The Little Engines That Could, Part 4a: The Chevy 153 Four Goes Vanning


(first posted 11/8/2016)  Welcome to Part 4a of our continuing journey into exploring relatively small displacement engines found in both cars and trucks at various times in automotive history.  This episode is admittedly taking a different twist.


This latest installment is credited to reader Scott, a wise gentleman from Maine.  His comment from Part 4 is the impetus for thinking beyond the merely obvious, which has revealed a little honey hole of information.


In Part 4, we learned about the 153 cubic inch (2.5 liter) four-cylinder used in the Chevy II and Nova from 1962 to 1970.  General Motors didn’t limit this engine to just their compact cars.  It could also be found in a few vans and delivery vehicles for a very brief time.


The 153 started off modestly in 1963, with availability only in step vans.  From information found at, the 153 was available in step vans in both the United States and Canada, no small feat given how GM of Canada frequently offered products that varied in some fashion from those found south of the border.


For 1964, the 153 could be obtained in a regular van.  Ideal for urban delivery use, in this application the 153 had the same 90 horsepower output as found in the passenger car version.


It’s availability continued for 1965, but this engine was no longer to be found for 1966 as the 194 cubic inch straight-six was now the base engine in both regular and step vans.


Might there be any of these four-cylinder vans left?  Perhaps, but by its skinnier production window, it’s going to be elusive.