the head. I like that name too. Laterman--Mac

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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old Dec 30th, 06, 10:44 AM
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Re: What is a RAT motor?

What mac762 said is about what I've always heard and I was born in '48. And I was at the Springnationals in 1971 when Grumpy pull Ronnie Sox's hemi in high gear. The elephant should fear the mouse!


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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old Dec 30th, 06, 11:00 AM
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Re: What is a RAT motor?

Rat = big block
Mouse = small block

So what did they call 348/409's.....besides "W" engines?

What is the nickname for Ford engines?

Never heard of a Hemi as an "elephant engine"

There was another name for a big block Chevy....I forgot what it was but it was more the less used to make fun of the engine....

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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old Dec 30th, 06, 11:16 AM
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Re: What is a RAT motor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mac762 View Post
From what I've read, the only thing Hemi's were scared of at the track were small block Chevies. Since people already called the Hemi's Elephants they started to call the small blocks Mouse Motors. Then naturally when the big block Chevy came out they started to call them Rat Motors.
This all started back in the 50's. The Mouse came out in 55 as a 265. The Rat came out in 65 as a 396. I think I'm right on all of this, correct me if I'm wrong please. I wasn't even born until 72'.
Since then the displacement avalible in either motor has went through the roof.
Some people call the Big Block Chevy a Porcupine or Porcupine Head, because of the way the valves are splayed out on the head. I like that name too.
Yep. What he said. The Hemi was called an elephant engine due to it's size and power, while it still had problems beating the chevy V-8s. I forget who, but it was based on the elephant afraid of just a small mouse and the term "mouse motor" was coined. Naturally the rat came since a rat is bigger than a mouse.

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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old Dec 30th, 06, 4:02 PM
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Thumbs up Re: What is a RAT motor?

The old 392 based Hemi was the Elephant and the name was carried over to the new Hemi too!

And I think I've read where guys liked the old 392 based engine better than the new one and that is why the 417" Donovan engine was made.

http://www.northernthunder.com/donovan417.html

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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old Dec 30th, 06, 4:10 PM
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Re: What is a RAT motor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Junkyard Dawg View Post
What is the nickname for Ford engines?
Boat anchor!!!!!!!!

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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old Dec 30th, 06, 4:40 PM
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Re: What is a RAT motor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by furball8994 View Post
Boat anchor!!!!!!!!
LOL LOL
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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old Dec 30th, 06, 4:57 PM
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Thumbs up Re: What is a RAT motor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by furball8994 View Post
Boat anchor!!!!!!!!
Classic!!!!!!!!!!

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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old Dec 30th, 06, 8:06 PM
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Wink Re: What is a RAT motor?

[QUOTE=Junkyard Dawg;1167170]Rat = big block
Mouse = small block

So what did they call 348/409's.....besides "W" engines?

BOAT ANCHORS

What is the nickname for Ford engines?

JUNK

Never heard of a Hemi as an "elephant engine"

LOUD LIKE AN ELEPHANT AND ABOUT AS QUICK

There was another name for a big block Chevy....I forgot what it was but it was more the less used to make fun of the engine
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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old Dec 30th, 06, 8:40 PM
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Re: What is a RAT motor?

The way I heard it, someone in the automotive press started the term “mouse engine”. The 265 Chevy got a lot of press in 1955 as it was billed as a new design engine that was going to give Chevy more of a youthful performance image. The first small block Chevy V8 (1955 265 cu in) engine looked very small compared to the other V8s of the day like the 348 Hemi. The press guy said when you opened the hood of a 1955 Chevy and saw that little 265 Chevy sitting there, it looked like a little "mouse" in that big 55 Chevy engine compartment. The Automotive press made fun of the 265 Chevy “mouse” because it looked so small and did not look like much of a powerhouse.
Of course that little mouse motor went on to be one of the most successful butt kicking racing engines ever made. The "Rat" was the bigger version of the mouse. This is how I remember it.
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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old Dec 30th, 06, 11:18 PM
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Re: What is a RAT motor?

A lot of the terminology for Chevy engines seems to be dependant on what part of the country you lived in, what racer organizations you were affiliated with and what car brand you associated yourself with.
The "W" moter term really never was very common until well after the introduction of the MarkIV big blocks (introduced by the 396 in mid-65). The term Rat motor WAS used for the 348-409 family BEFORE the MKIV was introduced in 65, but depending on where you were located, more so at some places than other places. BEFORE 1965, I clearly remember people refering to 348-409 engines as rat motors. Back in the 50s and early 60s, the engines at the dragstrips were not quite as defined as they are today. For the most part, today, Its SBs, BBs and then the HEMIs. Back then, it was SBs (or mouse motors), Rat motors (which were the 348s-409s), Pontiacs, Olds, Hemis, Fords, some Cad motors (for you that are not knowledgeable, there were some 2x4 Cadillac engines in 55-57, replaced with 3x2 in 58 and the Cad went to a 390 in 59), AND, the flathead Ford was still kicking quite well. The biggest early Hemi (it wasn't HEMI back then) was 392, the biggest Olds was 394 (oh ya, in 57-58 Olds had a 3x2 setup, called the J2 engine), there was a 430 Lincoln by 58 and Ford had a 390 by 61, eventually becoming a 2x4 406 then a 2x4 427. When the 58 392 Hemi went away, Chrysler Corp didn't really start coming on strong until the 2x4 413 followed by the Max Wedge 426, and then the NEW HEMI in mid 64. Last of all, Buick stepped in there with the 2x4 425 "Nailhead" motor (which only lasted until 65, when was the last time you saw a streetrod with a 2x4 Nailhead?). ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL of the above was BEFORE the MarkIV Chev BB of mid-65.
So, back then, you saw EVERYTHING at the dragstrip, not so much today.
Anyway, the 348-409 family BACK THEN was commonly called Rat motors and the 283-327s were commonly called mouse motors. In the VERY EARLY days of the MKIV BB, it was common to hear the term Porcupine motor (this was derived from all the various angles of the valves sticking up from the head). In time, the terms pretty much have evolved down into SB and BB. Yes, you still here the term Rat motor, but it is NOT as common as it used to be. So, the term Rat motor was used for BOTH the 348-409 and 396-454 families, and then has pretty much given way to the term BB, and now "W" motor for the 348-409s. But back when the 348-409 were common, the term W motor was virtually non-existant.

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