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You would think I would know this, lol, but I don't. 55 had two different 235 motors, one for a stick, which I think was a 123 horsepower ( and I don't know whether itbwas called a blue flame 123) that was mechanical lifters only block, and a 235 for auto which was hydraulic cam and was 140 horsepower. The distinction was not carried through fro 56 and up.
 

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What about the colors?
Was the standard trans the one painted blue
And the powerglide painted black ?
Apparently 'Blue Flame' was a marketing term that related to the efficiency of the engine - burning a blue flame as opposed to orange. Hmmm. So nothing to do the the colour of the block.
 

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Apparently 'Blue Flame' was a marketing term that related to the efficiency of the engine - burning a blue flame as opposed to orange. Hmmm. So nothing to do the the colour of the block.
I'm pretty sure that's all there really was to to the term. But, I conjecture it does relate to the blue engine paint, as earlier Chevy 6s were usually gray.

Think back to the 1950s. Natural gas stoves were commonplace by then. (In rural areas where natural gas wasn't available, you could get propane instead.) So, a blue flame from the burner of a gas stove was well understood. It also meant you'd thrown away that antiquated wood burning stove of yesteryear, and were now using a modern gas stove in your kitchen with its clean, powerful blue flame to cook your food.

There's a phrase I used to hear when I first moved to the south, "now, we're cooking with gas". It meant things were going well (and had just improved), or you were as "up to date" as anyone. I don't know its origin, but apparently this was a common saying dating back at least to the '40s, and probably much earlier. The people I met had heard their parents or grandparents use the term.

So, a blue-hued engine that's about the same color as a natural gas blue flame makes for an ideal marketing pitch. This would be especially true if "now, we're cooking with gas" was a commonplace phrase in the era.

It also would make people who chose the 6 instead of a V8 feel a little less inferior - they were buying a "blue flame 6" instead of "that same old Chevy 6 that's been around since 1929".
 

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Good commentary.

I should have been more clear with my comment about the colour of the block. I was meaning that the name 'Blue Flame' did not come from the colour of the block, rather from marketing that combustion feature. Of course, the blocks may well have been painted blue to reflect this a little more -- I'm a marketer, and I sure as hell would have! :) I guess someone needs to hit the history books to see what came first, the name or the colour of the block.
 

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I have an all original 55 stick motor that is really intact. Delco tags on generator, ect. The motor is painted black. Its the only 55 stick block I have because I hate messing with main bearing shims when rebuilding. I keep it around for reference but it is black as opposed to the 56-57 motors which in my humble experience have all been blue (of some sort, lol)
 

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Could it be when Chevrolet refers to the "2 new blue flames sixes" as one with Solid lifter and the other hydraulic?

Just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Awesome to read all these answers, the main reason I asked is I just snagged a Blue Flame 140 that came out of a 56 210 for my 55 210 that has an original black 235 in it that is seized up for life and was curious the difference. Alot of info flowing here guys.
 

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My friend, hang that 56 motor in your 55 as is. Its a better motor, hydraulic lifters, slightly higher compression (ever so slightly), more horsepower, better main bearing set up. Good luck!
 
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