What is a RAT motor? [Archive] - Chevelle Tech

: What is a RAT motor?


HoodRat
Dec 30th, 06, 12:22 AM
kind of embarassed to ask:sad:

bulb122
Dec 30th, 06, 12:33 AM
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 :)

aukai
Dec 30th, 06, 12:38 AM
It seems now that anything under 500 cid is a baby rat

Aaron
Dec 30th, 06, 9:00 AM
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.

mac762
Dec 30th, 06, 9:24 AM
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

PS Don't be embarrassed asking questions. You've already made the first step by becoming a member here. Most everyone here will answer your questions with respect, not ridicule. Have a good one.

animal69
Dec 30th, 06, 9:44 AM
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!

Junkyard Dawg
Dec 30th, 06, 10:00 AM
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....

Bowtie-72
Dec 30th, 06, 10:16 AM
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.

pdq67
Dec 30th, 06, 3:02 PM
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

pdq67

furball8994
Dec 30th, 06, 3:10 PM
What is the nickname for Ford engines?

Boat anchor!!!!!!!!

Chevy fan attic
Dec 30th, 06, 3:40 PM
Boat anchor!!!!!!!!

LOL LOL :hurray:

nolimitpkr
Dec 30th, 06, 3:57 PM
Boat anchor!!!!!!!!

Classic!!!!!!!!!!

docs427
Dec 30th, 06, 7:06 PM
[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

joe58
Dec 30th, 06, 7:40 PM
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.

DZAUTO
Dec 30th, 06, 10:18 PM
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.

hurstL78
Dec 30th, 06, 11:44 PM
Boat anchor!!!!!!!!

took the words out of my mouth:thumbsup:

pdq67
Dec 31st, 06, 10:42 AM
Tom,

Don't forget that Ford's 383/410/430 and 462 MEL series of engines was made like Chevy's 348/409/427 "W" engines b/c they had flatheads..

In other words, the chambers are in the block, not the heads..

The only chamber that was in the head was like a -5 cc where the sparkplug recess is.

pdq67

automan
Dec 31st, 06, 1:54 PM
intersting reads
i learned it differantly somewhat
mouse was physically small looking,especially in a big engine compartment
the ford and dodges had a bigger look to them
not only was the chev small looking it seemed to be tireless,,(like a mouse in a wheel)
and the term rat came out in 65-66 with the 396 being it looked the same as a small block only bigger
i had a 67 chevelle with big block hood and 427 badges ,,but only had a 350 in it ,,most people that did'nt know the differance called it a 427(what the badges said)
and the same for the reverse
in the real world at a glance can you tell the differance between a mouse and a rat? wheather it be the animal or the engine its hard to tell the differance

Bowtie-72
Dec 31st, 06, 4:37 PM
Mice fit easily in your hand, rats have longer tails, and are bigger/fatter.

Junkyard Dawg
Dec 31st, 06, 10:13 PM
Rat = big block
Mouse = small block

Hey it just dawned on me....since they want to use rodent names for engines.....

What would be a "gerbil" engine?

Or a "guinea pig" engine?

Or a "hamster" engine?

:D

star393
Jan 1st, 07, 2:02 AM
I drove a 348 back then in a 60 impala 3 duces posi 3 speed stick 411 slicks and kick ass on the expressway and steeet and skips on North Ave, a famous drag racing hang out in Chicago Sub. why because i ran that motor 8500 ya thats right everyone said boat anchor because they didnot know valve train componets 427,s bbc 409,s eat my dust and Hemi. I kept looking for that chicks car that said if you can beat me you can eat me , and she never met me or i would have worn my bib. I did hear that someone did beat her and she didnt put out.

Junkyard Dawg
Jan 1st, 07, 5:02 AM
I kept looking for that chicks car that said if you can beat me you can eat me, and she never met me or i would have worn my bib.

:eek: :eek: :eek:

I did hear that someone did beat her and she didnt put out.

Well that's pretty shady....then again maybe EVERYONE beat her so she was....um.....beat? :p

FancyBoy
Jan 1st, 07, 12:24 PM
Actually the term "mouse" at that period was influenced by the popular cartoon of that day...Mighty Mouse.
It started in 1955 with the innovative and new chevy V8.

The term "Elephant" came after the fact, just as the term Rat.

The word "Jeep" is thought to have originated from a sound a popular cartoon made of that era (similar to a chirping sound). I don't recall the name of cartoon.
Apparently, there were alot of "adults" watching cartoons back then.

mac762
Jan 1st, 07, 10:08 PM
The Jeep was an animal on the Popeye cartoon. He could make himself invisible if I remember correctly. They say "jeep, jeep". That cartoon predates WWII when they came out with the Jeep. I used to wake up two hours early for school so I could watch Popeye. I still watch cartoons. Has anyone here seen Squidbillies?

BlueSS454
Jan 1st, 07, 11:57 PM
Hey it just dawned on me....since they want to use rodent names for engines.....

What would be a "gerbil" engine?
Nash
Or a "guinea pig" engine?
AMC
Or a "hamster" engine? :D
Studebaker

:D

Bowtie-72
Jan 2nd, 07, 12:35 PM
The word "Jeep" is thought to have originated from a sound a popular cartoon made of that era (similar to a chirping sound).

Lots of discussion on that one. Also may have stemmed from the designation letters used in the Army for damn near everything instead of stating the word. ie: General Purpose vehicle by AMC was called a GP, which was later called Jeep wheen sold to the public.

Hummer/HumVee also started this way, High Mobility Vehicle turned into HMV, which turned into Hummer, now even that's too long, so it was changed to crap.

engineguy
Jan 2nd, 07, 1:35 PM
Tom P. - it's an insignificant point, however I believe that the original Ford 406 engine had 3 X 2 induction, rather than 2 X 4. The 427 Ford had 2 X 4 in low, medium and high-riser configuration.

The first that I heard the moniker "Mouse" used in association with a Chevrolet small block engine, was in 1965-66 when Bill Jenkins was walking all over the Hemis in NHRA A/Stock competition. Chrysler guys referred to all Hemi V-8's as elephant motors, due to their huge physical dimensions. Jenkins pretty much owned A/Stock class with a 327 powered Chevy II, beating HEMI powered Belvideres and Coronets built by Jere Stahl, Sox & Martin, etc. Old timers will recall that Jenkins did abandon ship however and he campaigned MoPars during 1966 or so, but of course he did come back to us.

rubadub
Jan 2nd, 07, 1:45 PM
Did anybody mention the (rat roaster), dodge and plymouth used to run.

Rob

joe58
Jan 2nd, 07, 2:33 PM
Old timers will recall that Jenkins did abandon ship however and he campaigned MoPars during 1966 or so, but of course he did come back to us.
__________________
.

I believe Bill Jenkins went MoPar in 1964-65 after GM had a corporate crack down on helping the racers in 1963.

Jenkins ran a L79 Nova in 66