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A.I.R. and the curious dimple in the left hand 1966 GS valve cover


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Posted (edited)

Here's a question for you 1966 experts.  Every photo of a 425 engine in a '66 Gran Sport has a dimple in the driver's side aluminum valve cover.  And, in every case, the A.I.R. pump is MISSING!   It just looks weird, the dimple there for no apparent reason, like someone took a hammer to the valve cover.  I know the A.I.R. systems were routinely removed back in the day to improve performance and do away with the pump, tubing, and hoses.  A.I.R. cars had their ignition timing retarded, so removing the pump and re-tuning the car to 49 state specs would have improved performance and economy.  Removing the smog equipment would have been illegal in California, but cars exported from that state could have had it done without consequence.

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Does anybody have a photo of a '66 (standard or G.S.) with an A.I.R. pump installed?  

 

I'm told the dimple was cast into the cover to accommodate the mandatory A.I.R. smog control pump installed in cars sold in California in 1966.  I further understand that A.I.R. may have been 'optional' for all other 49 states, although I can't see anyone ticking the option box for this 'feature' if it wasn't required by law.

 

So, my questions:

  1. How many '66 Gran Sports were sold new in California?
     
  2. Could you order A.I.R. if you lived outside California?  How much did this 'option' cost?  Did anyone actually order one with A.I.R. but who did not live in California?
     
  3. Could you order the Super Wildcat 425 (with aluminum valve covers) on ANY '66 Riviera?  This was possible in previous years. 
     
  4. Was the engine with aluminum "BUICK" valve covers only installed on cars with the A9 Gran Sport option?  I know the 2x4 induction was an over the counter option at the beginning of the '66 model year, and later became a factory installed option.
     
  5. Did the dimpled aluminum valve cover get installed in cars intended for sale in states OTHER than California?  Or, were Gran Sports sold in the other 49 states delivered with valve covers LACKING the dimple?
Edited by 65VerdeGS
wrong pic (see edit history)
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I think, at least this is what I've been led to believe, is that in 1966, Buick outfitted all of the '66 Rivieras with the "California" valve covers no matter where the car was to be sold.  Production costs?  

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All finned valve covers for 66 were dimpled.  The only engine available for 66 was the MW code.  Single 4 barrel carb.  Yes, the dual carbs were a dealer option for the first half, then factory order capable for the second half of 66.  When ordered from the factory, it was coded MZ.  But, there was no Super Wildcat engine for 66 .  A.I.R was not an option, it was a state required emission system.

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Posted (edited)

Some more. One of these was also taken at the 2012 CA ROA meet. Buick probably modified an existing mold for the 66 valve cover to include dimple rather than build a new mold to have 2 different covers 1 for CA and 1 for the other 49 states for what would be the last model year. 

 

I don't think data exists that tells us how many GS Rivs were built for CA. If anyone would know Darwin would. Of course the covers were also used on the 66 Skylark GS and Wildcat GS

Pretty certain these covers could be ordered over the Buick parts counter. 

 

ebay CA 66GS3.jpg

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Edited by JZRIV (see edit history)
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All,

  The AIR injection was technically an option on the Wholesale Car Order form but was specified for California cars only.

  946 Rivieras were built with the single 4 barrel GS and AIR option.

  The AIR system was not required on the dual 4 barrel Superwildcat MZ GS cars destined for California delivery...but the closed crankcase ventilation was.

Hope this helps,

Tom Mooney

 

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, JZRIV said:

Some more. One of these was also taken at the 2012 CA ROA meet. Buick probably modified an existing mold for the 66 valve cover to include dimple rather than build a new mold to have 2 different covers 1 for CA and 1 for the other 49 states for what would be the last model year. 

 

I don't think data exists that tells us how many GS Rivs were built for CA. If anyone would know Darwin would. Of course the covers were also used on the 66 Skylark GS and Wildcat GS

Pretty certain these covers could be ordered over the Buick parts counter. 

 

ebay CA 66GS3.jpg

080.JPG

081.JPG

Hi Jason,

  The `66 Skylark GS cars came standard with painted valve covers and air cleaner. There was an engine dress up kit that was available as an accessory at the dealer but it is unclear as to whether the Skylark kit used the cast aluminum valve covers or chromed steel valve covers. I`ve made a study of each year`s accessory engine kits since the James Foor auction and have found there is contradictory descriptive evidence for the `66 kits...I`m still digging through info.  

  There was a distinct part number for the Skylark GS and full size car engine dress up kits so I am leaning toward the valve covers as being the difference. But there is also the possibility the engine dress up kits for the full size cars had a chrome plated version of the tallish standard air cleaner. As I stated, I`m still digging!

  As you stated, the Wildcat GS cars did come from the factory with the same cast aluminum valve covers as the Riviera GS cars.

Tom

Edited by 1965rivgs (see edit history)
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There’s a person in Brighton Mi. That as a Dress up kit in the box, part number 981151 (from 66 parts manual) it contains alum valve cover. I think the chromed valve covers were listed in the 65 parts manual, even though there pictured in the 66 accessory manual. 

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4 hours ago, Chasander said:

There’s a person in Brighton Mi. That as a Dress up kit in the box, part number 981151 (from 66 parts manual) it contains alum valve cover. I think the chromed valve covers were listed in the 65 parts manual, even though there pictured in the 66 accessory manual. 

Hi Chuck (?),

  Wow! That`s just the sort of reference I`m looking for, ie, actual NOS kits. I have pics of an NOS `65 kit. I`d  really like to have a pic of that `66 kit for my research!

  I believe your right on about the picture in the `66 accessories literature. In spite of the fact the text describes cast aluminum valve covers the pic shows the stamped steel chromies...but I think the pic is a `65 kit. The pic shows a dimpled breather which relates to `65, my experience is the `66 chrome breather is smooth on top. But since the `66 accessory brochure also lists distinct part numbers for the kits for the big cars I thought maybe the cast aluminums came in the big car kits and the chromies came in the Skylark kits. One of the reasons I suspected that is because there is a July `66 Motor Trend road test that has a pic of a `66 GS engine bay with chrome air cleaner and stamped steel chrome valve covers?? But I also have a pic from a `65 road test that shows cast aluminum valve covers on a `65 GS! The more research I do the more contradictions I find. I`m even having a hard time drawing concrete conclusions as to which way the snorkel points on the standard version cars! Ugh...

Thanks Chuck,

Tom

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On 6/1/2021 at 2:18 PM, 1965rivgs said:

All,

  The AIR injection was technically an option on the Wholesale Car Order form but was specified for California cars only.

  946 Rivieras were built with the single 4 barrel GS and AIR option.

  The AIR system was not required on the dual 4 barrel Superwildcat MZ GS cars destined for California delivery...but the closed crankcase ventilation was.

Hope this helps,

Tom Mooney

 

Thanks Tom for confirming the number of GS Rivieras sold for sale in California in 1966.  

 

May I ask where you gleaned this bit of statistical data?  Ward Yearbook, or Buick factory data?

 

We are fortunate indeed to have you on this board to share your depth of knowledge on these cars!. 

 

 

 

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