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That's right, the A-body Valiant/Dart didnt' get a V-8 until the 273 of 1964. Technically, I think it was called a 273.5 initially. I heard that they had to modify the firewall for 1964-66 to accommodate the V-8, whereas the 1963 firewall was one year only. But, something just dawned on me...the smallblock V-8 would be shorter than the slant six, so why would they need to modify the firewall? Only thing I can think of, is that the distributor was on the back of the V-8, while it was on passenger side of the slant six, so maybe they had to hollow out part of the firewall to account for that? I remember my '89 Gran Fury had a slightly hollowed-out area in its firewall to account for the distributor. It was a pain to get to, in relation to the '68 Dart I had, and especially the three '79 R-bodies I've had (Newport and two New Yorkers).
As for that performance upgrade on the slant six, it was called "Hyper-Pak". It was a hot 4-bbl carb with long intake runners and other mods, that boosted the tiny 170 CID unit from 101 hp to 148. With the larger 225 slant six, I think it bumped it from 145 to 195.
There was also a 2-bbl version of the 225 slant six for Canadian cars in the 1960s, that bumped hp from 145 to 160. Kind of a shame it wasn't offered in the United States, as it would've been a nice alternative to the smaller V-8's of the era. There was a 2-bbl called the "Super Six" offered from 1977-79...by then the 1-bbl had 100 hp net, and the 2-bbl bumped it to 110.
With me, it's pretty much a tossup between '59 and '60 when it comes to GM's cars. For 1960 I prefer Olds and Chevy, for '59 I prefer Buick and Pontiac, and with Cadillac I don't really care...not too crazy about either one. Although, I guess if forced, I might go with a '59 for the Caddy...might as well go all the way, as you said!I used-to pretty much abhor the GM '59's, although in hindsight if I got a chance to buy at a good price, a comparable '59 or '60 Chevy, I'd pick the '59--may as well go all the way! I did like how they two-toned that year--the roof and decklid and fins would be white.
Only in a Pontiac, do I greatly prefer the '60 to the '59.
Well, it looks like I'm back in the fray. I put my 2000 Park Ave in the shop to have it looked over. I was hoping it would just be a lot of maintenance, but it all added up. It needs new brakes and rotors all around. Needs new shocks, and because it's an Ultra with some kind of special leveling/damping shocks or whatever, it's an OEM GM part, and not cheap. It also has suspension issues...tie rods, bearing hubs, etc. Plus, the fuel lines and brake lines and hoses are rotting/rusting out. Then, on top of that, it was running a bit hotter than normal, so a cooling check was in order. Plus a transmission service, and changing the supercharger oil. It's not really high-mileage, only around 111,400, but it's getting old. Oh, and the check engine light comes on intermittently, but I did luck out and it went off before the last emissions test, so I'm good for another two years, there. It's also not looking too pretty these days. The leather on the base of the driver's seat ripped. The paint is fading in a few places. And there's rust forming on the lower edge of one of the back doors.
And, the icing on the cake is that every once in awhile, the trip odometer and trip computer (fuel economy, etc.) will reset itself. And there's a cherry on top...it's died on me 3 times in the last 3 months, despite the battery being good (I think...I replaced it around May of 2013). The first time, it refused to start in my driveway, but I put a battery charger on it, and it started up later. And was good for about a month, maybe a bit more. The second time, it died in an iffy neighborhood in DC. That time, I had a portable jump starter with me, and that did the trick. The third time, about a week later, it died at work. That time, I just popped the hood, smacked around on the battery cables, and it started. And haven't had a problem since. But, that might come back.
So, now I'm in the market for something to replace it with. But the sad thing is, I haven't got a clue what I want. I'm accustomed to bigger, relatively simple cars, but as long as it can hold 4 people in decent comfort, that's all I really need. Plus, they don't really make decent 5-6 passenger cars anymore, at least not in my opinion...you have to go SUV, minivan, or crew cab truck for that.
I'm also not in a big hurry, as I have my 2012 Ram, which is a regular cab, long bed. And now that the weather's getting nicer, I'm going to start driving my antique cars a bit more. Fuel economy really isn't a huge concern, as my commute to work is 2.5 miles each way, although I've noticed my recreational/running around driving has picked up in the past 6 months or so. Still, we're talking under 10,000 miles per year most likely.
Right now, I'd say my three favorite cars on the market are the Dodge Charger, Chrysler 300, and Chevy Impala, in that order. Next runner up, if I went the SUV/Crossover route, would be a Dodge Durango. But, I don't know if I want to cough up that kind of money right now. I've only broken the 5-digit barrier twice in my life...$22,389 for a 2000 Intrepid back in November 1999, and $20,751 for the Ram, back in September 2012. Everything else has either been cheap, an impulse buy, or a hand-me-down from a family member.
I have a feeling this is gonna be a long, long journey...
Well, it looks like the end of an era. My grandmother's 91 year old cousin, who lives next door to me, can't drive anymore, and after living in her house since 1971 (the property, like mine, has been in the family since at least before the "War Between the States"), has decided she wants to sell within the next year. She also can't see to drive anymore, and put her '89 Coupe DeVille up for sale. Here's a pic of it...
It looks horrible, but actually runs quite well. Nice and smooth, and its 4.5 V-8 actually has a nice, muscular sound to it. I don't know how many miles are on it, as the odometer quit working years ago, but I'd guess around 120,000 or so. Asking $800.
Here's a shot further out, which has my house in the background. I thought this would be a cool shot, because I have a few other pics, taken in the past, of other cars in that same rough position. So, here's my cousin's '89 Coupe DeVille, taken just today...
Here's a pic I took back in 2005, when I would sometimes park my Intrepid by the house...
I quit parking there because it was getting too dangerous to back in that spot. Sometimes, the neighbors would have parties, and there were a few times people would park so close that they hit the house when they'd open a door! At that point I decided it was enough, and started planting trees and shrubs to let the area grow up.
And, here's an old black and white pic, that had a 1965 date on the back. At that point the house was used as a rental, so I don't know whose '53 Chevy that is.
Somewhere, packed in my grandmother's house, most likely, are some pics taken back in the late 30's, that show a 1937 Plymouth belonging to my grandmother's aunt and uncle, parked in that same spot. I haven't seen those pics since the 80's...would be kinda cool to find them, and put one of them in the retrospective, as well.
On the subject of broken trucks, there's a place up the street that sells construction materials...dirt, gravel, etc. Usually they sell by the cubic yard. Well, a cubic yard of dirt is a lot heavier than most people think, so every once in awhile, I'll see a disabled truck in the neighborhood. A couple years ago, I caught this half-ton GMC, that made it less than a quarter mile, sitting a bit low on its haunches....
I don't know if it actually broke anything, or if the driver just stopped because the tires were rubbing. But either way, it didn't look too healthy.