JACK M

Studebaker vs. Chevrolet question

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" 'big' Pontiac engines - 421, 428 and 455 - had larger main bearings than the rest."

 

Could go into long snout vs short snout 421s. Won't.

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While it's true that Studebaker was in (I'm guessing) its most profitable era in its history right after WWII (GM wasn't hurting either), I still find it very hard to imaging that the engineering power-house that was GM of the early 50s would turn to Studebaker for a V-8 design.  If he doesn't buy that, I would say from pure GM-hubris point of view there is just no way.  It's one thing to emulate/steal ideas from other GM divisions but to buy the whole design from Studebaker or any other competitor?  Seems preposterous to me....

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What change to the Chevy small block V8 marks the end of Gen 1 in 1973 ?

 

I'm no expert, but I believe the Gen 1 Small Block Chevrolet V-8 was made through 1998.  The Gen 2 SBC, which came out in 1992, started with the Gen 2 LT-1 as opposed to the "real" LT-1 which was a Gen-1 originally available in 1970.  As I recall, the major change with the Gen 2 SBC "LT-1" was that the cooling system had been re-designed with the flow through the block reversed from that of the Gen-1.  Also, the distributor was located behind the water pump at the front of the block.  What were they thinking?!!  I never had a Gen-2 "LT-1", but a close friend had one in an Impala.  The engine and car were one of those fortunate combinations which worked very well.  My friend loved the LT-1 powered Impala, but hated the placement of the distributor behind the water pump.

 

My experience started with the 1955 265 C.I. SBC, and I'm now building up a 1989 Corvette L 98.   In 1970, I purchased a brand new LT-1 short block and built it up with the good heads (which I ported and polished myself), good intake, cam etc.  I had it in a 1964 Corvette coupe, and when I ran time trials with it, the local "hot shoes" accused me of running a big block ... until I popped the hood open.  It was fun.  I enjoy messin' with the SBC because they're easy to work on, parts are plentiful and inexpensive, and they make some good horsepower.  They're fun.

 

SBCs rule (in my opinion),

Grog

Edited by capngrog (see edit history)
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Funny, big block guys said the same thing about my 63 Split Window - 68 327 block (4 bolt - rules said 327 but nothing about which), 2.02 heads P&P and indexed plugs, cam out of Vince Piggin's green sheet, hogged out 65 Rochester FI, Delcotronic ignition, headers and side pipes (with a small crossover).

 

Started out with 4.11s but went to 3.55s when SCCA started all rolling starts. 27x12.65 rears on 8x15 wheels (was crowding the rules a bit  there) & ZL1 flares ($80/set with GM part numbers on Gratiot).

 

For a while after every race I'd get protested, they'd set the FI aside (rules just said "or Rochester FI") and then find a lot of cam (OK) and everything else within specs but they gave up after a while.

 

Wouldn't want to try that with a Stude.

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I just looked at my post at #16 above and somehow the last sentences are gone.

 

It was, when the guys pushed the Stude into the shop to remove the front clip they started by pulling the engine. When it came out, low and behold it was a 331 Caddy and Hydramatic.

 

What nobody has said is, and I believe, Studebaker copied the basic design of the 49 Caddy OHV V8.

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helfin, the reason some at GM didn't get along with Ed Cole is because he was a "no nonsense" type of guy. His motto was "don't tell me why it can't be done, tell me how you are going to get it done". Some of the "fat cats" at GM didn't like the fact that Cole was a "hands on" type of guy and just wanted him to sit behind a desk. He started his carrier in the General Motors Institute as a kid and was taken from the school to work in their design studio and worked his way up to GM President in the late 60s'.  He holds some two dozen patents. In 1943 he became Head of Design for the entire GM Tank and Combat vehicle division.  He is known as the driving force for the first air bag system and he is the inventor of the catalytic converter.

Well I can think of few things. Lets start with a few things that cost the corporation some money. Corvair, Turboglide, Vega. How about things that pissed the divisions off like the GM anti racing edict of 1963 which put an end to Pontiac's and Chevrolets racing efforts. Virtually closing down Pontiac's Super Duty project and gutting the soon to be production single and double overhead cam V-8's from advanced engineering. Gutting a brand image that Pontiac had cultivated into a performance division or as they said turning grandma's car into a hot rod or young mans car from 1957 to 1963, virtually the car to beat in NASCAR and a threat on the drag strip.

Now having been deprived of racing as a selling tool Pontiac had to look for a way to remain a performance car maker and that is how the Pontiac GTO was born. Cole's edict forced Pontiac to take it's performance off the track and put it on the street. Once found out Cole set a few things in motion against changing mid year changes to the GTO like cancelling Pontiac's deal with Michelin tire so that the GTO wouldn't have radial tires, Cancelling the deal with Kelsey-Hayes who at their own cost did the tooling so the GTO would have disc brakes. Any Tri-Power GTO 4speed tuned correctly was capable of 100MPH quarter mile in 13 seconds should have had those brakes and tires.

How about pulling Pontiac's show cars in 1964 and 1966 from display at the Waldorf Astoria just hours before unveiling them because Cole didn't want public pressure to have influence on two sports cars that would be competition for Cole's beloved Corvette. One of the cars the 1964 Banshee has a remarkable sister the C-3 Corvette-FOUR years later. The resemblance is uncanny and the Banshee was done in Pontiac styling studio's in complete secrecy. It was to be unveiled just like the GTO for public and dealer pressure to help convince the corporation. This was the only way to get things done.

There are other things that Cole had done, Pontiac's TRI-POWER had been a icon from 1957-1966, and in 1966 Cole issued a corporate ban on multi carbureted vehicles, Oldsmobile hadn't had J-2 since 1958 and the 1966 442 finally had a J-2, Anyroad the 3X2BBL option was gone for 1967 for Pontiac and Olds but not for Ed Coles beloved Corvette for 67 on the Big Block had as the top HP rating a 3X2BBL option, also Cole's beloved Corvair was allowed to keep milti. carburetion.

These are just a few of things that pissed people off. I'm quite sure if Fiero, and Solstice had been around when Cole was around they would have been cancelled.

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Well partly. The GTO tripower had been strangled all along by those little AC air filters. Doesn't help to have a 435 cfm carb on each end if the air cleaner only flowed 200 (big cars had a single monster good for about 1000 cfm).

 

Corvair has a cult following. I used to autocross seriously a '65 Corsa 140 with trombones and a single Quadrajet, much better than the four little one barrels but they really did not get any development after Nader.

 

Only thing wrong with the Vega was the aluminum block with carbide inserts that came loose if it overheated. Without AC you got a tiny radiator and emission controls guaranteed overheating and the carbide came loose... I had several GT 4-speeds with AC and a similar Astre Wagon, all nice little cars. Key was to keep them cool.

 

Could mention the '84 Fiero oiling problems. Won't.

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With reference to posts #14 and #15 in this thread regarding Pontiacs remember that the 'big' Pontiac engines - 421, 428 and 455 - had larger main bearings than the rest.

If you look at the Pontiac V-8 the bore spacing and the external dimension of the engine remains the same. The 1955 287 uses the same connecting rod ( same pin diameter, same rod length, same journal diameter ) as the 455.

The main bearing journals diameter differ, that is just different cap and a larger line bore, no bearing on the block design. It's not just the large versions ( 421, 428 & 455 ) that differ in main bearing diameter. Here is the mainjournal sizes through the years and sizes.

1955 287" bore 3.75" stroke 3.25" main bearing 2.50

1956 316.6" bore 3.9375" stroke 3.25" main bearing 2.50

1957 347" bore 3.9375" stroke 3.5625" main bearing 2.623

!958 370" bore 4.0625" stroke 3.5625" main bearing 2.623

1959-1966 389" bore 4.0625" stroke 3.75" main bearing 3.0"

1961-1966 421" bore 4.09375" stroke 4.0" main bearing 3.250"

1963 336"( called a 326) bore 3.78" stroke 3.75" main bearing 3.0"

1964-1967 326" bore 3.72" stroke 3.75" main bearing 3.0"

1967-1979 400" bore 4.12" stroke 3.75 main bearing 3.0"

1967-1969 428" ( really a 427 ) Bore 4.12" stroke 4.0' main bearing 3.250"

1968-197? 350" (really 354.74 or a 355") bore 3.88" stroke 3.75 main bearing 3.0"

1970-1976 455" ( really a 456) bore 4.150" stroke 4.210" main bearing 3.250

As you can see Pontiac in the beginning years alternated bore and stroke and added main bearing diameter when needed. Nothing unusual here. Some make the 3.250 engines out as big blocks, but this is not really true. The first 421 engines were machined 389 blocks bored to 4.09375"= a .060 overbore on a 389 and a 4.0" crank with main bearing area line bored to 3.250"

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Well partly. The GTO tripower had been strangled all along by those little AC air filters. Doesn't help to have a 435 cfm carb on each end if the air cleaner only flowed 200 (big cars had a single monster good for about 1000 cfm).

 

Corvair has a cult following. I used to autocross seriously a '65 Corsa 140 with trombones and a single Quadrajet, much better than the four little one barrels but they really did not get any development after Nader.

 

Only thing wrong with the Vega was the aluminum block with carbide inserts that came loose if it overheated. Without AC you got a tiny radiator and emission controls guaranteed overheating and the carbide came loose... I had several GT 4-speeds with AC and a similar Astre Wagon, all nice little cars. Key was to keep them cool.

 

Could mention the '84 Fiero oiling problems. Won't.

Tri-Power was a Pontiac icon and selling point a immage, even though it was gone there were some test done by HPP and Pontiac enthusiast where the same car ran Q mile test. A 69 400" GTO whereby Tri -Power and the Q jet times were compared. Same car manifolds switched. The Tri-Power was faster= mph and quicker=time wise.

I think you forgot about the warranty rust issues on the Vega, but the engine is what did it in despite DeLorean's protest of letting it go to the public. I believe he likened the engine to a underpowered tractor engine. I think there is a DeLorean quote that the hood was off and a tractor engine fell out of the sky into the little car.

Those points aside, Vega was a nicely styled car in the Camaro theme with proper trim options and I know of two cars that have aluminum head SBC engine's in them and they drive great.

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helfin, the reason some at GM didn't get along with Ed Cole is because he was a "no nonsense" type of guy. His motto was "don't tell me why it can't be done, tell me how you are going to get it done". Some of the "fat cats" at GM didn't like the fact that Cole was a "hands on" type of guy and just wanted him to sit behind a desk. He started his carrier in the General Motors Institute as a kid and was taken from the school to work in their design studio and worked his way up to GM President in the late 60s'.  He holds some two dozen patents. In 1943 he became Head of Design for the entire GM Tank and Combat vehicle division.  He is known as the driving force for the first air bag system and he is the inventor of the catalytic converter.

French chemical engineer Eugene Houdry (1892–1962) patented what seems to have been the very first catalytic converter in the United States, filing the invention on May 5, 1950 and receiving his patent ("US Patent 2,674,521: Catalytic converter for exhaust gases") four years later on April 6, 1954.

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 I really think the thread heading should be  Studebaker vs. Cadillac. Then there are some GM guys that say Olds and Cadillac were born together with Boss Kettering in between the two giving help and advise. Advertisements for Oldsmobile reference the Olds to Boss Ket.

Fast forward to about 9min to see the cutaway and explanations or enjoy the whole thing.

Aliens Are Coming! Oldsmobile Rocket Engine Car Plant ...

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If you look at the Pontiac V-8 the bore spacing and the external dimension of the engine remains the same. The 1955 287 uses the same connecting rod ( same pin diameter, same rod length, same journal diameter ) as the 455.

The main bearing journals diameter differ, that is just different cap and a larger line bore, no bearing on the block design. It's not just the large versions ( 421, 428 & 455 ) that differ in main bearing diameter. Here is the mainjournal sizes through the years and sizes.

1955 287" bore 3.75" stroke 3.25" main bearing 2.50

1956 316.6" bore 3.9375" stroke 3.25" main bearing 2.50

1957 347" bore 3.9375" stroke 3.5625" main bearing 2.623

!958 370" bore 4.0625" stroke 3.5625" main bearing 2.623

1959-1966 389" bore 4.0625" stroke 3.75" main bearing 3.0"

1961-1966 421" bore 4.09375" stroke 4.0" main bearing 3.250"

1963 336"( called a 326) bore 3.78" stroke 3.75" main bearing 3.0"

1964-1967 326" bore 3.72" stroke 3.75" main bearing 3.0"

1967-1979 400" bore 4.12" stroke 3.75 main bearing 3.0"

1967-1969 428" ( really a 427 ) Bore 4.12" stroke 4.0' main bearing 3.250"

1968-197? 350" (really 354.74 or a 355") bore 3.88" stroke 3.75 main bearing 3.0"

1970-1976 455" ( really a 456) bore 4.150" stroke 4.210" main bearing 3.250

As you can see Pontiac in the beginning years alternated bore and stroke and added main bearing diameter when needed. Nothing unusual here. Some make the 3.250 engines out as big blocks, but this is not really true. The first 421 engines were machined 389 blocks bored to 4.09375"= a .060 overbore on a 389 and a 4.0" crank with main bearing area line bored to 3.250"

This thread has certainly gone a long way away from the original question but my point, which I didn't make very well, was to reinforce that Pontiac only ever made one size of V8 lump, and made it last for 25 years whereas most other makers made two or more with some V8 lines only lasting a short period.

 

I know that here in NZ when a V8 Pontiac car comes up for sale it is usually touted as having a 'big block' but of course we all know that is c**p.

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Agree, never was a "big" vs "small" block V8 from Pontiac but just like Positraction vs Safe-T-Track, Chevvy vernacular seems to dominate the world.

Relevant to the thread though the Small Block Chevrolet (SBC) was a combination of the best ideas from the engineering world at the time (though why the '55 did not have an oil filter is curious).

The fact remains that Pontiac in the late 60's did not choose to tool up a new block so was limited but the bore spacing of the block they had. It made a lot of power in 400 and 421/428 form with a 4" stroke but was never known for high revs (used to be able to tell which engine a Corvette had by the reline on the tach, Pontiac V8s were all redlined at 5200 (or less late ones had 4800 & have seen a note that some SD's had a 5700 redline but that I do not recall).

But the bottom line is that OHV engines were not new in 1948, David Buick patentned one in 1902, Arthur Chevrolet was granted Patent 1,744,526: Overhead Valve Engine, 21-Jan-1930.

The big difference in the Stude vs the SBC was in the valve adjustment and lifters. With a Stude you had to adjust statically with a feeler gauge. With a SBC at idle you just backed off the big nut until click and then one turn in (racers found that 1/4 turn lost a little mid-range but gained another 500 rpm before float (most, not all, SBCs used hydraulic lifers). Was messy and valve covers cut in half were a common accessory to catch the oil.

So the Stude was not only a long stroke engine while the Chev was short, the whole OHV design was different. No relation Atol.

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This thread has certainly gone a long way away from the original question but my point, which I didn't make very well, was to reinforce that Pontiac only ever made one size of V8 lump, and made it last for 25 years whereas most other makers made two or more with some V8 lines only lasting a short period.

 

I know that here in NZ when a V8 Pontiac car comes up for sale it is usually touted as having a 'big block' but of course we all know that is c**p.

I was sure it wouldn't last too long. Whenever I get together with Studebaker friends and the topic get's round to engines it is always comparisons between the Cadillac V-8 and the Studebaker V-8. Same holds true with the Cadillac people. The other topic with Cadillac people especially around Olds people is the relationship or no relationship between Olds and Cadillac engines. I don't think I ever heard anyone (until this thread) compare a Chevrolet engine  to a Studebaker engine. I would think they would think it's not even in the same class to even discuss such a proposition. I wish there were some interest in the Buick Gen 1 V-8 . A observation I have is although collectors of higher end cars love the engines that come with them they as a whole really don't care or have interest what lies beneath the valve covers.    

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and "the engine does not care whose name is on the valve covers".

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and "the engine does not care whose name is on the valve covers".

But the people who own Pontiac's and Oldsmobile's do.

 

Why didn't Pontiac tool up for something new, well they did in 1963 and we know what Cole did about that, plus by the early 70's The heads of the divisions already knew that commonality of engines was just around the corner, transmissions having been done in 1965, and bodies starting in 1959. look at today to see where all that lead to. 

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i'm still amazed at how many people think the 327 AMC engine is a chevy

Or that Packard had a 327 straight eight

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Don't forget, 66 Pontiacs had Ford transmissions.

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Don't forget, 66 Pontiacs had Ford transmissions.

I presume you are referring to the Ford manual trans.  I don't know how many years they were used but the certainly did some in 1963, both three and four speed, along with the BW T10 and the Saginaw three speed.  The numbers must have been quite small.  I guess they sent a truck load over to the Pontiac factory every few months - or maybe only once a year?

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But the people who own Pontiac's and Oldsmobile's do.

 

Why didn't Pontiac tool up for something new, well they did in 1963 and we know what Cole did about that, plus by the early 70's The heads of the divisions already knew that commonality of engines was just around the corner, transmissions having been done in 1965, and bodies starting in 1959. look at today to see where all that lead to. 

GM should have learned from what became England's giant albatross: British Motor Corporation/British Leyand. 

 

In 1964, BMC had 40% of their domestic market share, in addition to assembly plants in Australia, South Africa, etc., and a very strong presence in North America and continental Europe.  By 2005, when they filed for bankruptcy, or 'Administration', they had a paltry .02% of their home market, and struggled elsewhere in the world. 

 

Craig

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But the people who own Pontiac's and Oldsmobile's do.

 

Back in the prior century GM had to shell out more than a few bucks to Oldsmobile buyers who, much to their surprise, found Chevrolet engines under the hood of their Olds.  GM got wise and subsequently put all GM buyers on notice that generic engines were going to be de rigueur going forward.

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GM should have learned from what became England's giant albatross: British Motor Corporation/British Leyand. 

 

In 1964, BMC had 40% of their domestic market share, in addition to assembly plants in Australia, South Africa, etc., and a very strong presence in North America and continental Europe.  By 2005, when they filed for bankruptcy, or 'Administration', they had a paltry .02% of their home market, and struggled elsewhere in the world. 

 

Craig

Seems to me BMC did that to themselves. In Pontiac's case Pontiac knew what to do, but it was the corporation that didn't.

A old saying at Pontiac was " If they ( meaning the corporation) would just LEAVE US ALONE!

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Back in the prior century GM had to shell out more than a few bucks to Oldsmobile buyers who, much to their surprise, found Chevrolet engines under the hood of their Olds.  GM got wise and subsequently put all GM buyers on notice that generic engines were going to be de rigueur going forward.

It was not just Olds, it was Pontiac Buick and Cadillac.

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