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archiveman2977

1953 BUICK ROADMASTER vs. 1953 CHRYSLER NEW YORKER TURNING RADIUS

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Roadmaster had two different wheelbases in '53 - the 4 door sedan Riviera at 125.5" and the rest at 121.5", while Chrysler New Yorkers were all 125.5". I have no idea what the turning radius is for either make, but the wheelbase probably makes a difference.

Interested to see what the answers you get are.

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11-23-13

Hi, John V.

In researching the new 1953 Buick Roadmaster V-8, I understand that Turlay designed the nearly vertical "nailhead" exhaust valves to narrow the width of the engine in the engine bay, thus allowing its steering/wheels to turn at a sharper angle and to reduce the turning radius--as compared with the current 1953 Chrysler New Yorker Hemi engine--with a wider stance in the engine bay which limited the steering angle and, consequently, the resultant turning radius was quoted as greater than the 1953 Buick Roadmaster.

Now, I am verifying that conclusion but have had no luck in their respective brochures.

Thanks, Archiveman 2977

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I have always understood that the narrow design of the Buick "nailhead" engine was that it had to fit in the straight eight engine bay. Chrysler reduced the number of steering wheel turn to 3 lock to lock with their new power steering in 1951. GM and Ford stayed with the same 5-7 turns lock to lock with the addition of power steering. The factory salesman book for each make should have the turning radius listed, but I haven't been able to locate one on line.

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I would think that the width of the chassis would limit the turning radius more than the width of the engine.

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It sounds bogus to me but Buick did some funny things. Management insisted the first straight eight occupy the same engine compartment as the last 6. This required some compromises to the engine design. They put the engine in the old chassis for ONE year but the compromised design was built for many years afterwards.

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I also heard that the Olds V8 was supposed to go to Buick. The plan was to change all GM cars to OHV V8 starting with Cadillac and working downwards in cost and prestige. But Olds did some lobbying, claiming they needed a new engine worse than Buick did and they got it. Perhaps they felt since Buick had an OHV V8 it did not need a V8 as bad as Olds did.

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The width of the engine compartment would certainly affect which engine could go in there! But NOT necessarily the turning radius of the vehicle . . . at least not as some might expect. Wheelbase can have an influence, but that's variable too.

Knowing that it would (very possibly) be several more years before GM would have a car body architecture which would allow a wider engine compartment, Turlay used the then-current "canvas" to paint his picture of Buick's V-8 engine. No need to design an engine that's wider than current sheet metal configurations with (obviously) NO money in the bank to support a redesign at that time.

It also might be argued that Chrysler was on somewhat the same page, regarding new vehicle architectures, back then. That Gen I Hemi V-8 certainly IS wide, but if you look at how tightly the exhaust manifolds were configured to the block, it's obvious there was little room down there! After I saw my first set of '57 Chrysler 392 exhaust manifolds on the motor (out of the car), it made me wonder how they breathed as good as they did, in stock form! With the engine installed in the car, you can't see much below the outer edge of the valve cover . . . making the "up top" spark plug placement of the Hemi V-8 not only good for performance, BUT the most accessible place they could be in a crowded (and narrower!) engine compartment! Chrysler's C-body narrower engine compartments continued until the 1965 model year redesign and until the Imperial's 1967 redesign -- dictated more by styling than probably anything else, I suspect.

Typically, especially in later model years, Chrysler's full-size cars never had as tight of a turning radius as GM cars did. But then, too, you typically never heard the front tires of a Chrysler squal when making full-lock turns at slow speeds (especially on cement) as you did similar GM cars. Yet those tighter turning radii on GM vehicles did NOTHING to enhance their manueverability or handling! I found a few Chrysler-done sales training vids on YouTube, from 1956 and/or 1957-'58, between Chryslers and similar GM cars. The "road" differences were amazing, to say the least!

As for the steering ratios . . . Chrysler's road handling was much better than anything GM had, steering response included. Why not accentuate that fact with a quicker power steering gear ratio. By comparison, it seems that GM more desired to mask the handling incapabilities of their vehicles with their slower steering ratios, but with the ease of power steering. Plus that many of the earlier GM systems were adapted to their existing gear systems, or were the "linkage assist" as Ford used back then (but also used by Corvettes and some Chevy trucks into the middle 1960s!).

My suspicion is that GM's tighter turning radius could have been seated more in the need of GM to be able to advertise something they had that other brands didn't, namely a tighter turning radius. Such a thing could be an asset in some "city" situations, no doubt, but it also meant that there woudl be more an arc which the steering linkage had to move through in doing so. So this could sell be more of an "engineering decision" to suit the sales department than anything else. Chrysler's engineers obviously didn't want to play that game and didn't, not desiring to design a linkage system that might be stretched to its full capacity with little reserve capacity which might also wear out sooner. With the Ackerman Steering design, there obviously is a point where the two wheel angles don't reliably follow their needed desired paths . . . obviously GM engineers went part that point or could find no way to make the two wheel angles more accurate to what they needed to be . . . whereas Chrysler's design stayed more "true to form" in what they did in this respect.

I don't recall anybody saying they'd bought a GM car as it had a tighter turning radius than a Ford or Chrysler product, back then . . . or later. Back then, there were many other things owners usually worried about than what turning radius their cars had . . . like engine size, transmission speeds, colors, interior trim, model level, chrome amount, etc.

In general, Chrysler products were the more athletic vehicles back then, especially after the introduction of their torsion bar/leaf spring suspension system in 1957! NOT something related to turning radius, per se.

There are a few websites which have older vehicle sales brochures archived. Perhaps the desired specs could be found there? Check www.wildaboutcarsonline.com to see if they have the desired brochures/factory publications/service manuals for the desired model years.

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

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11-25-13

Thanks for your comments, NTX5467. You have filled in little known historical information, and I thank you for it. Thanks for the "wildaboutcarsonline" site. Linked to that site the "Old Car Manual Project" offered everything except the 1953 Buick and Chrysler Data Books, with specifications for the turning radius.

In researching their online owner's manuals, the specifications printed proved to be elementary.

I have the 1953 Buick Shop Manual; it did not list the turning radius, neither did the "Encyclopedia of American Cars from 1930."

Consequently, the answers may lie in the individual Data Books for 1953. I would appreciate the information should you encounter it.

Thank you,

Archiveman2977

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11-23-13

Hi, John V.

In researching the new 1953 Buick Roadmaster V-8, I understand that Turlay designed the nearly vertical "nailhead" exhaust valves to narrow the width of the engine in the engine bay, thus allowing its steering/wheels to turn at a sharper angle and to reduce the turning radius--as compared with the current 1953 Chrysler New Yorker Hemi engine--with a wider stance in the engine bay which limited the steering angle and, consequently, the resultant turning radius was quoted as greater than the 1953 Buick Roadmaster.

Now, I am verifying that conclusion but have had no luck in their respective brochures.

Thanks, Archiveman 2977

Thanks for the comments. So often I have pondered a part or a contrivance and asked myself "why in the Sam Hill did the engineers build something in a certain non-intuitive way" This indicates that the reason could be rather obscure, totally from deep space! I'll bet some of the wags on this site could provide some amazing examples?

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11-23-13

Please provide the turning radius for the 1953 Buick Roadmaster.....

This should clarify a lot of bogus conjecture in the above posts.

An excerpt from the BUICK MOTOR DIVISION, January 7, 1953, Press Release for the new 1953 Buick:

.....The wheelbase of all Roadmaster models has been reduced 4 3/4 inches for easier handling and parking. The wheelbase on the four door Roadmaster sedan has been reduced from 130.2 inches to 125.5 inches, and on the two-door Roadmaster it has been reduced from 126.2 inches to 121.5 inches. This reduction in the wheelbase of the Roadmaster, which provides a shorter turning radius, was made without any sacrifice in interior room by use of the shorter V-8 engine.....

The attachment below shows the requested dimension (diameter in lieu of radius) of both 1952 and 1953 Buick Roadmasters.

FYI: Information stated in the respective BUICK SHOP MANUALS state that the front tread width of a 1953 Buick Roadmaster is 60.0".....0.9" wider than a 1952 Buick Roadmaster at 59.1".

Who needs Tom McCahill?

post-41556-143142292778_thumb.jpg

Al Malachowski

BCA #8965

"500 Miles West of Flint"

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11-30-13

Thank you 1953mack for the spot-on info about the 1953 Buick Roadmaster V-8 turning circle diameter, supported by the 1953 Buick's "Facts for Buick Salesmen 1953", page 99.

The Buick press release attributed a shorter V-8 block vs. the previous inline eight engine for the reduction in wheelbase and turning circle diameter.

Now, we need to verify the 1953 Chrysler New Yorker's turning circle diameter to determine which car actually turned in a smaller turning diameter. Remember, the point of this inquiry is to validate engine block sizes (Chrysler Hemi vs. Buick V-8) /wheelbases in relation to the resultant turning circle diameter for the two cars.

Thanks again,

Archiveman2977

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www.automobile-catalog.com/auta_details1.php should go to the page for the 1953 Chrysler New Yorker. Turning radius listed as "42 ft" 1953 Buick Roadmaster Model 70 is listed as "41.5 ft", with a 125.5" wheelbase. Both measurements are "curb to curb". 1953 Buick Special is listed as "39.5 ft", with a 121.5" wheelbase. '55 Chry C-300, 126" wheelbase, turning radius is listed as 44 ft.

As for the exterior size decreases on the Buicks, I hadn't really been concerned with engines when I looked at those '53 Buicks, but the pictures plainly indicate a longer front fender dimension than the similar '54 V-8 cars do. Therefore, it would appear that all of the wheelbase decrease was in front of the cowl. I need to mention that these specs were from a non-OEM website, but you can probably use the for reference only . . . not something to win "things" over.

A side issue is that a shorter frame and front sheet metal translates into "less cost per vehicle build!". I suspect that prices did not decrease as they were now using shorter frames, shorter frt fenders, and a shorter hood.

Enjoy!

NTX5467

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Interesting that both cars had practically the same turning circle (within 6 inches). I have worked on both. The Buick had more room between the engine and wheel well but evidently, engine width was not a factor.

Chrysler and Buick both went from straight eight to V8 about this time and both went to a shorter wheelbase and shorter front end , no doubt because the new engine was considerably shorter.

In 1951 and 52 Chrysler created a new model called "Saratoga" by putting the New Yorker engine into the Windsor six. This would have been impossible with the old straight eight. The Windsor wheelbase was 7" shorter than New Yorker.

Starting in 1953 the New Yorker was shortened considerably.

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Seems odd that the left turn(CCW) circle is different than the right turn(CW).

Seems odd to me where you got that interpretation from.

Al Malachowski

BCA #8965

"500 Miles West of Flint"

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12-4-13

Thanks, NTX5467 for your reference to www.automobile-catalog.com/auta_details1.php. .

I am always hesitant to quote information from a third party source. In this case, the 1953 Roadmaster turning circle diameter, 41.5 ft., and the wheelbase, 125.5 inches, correlates to the Buick Data Book information.

As for the 1953 Chrysler New Yorker specifications, I will consider the information as "probable" until I can verify it with factory information.

Thanks again,

Archiveman2977

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