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Thread: Cad engines in LZs

  1. #1
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    Cad engines in LZs

    For the past several months I have noticed several for-sale ads for LZs retrofitted with Cadilac motors. I know they used to swap out with Ford V-8s, but why Cadilac?

  2. #2
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    Re: Cad engines in LZs

    Hi Kieth, there is no definitive answer to your question, but in the '50's there was not much interest in Zephyrs, except for parts cars for the Continentals, that were as popular back then as both Zephyrs and Continentals are now. In those days, the modern, powerful, reliable Cadillac and Oldsmobile Kettering OHV V-8's were the engines most often used in Continental conversions, usually coupled with the Hydramatic transmission and rearend, all of the OHV engines of the time were used, and a friend of mine even had a Cad Flathead V-8 in his Continental coupe, hooked to the Lincoln transmission, it was a nice driving car, I am presently in the process of incorporating a 302 Ford engine and AOD transmission in my very rough and rusty '41 Zephyr club coupe, mostly because it was so far gone, it was not practical to go with stock components, but with a decent car, restoring it as close to original as possible, is definitely the desirable way to maintain the value and mystique of the venerable Zephyr.

  3. #3
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    Re: Cad engines in LZs

    Thanks Rolf. One of the reasons I wanted to know about the retrofit is my '41 3 window coupe has a '62 Cad engine and my goal is to convert it back to an LZ engine. Another question... The '42 LZ engine has a larger displacement and after the war (the one in all the papers) they went back to the original displacement. Are the '42 engines more desirable? Are post war engines more reliable because of advance metalurgy technology because of the war? And, can I dress up a post war engine to look like a '41 without losing genie points?

  4. #4
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    Re: Cad engines in LZs

    Hi Keith, yes I used to labor under the delusion that the '42 V-12 would be more desirable, because of the extra displacement, but then it was finally revealed that the '42's were really only 292 CI blocks bored to .030 over stock, so all you gained was your first rebuild from the start. All of your '41 components will fit on a postwar engine, and there are only subtle differences in everything but the intake manifolds, and air cleaners. I hope your '62 Cad engine is coupled to the Zephyr transmission, and the motor mount provisions are easy to remove, some early conversions were very Rube Goldberg, where others were very sanitary. Contact me off line if you need pictures of V-12's, I have quite a few-

  5. #5
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    Re: Cad engines in LZs

    Rolf, thanks for the info. Yes my Cad engine is bolted up to the LZ trans, however, somehow though the years the overdrive unit that originaly came with the car was removed. I know this because I can see the clean spot under the dash where the OD knob once had a home. Also, my car had a leather interior, which was at extra cost, and my hunch is that whoever sprang for the leather upgrade probably would have also added a overdrive. Last year I met a LZ owner who had a '41 with 12 forward speeds, the LZ overdrive and a columbia rear end. He said one could actually purchase a '41 (and only in '41) with both options. Again I would like to bring it back to original with the LZ overdrive. Is the tourque tube the same for both trannies?

  6. #6
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    Re: Cad engines in LZs

    Hi again Keith, yes those dual OD's were quite a trick, Lincoln won a national economy run using both OD's in '41, and unabashedly used lines in their advertisements like, "The silky V-12 barely sips the gasoline", of course with a overall rearend ratio approching 1 to 1, it would be best to plan all your driving on downhill routes. The Borg Warner electric OD required a shorter torque tube, and a unique rear transmission mount, that are somewhat hard to find. Fortunately, the torque tube is the same as a'42-'48 OD car, and the more available trans mount for those years can be adapted as well. There are minor differences between the '41 and later OD units also, and of course the '41 had a 26 tooth cluster gear whereas the laters had a 25, you will also need the OD relay, the kickdown switch and lockout switch, and the control cable you mentioned, our archives now include an OD wiring diagram, kindly furnished by a member of this forum, incidentally, there is nothing wrong with "buzzing" a non OD Zephyr up to 70+ MPH, there is a segment of aficionados that say this is the way the engine should be driven, so if you live in an area where they don't drive you off the road if you are only going 70, like they do here in California, perhaps you can live with what you have, do you have some pictures of your leather interior you can share on e-mail?? Mine is getting close, and the broadcloth that it came with is hard to get, and has a bad reputation for not holding up. Thanks a lot, good luck, Rolf

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