Where did this term come from? When did Chevy start using it?
I also understand that Chevy had a rat logo in the 60's. Has anyone seen or even better, can you post a pic of it?
Here is how I heard the story-Mopars had their Hemi's which were called Elephants (don't know why, never asked) and supposedly some of the Hemi's (I think they were the 392 Hemi's) were worried about racing some of Chevy's new small block. Well a big Elephant is scared of a little mouse, so the medifore stuck, and they started calling the SBC mouse motors, then Chevy built a bigger motor, and a big mouse would be a rat, so these motors were refered to as rat motors. How true this is I don't know, but it does make for an interesting story.
The small block became referred to as the mouse engine by the hot rod community back in the 1950s; this comes from several sources in legend. One was already sighted as the engine that could conquer the Chrysler Hemi of the 1950s known as the elephant engine in hot rod circles.
Another was that the term came from the success the small block had in all racing classes. Being a small engine that could show up larger engines of any brand it acquired the moniker of the mouse engine after the then well read book made into a movie called the "Mouse that Roared". The story was about a small principality that unknowingly came into possession of the ultimate weapon, the Q-bomb. With the Q-bomb in hand all the world's major nations become subject to the wine producing Duchy of Fenwick's rule of the world.
The big block began to be called the Rat since it's a large mouse.
I have seen a logo from mclaren cars, with Reynolds Automotive Team written below a cartoon character of a rat holding a steering wheel. Above the cartoon are the letters R.A.T. PATROL in a semi circle.I believe this was from their can am days, when reynolds aluminium big blocks were used in M8b's etc.Ive often wondered whether this was origin of the nick name for our beloved big block rat engines.Cheers Steve