Joe Werner

1940s cadillac top speed?

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I venture to say that there was no car out there, built before 1949 (Olds 88), that could/can/will outrun a 1941 Buick Century with dual carbs and the 320.3 cid, 165 hp engine. This includes a 1942 Buick Century. I might add that the 320 cid equipped Buicks were barred from the NASCAR circuits after thay outran all of the Fords in 1939 and 1940 at Daytona. That fact was published in the AACA magazine. What car won the first organized stock car race, held at Langhorne Speedway? Year? 1939. It was a 1939 Buick Century coupe driven by Mark Light of Reading, PA. </div></div>

I guess there is only one way to find out...where do we meet for the big race? smile.gif

I doubt anyone with a V-12 Packard or Cadillac V-16 would be interested in running it on a dirt track car race in 1939. The 356 CID Packard engine came out in 1940 but only put into the senior cars also. That engine in the junior 110 Business coupe would have been formidable!

My guess is that the Buick might have an edge at top end with those two carbs all things being equal but remember that overdrive in the Packard which Buick didn't offer. I talked to one owner of a Super Clipper like mine who said that during the Korean War he owned one and used to bet other soldiers in his camp $10 that his car would do 90mph in 2nd gear. He won every bet because the Packard would do it in 2nd - O/D. Even assuming some speedo error it must have still been impressive.

My first car was a 1952 Chrysler Windsor with fluid drive and L-head 6. She was slow as molasses in January off the line but I would cruise the first 4 lane in her at 65-70 without a problem. I wish I still owned her.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Speaking of Cadillac frames, in 1941 they built 3100 Cadillac 62 series convertibles. After the first 1600 or so, the factory welded a large quarter inch thick steel plate about 8" by 12" to the bottom of the X in the frame to ad rigidity. The one we have is an early one & doesn't have the plate. </div></div>

Packards have two similar steel plates on the top and bottom of the X frame also. The car can be supported by this plate alone. In 1951 Packard sent a service advisory to no longer support the car on thie X frame because it wasn't strong enough to support the car as it had in the earlier models.

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Guest BillP

(quote) "I guess there is only one way to find out...where do we meet for the big race?"

GREAT IDEA!!!!!!!

This is the key to keeping old cars original, keeping them from being turned into hotrods, and drawing crowds interested in seeing them run!

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Overdrive was great for cruising, but many cars did not have the horsepower to pull that much gear . I had a 49 Ford with overdrive that was faster in straight 3rd gear than it was in overdrive. It was almost as fast in 2nd overdrive.

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Clip47, the Packard 160 business coupe is pretty close to your "110 with a 356" idea (actually closer to "120 with a 356"). It wasn't a big seller, but I know of at least 2 still around. I'm not sure if it or the more aerodynamic Clipper Su8 club sedan would be faster. In either case, give the Century its due - it would take the early lead, but I think the OD legs it out at the end.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I venture to say that there was no car out there, built before 1949 (Olds 88), that could/can/will outrun a 1941 Buick Century with dual carbs and the 320.3 cid, 165 hp engine. This includes a 1942 Buick Century. I might add that the 320 cid equipped Buicks were barred from the NASCAR circuits after thay outran all of the Fords in 1939 and 1940 at Daytona. That fact was published in the AACA magazine. What car won the first organized stock car race, held at Langhorne Speedway? Year? 1939. It was a 1939 Buick Century coupe driven by Mark Light of Reading, PA. Check the record books. I rest my case. Who else was in that race? Well, Henry Banks, Joey Chitwood and the winner of the 1950 Indianapolis race (whose name slips my mind), to name a few. Check issue #2 (or was it #3) of Special Interest Autos. <grin> </div></div>

Except that the first sanctioned stock car race (by none other than AAA's Contest Board) was the Elgin Road Race in 1933 (followed by another one there in '34, also a couple of events at Mines Field --now LAX-- in Los Angeles), won by none other than "wild" Bill Cummings, who went on to win the Indianapolis 500 Mile race in '35. Oh, and the car that won both Elgins? None other than Ford Model 40 V8's.

However, Langhorne does seem to have hosted the first sanctioned oval-track stock car race.

Art

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I guess there is only one way to find out...where do we meet for the big race? smile.gif

</div></div>

I'm in! As soon as my Century is ready to run, I'm sure I'll have opportunity to run it at the drag strip somewhere, and I don't have many concerns about running it up to its top speed on all-new suspension and brake components. Anyone want to line up against me? I'm really curious now, too!

PS: Does that mean I can't use my NOS Isky cam or shave the head a few thou?

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Matt ~ I think the whole difference between then and now is individuality. Then - each make, even though made by GM, was independent enough to build individuality into their particular make and even their different models. Hence the six different pieces of trim that you noted. Cost was not the supreme commander.

Today - Cost rules all, individuality be damned. That is what happens when bean counters run the auto industry instead of engineers and stylists.

Just my opinion. smile.gif

hvs

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Going back to 1939-40 records have a way of being missleading. Winning a race does not prove it was won by the fastest car. NASCAR ruled that 500 of that make had to be sold & titled to enter. Bill France Sr. drove Buicks himself. A Buick did win at Daytona, but dissqualified for nodified carb. No records show any were barred by NASCAR. The 1949, Indy winner was Bill Holland, from Reading, Pa. He also owned a roller skating rink in town. Mark Light was from Lebanon, Pa. The 50 winner was Johnny Parsons shortened to 345 miles because of rain. Holland was 2nd.

My Dad had a 41 Buick Contv. duel carbs. & yes it was a good runner but still no match for my 40, 160 Packard Contv. with OD. Jack

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Seriously, I did a lot of research on that Langhorne race, and I wrote the article for Special Interest Autos. I got the bug to do that from an old article in MoTor Magazine. I was able to get old scrapbooks from Ted Nyquist's widow (the name finally did come to me...hey, today is myt 66th birthday, I'm getting old and forgetful) and used them to document the story of Mark Light's victory that day at Langhorne. Ted did win the 1950 Indianapolis race. The article was called "The First Roundy Round" ==== Earl Beauchamp, Jr.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I guess there is only one way to find out...where do we meet for the big race? <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

</div></div>

YES! <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> WE'VE GOTTA KEEP IT HONEST.

I'm in! As soon as my Century is ready to run, I'm sure I'll have opportunity to run it at the drag strip somewhere, and I don't have many concerns about running it up to its top speed on all-new suspension and brake components. Anyone want to line up against me? I'm really curious now, too!

PS: Does that mean I can't use my NOS Isky cam or shave the head a few thou? </div></div>

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You're right, memory fails me.....Mark Light was from Lebanon, PA. And I'm wrong on the 1950 race too!! However, I'm very certain that Ted Nyquist did win one of the Indianapolis races....I guess I've got the wrong year....straighten me out. The article about Bill France may have been in the Buick Bugle vice the AA. The article definitely stated that the cubic inch displacement was changed so that the 320.3 cid Buick engine would no longer qualify. Only repeating what I read there. And, I still think the '41 Century will outrun the Packard. <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />

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Well guys, at least you can't say that the President of AACA is too chicken to come on here with an opinion.... <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> And sometimes, he can even admit that he's wrong <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" /> But he's also here to tell ya that he is a "true believer" in the fact that the '41 Buick was the first real "muscle car" in America, meaning to combine speed, power, daring, innovation and youth....oh well, as Howard says, that's only my opinion <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> I'd better get off of here and go back to being good, as well as more demure. <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> Sometimes I like to have some fun too.

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Dyna flash8 as in "Fireball". Nothing wrong with your memory, trying to remember pioneer days of racing. After thinking about all the Indy drivers names you recalled, I believe it was a AAA race, not NASCAR. They were not permited to jump ship. So it could be AAA banned the Buick, as they were King of the Hill back then. I have a list of money won at Indy till 1965 & Teds name not listed. Gee, I sure wish I still had that 40, so how am I going to prove who's the best? Mabe its not a good idea to beat the President, any way. Jack

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First, I don't want anybody to get mad here, just having some rib-poking fun like all of the Ford-Chevy guys do to each other here where I live. Okay? Sometimes we get too serious about all this stuff. It would be fun, wouldn't it, if there could be a "showdown race", but of course it would be a bad thing to race our beautifully restored cars. Call this discussion being about the "fantasy race." It's even good that none of us can ever know the true outcome.

Jack, things seem to come to me in my sleep! I believe that Ted Nyquist, who finished the 1939 Langhorne race 4th, 5th or 6th (I can't recall which) in a 39 Oldsmobile, went on to be the builder or owner of the 1950 Indy car that Johnny Parsons drove to victory in 1950.

You have to be right that NASCAR came later than 1940. When I think auto racing I just think NASCAR because I'm not a true racing fan. Again, stretching my memory, another driver in the Langhorne race, Henry Banks (driving a 38 Buick), had something to do with founding or being President of NASCAR and/or Daytona or a NASCAR Museum later in his life. One of you guys know the correct answer to that. I can't lay my hands on the Special Interest Autos article I wrote, although the magazine is here somewhere.

I am not a race fan, and wrote this article only because the MoTor Magazine article about a 39 Buick winning the Langhorne race peeked my interest because I am a 39 Buick fanatic. The funny/odd thing about that race is that it was hotly disputed. Mark Light ran out of gas a lap or two before the race was over, and Bill Shoop, driving a 39 Buick Special convertible went on to win. Then, they recounted the laps and determined that Mark Light's Century coupe ran out of gas just past the end of the 100th lap of the 100 lap race and gave him the victory. When I wrote the article in the early 1970s I tried to contact Mark Light but he did not respond to my request. Somewhere in the archives of AACA magazines there is a photo of his 39 Buick Century coupe.

This is off the subject, but I think it's too bad the laps weren't miscounted last Saturday when that Dodge blew a tire and hit the wall. I could have spent all week poking fun at my body shop owner buddy here who is a Ford and NASCAR racing fanatic! I never watch NASCAR races, but it happened to come on TV and I couldn't believe the way that Dodge was running away from the pack and watched until he wrecked.

Finally, why is my handle Dynaflash8? Dynaflash8 was the name of the 1938-1940 Buick engine and then they changed the pistons and renamed the engine the Fireball8 in 1941. Although I think the 1941 Buick was probably the pinnacle year of excitement for the straight 8 Buicks for many reasons, and I've owned two and would like another, the 1939 Buick is my favorite for both sentimental and styling reasons. So, hence, my handle --- Dynaflash8

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Dynaflash8

I know you were kidding, thats why I said I could beat your Buick. Some times I tease too much, and is taken the wrong way. My Dad was no slouch when it came to driving fast, and he drove the wheels of the 41. I miss understood about Ted. I thought you meant Indy 500. He did own an Indy car. I think it was a Kurtis-Kraft. Henry Banks was director of racing, later on. Other than that, I don't know about the rest you mentioned. Mark Light had a garage in Lebanon. Some times when we went to Toby Tobius shop we stopped at Marks garage. and raced a few laps with him. I've become less of a NASCAR fan last few years. I'm lucky enough to be able to get garage passes, except for Daytona 500. They don't interrest me any more, so I stay home. Jack

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Jack, Those three or four scrapbooks that Mrs. Nyquist graciously loaned to me to write that article were filled with wonderful racing history. It's over 30 years ago now and who knows where the scrapbooks might be...maybe still in the family. When I was finished with them, I returned them to her with my many thanks. The only name with a lot of coverage in the scrapbooks that I remember was, I think, from the midget circuits. I can't spell the name now, but it was something like Tommy Heinnersmitz or something like that. I forgot to mention that Bill Shoop was from York, PA. Well, we've kicked this subject around and out the door, huh? Kinda off the subject of how fast a flat-head Cadillac would run. Saw my Dad put a 39 Buick Special at 105 on the speedometer once when I was a kid, and I put a 52 Plymouth on 90 for 8 miles once when I was about 18. All it would do too, and after that the Plymouth used a quart of oil every 30 miles....that sort of cured me of trying to see how fast they could go. Now, how fast will a 40 Cadillac flathead V8 go? <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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Earl ~ As I said before, I pegged the speedomoter on my '41 Cadillac Conv. Sedan at 100, many years ago. Straight stick, high speed rear and flapping canvas. I will attest to the fact that it would also do 55 in 1st. You know that car well.

I also owned a '40 Cadillac Conv. Coupe back in the mid '70s, but that car was so loose that anything over 70 was frightening. But since the '40 engine was rated at 135 HP whereas the '41 was 150, there must have been a performance difference favoring the '41.

That's all I have to add to the discussion.

hvs

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Yeah Howard, I know that car well...even drove it once...quite a thrill. Bet that canvas top was like a sail and probably took off a few mph too. I also remember the 40 Cadillac convertible you had and for that matter the 56 Buick 2dr hardtop. We've only known each other 41 years.

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Saturday my wife and I leave for a 1,000 mile tour in our 1932 Cadillac V8 All Weather Phaeton. About 30 cars will join us and all will be of pre-WWII vintage. Chances are, even though ours does not have the highest top speed or cruising speed, it will nevertheless be one of the fastest cars on the tour, including the 1941 Cadillacs. Part of the reason will be that our Cadillac has overdrive. But just as important is its perfect mechanical condition and my willingness to drive at more than a sedate speed (without being foolish). Today most owners drive of pre WWII vehicles drive at relatively slow speeds out of respect for their vehicle, the age of the vehicle, the mechanical condition and the fear that something may break and leave them stranded. Top speed is merely a theoretical question that has little or no practical application for these great machines. But it is fun to talk about it.

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For Burgesss and Clipper '47:

I AM here. But I had nothing to contribute to this particular discussion. I simply do not have any hard info. on the top speeds of these particular cars.

At one time or another, I did own both 40's era Cads and Buicks of various series, but

1) While I do have personal experience with these cars, I am not suicidal; it would not have occured to me to try and take any of them much over 70 mph, given the tires of the day.

Let me explain - there is a "standing wave" phenomena that can tear a old style "bias" tire apart at anything much over 80 mph. As other "posters" have noted, speedometer errors of 8-12 mph or MORE were typical of those days.

Also, the Buick was a long stroke engine, meaning extremly high shock loads on the rods and cranks in the upper rpm ranges. Buick straigt eights did not get "insert" rod bearings until the early 1950's. If you want to know what happens to the straight eight Buicks when you REALLY "stand on them", take a look at the news articles of what happpened to people with "poured babbit" type rod bearings when they "went at it" on the then new Pennsylvania Turnpike. I did NOT make this stuff up, nor do I want to hurt anyone's feelings.

Secondly, I dont have any literature that would shed light on the subject. The old Floyd Clymer / Motor Trend road tests that I have do not go that far back (I havnt seen any that go back past 1949).

Thirdly, I see no point in aggravating people in the chat room. Some of these guys have a real "need" to "believe" in their cars, with "belief systems" that are so fragile, that if you so much as question some of their beliefs by discussing technology that conflicts with them, they go running to the Administrator and ask for conflicting views to be "banned". What's the point in upsetting them ?

Some time ago, we had some people who insisted their stock '47 Buick Super would go over 100 mph, and (cant recall if it was the same guy) that his '47 Buick Roadmaster would go over 120. The mere suggestion that these fellows were being a bit over-enthusiastic in their claims caused a lot of bad feeling.

Bottom line - again - I do still come in now and then to look around, but see no point in "jawing" when we KNOW it is going to upset people. If and when I have useful info. that will benefit people, and if and when I have the time to come in, I will.

Hope you have a mild winter, and glad you decided to keep the '47 Super Clipper!

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Good points, Packard Blue...

Personally, I'm pretty happy that replacing some u-joints and a bent rim has boosted the practical cruising speed of my '41 De Soto from about 45 mph to at least 55 mph...

Guess I'd better invest in some of those $300 Michelin "racing" tires when I take the De Soto out to the Salt Flats for "speed runs"... crazy.gif

Cheers!

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