What is a 396 "Rat" Motor - Impala Tech
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-19-2010, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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What is a 396 "Rat" Motor

I have heard a few people use the term "Rat" when describing certain 396 motors. Can anyone explain what defines a motor as a 396 Rat?

I know what the 396 is but I'n not familiar with the "Rat" designation.

Thanks
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-19-2010, 01:45 PM
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http://www.superchevy.com/technical/...ine/index.html

This might help.

Ape Out.

Make: Chevrolet
Model: Impala Custom
Year: 1969
Doors: 2
Engine: 327 V8
Trans: Powerglide
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-19-2010, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Interesting read. I did a little digging and it looks like for the most part the "Rat" just denotes a big block.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-19-2010, 02:46 PM
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Yep, Rat is Chevy big block, and mouse is small block. Interestingly, some of the "mouse" motors displaced more than the "rat" motors...

Two doors, four doors, wagons, and ragtops.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-19-2010, 03:38 PM
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I think Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins may have started the 'mouse' name with his potent small block Chevy's in NHRA racing when he put the hurt on Mopar's "elephant" hemi's. From there the Mark IV big block Chevy came out and followed suit with 'rat motor'. According to an article on Gasser Madness, a guy named Skip Hess is given credit for coining the term "rat motor" when the first AHRA racers started dropping blown big blocks in Anglia gassers in 1965. It was painted on the Shores and Hess Anglia scoop first:



http://gassermadness.com/Gas_Classes/index.htm

Scroll down to the 1964-1967 period. Cool stuff.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-19-2010, 05:05 PM
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......................it's allways a good day when you see a Impala catch a "Rat".....................
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-20-2010, 09:31 AM
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Small block Chevy V-8 was refered to being a mouse because of it's power to weight ratio starting about 1956-'57. The only engine with a better ratio is the 455 Buick engine which is about 30 pounds heavier than a SBC but about the same size (it wasn't introduced untill 1970). It was the previously unheard of lightness of the engine that caused everyyone to drop the other 1957 power champ; the 364 cid "Nail Head" Buick motor, and and the older 1947 vintage 331 cid Caddy motor that weighed a ton compared the SBC that was out putting the same amount of power out of a lighter package. In racing every 100 pounds is one tenth of a second off your elapsed time so a smaller more pottent power plant became very popular very quickly.

The "Rat" was the "Mouse's" distant cousin which could be made to deliver lots of power but was never considered light weight, and to this day still can not match the horsepower per cubic inch of the diminutive mouse motor.

I have been breeding and feeding Rat motors since they were introduced. Always looking to give a Rat a good home.

Big Dave
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 10:56 AM
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I try to give as many "Rat's" a good home as possible. All my hotrods have heavy hearts.

Don't listen to me, what do I know? I've only been doing this for 30 years.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 05:51 PM
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great pictures-they were great times
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