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Comparing Older Domestic Engines

hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
edited August 2014 in Chevrolet
Let's start with a comparison of the Chevy Stovebolt, Ford flathead V8 and the Mopar flathead 6. Which of these was best, overall, and why?

I'd vote for the Mopar, for its comparative reliability and economy. Sure, the Ford V8 was faster, but not by much in stock form. The Stovebolt had overhead valves, a comparatively modern feature, but from what I've read it was neither as reliable nor as durable as the Mopar.
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Comments

  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    My '39 Chev would leap off the line against the flathead V8's, but by 55 they would always go by me.

    The exhaust sound of the flathead's is much preferred over the 216 Chevy 6 and you didn't have to spend a lot of time adjusting tappets.

    I remember the flatheads went through a lot more fuel pumps too.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Weren't the Ford flatheads also more prone to overheating and head gasket failures than the Chevy Stovebolt, or was that directly related to the fact that more of them were modified?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 24,382
    Weren't the Ford flatheads also more prone to overheating and head gasket failures than the Chevy Stovebolt, or was that directly related to the fact that more of them were modified?

    I think the Ford flathead V-8 was prone to overheating, right from the get-go. One thing I always thought was interesting is how it had two upper radiator hoses, one for each head. Initially, I thought that was to provide better cooling, but more than likely it was done out of necessity, because Ford KNEW these things would overheat!

    Did it also have two lower radiator hoses as well? It's been awhile now, so I can't remember. I just remember the two uppers gave the engine bay a neat, symmetrical sort of look.

    One thing that surpised me though, is how lightweight the Ford flathead is. I always thought those things were a bulky, heavy lump of an engine, but I've seen 525 lb quoted, and 569 for the 1953 239 CID. In comparison, the Chevy stovebolt is listed at 630 lb! I always knew the Stovebolt was heavier than the smallblock V-8, but the fact it was heavier than the old Ford flathead surprises me.

    Unfortunately, the tables I find online don't list any of the old Mopar flathead 6es. I'd be curious to know what they weighed, in comparison. The slant six, which replaced them, weighed 475 lb
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    I think it depends whether or not you are viewing these engines in the context of their time, or the context of *our* time.

    If viewed by 1933 standards, the Ford V-8 was sensational, since it brought power and speed to the common man, along with V-8 prestige---a form of prestige that was considerable at the time.

    Buick had already pioneered efficient ohv inline 6 engines, so the Chevy Stovebolt was more of a continuation of technology rather than something new on the market. Nonetheless, the Stovebolt, along with very snappy Chevy styling, allowed Chevrolet to run neck and neck with Ford and then surpass them in sales.

    The Mopar flathead was smooth, and economical, but obsolescent by 1933---still, in straight 8 form they got the job done for many years to come.

    By 2010 standards, the award has to go to the Stovebolt, as one of the most durable and long-lived engines in automotive history, along with the Chevy V-8 shortblock and ironically, the Jaguar OHC I-6.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    edited September 2010
    For purposes of this discussion I think we should only consider those engines within the context of their time. By later standards, not to mention modern standards, they were all obsolete. Those old engines certainly did their job for millions of owners in their day, and were probably significantly improved compared to the engines of the '20s and early '30s.

    We can certainly expand this discussion to include the pre high compression, short stroke 6 and 8 cylinder engines offered by Pontiac, Olds, Buick (on which you commented), Lincoln and the independents. For example, I understand that the Nash Ambassador's OHV 6 was rugged (seven mains?), smooth and economical.

    Yeah, the Jag I-6 was more technically advanced than any of the domestics we're discussing here. Too bad the same couldnt be said about the electrical system.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 15,407
    edited September 2010
    When you long lived, how many years is that?
    The SBC started in 1955, but when did that design get replaced?
    I think the 4.8/5.3 was a different design.
    Random thought. How about the small Buick V8 that was adopted by Land Rover?
    That was around for quite a while.
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT, 2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 1
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    edited September 2010
    you mean for the Chevy short block V8? From 1955 to 1997---so 42 years. Then came the next "generation" (which I guess is called the LS1).

    For the Jaguar OHC I-6, that was 1948 to I think 1988, so 40 years.

    Chevy Stovebolt 6 --- 1929 to 1962, so 33 years

    Ford Flathead V8 -- 1932--1953, so 21 years

    Chrysler Flathead 6 1932 to 1959, so 27 years. (still used for industrial engines for at least another 10-12years).

    So I guess the "Champ" is the Chevy Short Block, although some might argue the VW air cooled motor because of all the years being made in Mexico.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,345
    In comparing those engines, the 216's were pretty tough but they did have babbitt bearings and splash lubrication. If driven carefully, they would last a long time. They did not, however like high RPM's.

    The flatheads were pretty amazing. If the were running right, they could idle so slowly you could watch the fan spin around. They had only three main bearings but that part seemed to work out. the did tend to overheat even with two water pumps. They also liked to burn valves which took some doing to fix.

    Chrysler didn't go to an overhead valve engine until 1960. The flatheads were pretty tough as I recall as long as you weren't in a hurry.

    In 1953 on Powerglide cars, Chevy went to the wonderful 235 with full pressure lubrication. by 1954 they all had this. Those were the best engines of the bunch by a wide margin at least in my opinion.
  • texasestexases Posts: 9,438
    You can get some 'modern' Ford flatheads now, interesting combination of old and new technology. One maker talked about how some of the overheating of the old ones was caused by incomplete removal of the casting sand. No idea if that was true...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Flatheads had the advantage of pretty good TORQUE for their displacement, probably due to decent bore sizes and long stroke. They were lazy acceleration engines, though and they ran out of breath pretty quickly.

    Flatheads remind me of diesel engines in the way they behave.

    With some of the really large displacement Straight-8 flatheads, like the 40s Packards or Hudsons, you could pull a house down with those things.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,345
    An overhead valve straight eight Buick is another powerhouse that were hard to kill.

    Nothing sounded quite as nice as and old Chevy six with a split manifold. The best combination was to run a straight pipe (no muffler) on one side and an 18" glasspack on the other. What a sweet sound especially going down a steep hill in second gear. If you spotted a cop, you better shove in the clutch or you would get a noise ticket.

    I grew up in a Chevy town but I remember the flatheads sounded good too.

    Not so the Chrysler six's. With a split manifold they made a raspy unpleasant sound. Not many Mopar products where I grew up. Mostly Chevys.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    I had an old Studebaker that came with some kind of aftermarket cylinder head (flathead 6) and dual carbs. It was still a pig but looked great. I'm sure an engine overhaul would have helped some. As I recall, the head was an old "Edmunds". !!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,345
    edited September 2010
    I knew a kid who inherited a "bullet nose" 1950 Studebaker. It was black and it was spotless inside and out.

    He thought it was so cool to drive by the high school in second gear and switch off the ignition only to put it back on as he eased up to a corner full of kids.

    I won't say who taught him that trick. :)

    It didn't take long fro him to need a new exhaust system and he put on a set of duals. Then he actually lowered that Studebaker to the ground.

    Within a few months the car was junk. Nobody cared about Studebakers back then they only made fun of them. Too bad. It was so nice when he got it.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Although I'd heard the terms, what exactly were babbit bearings and splash lubrication? By contrast, what did competing engines have?
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,345
    edited September 2010
    The splash engines didn't have full pressure to the rod and main bearings. They used scoopers on the crank that "splashed" oil onto the bearing surfaces which were babbited. Other engines used replaceable insert bearings and typically had 30 or more pounds of oil pressure.

    Chevy hung on longer than anyone else I think?

    Maybe someone can post a link that would explain this better.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    edited September 2010
    isell and shifty, let's focus on the GM 8 cylinders mills for a moment. How do you rate the Pontiac and Olds I-8s (in the context of their time, of course)? Aside from the displacement and power differences, were they better or not as good as the Cadillac flathead V8? I take it that the Buick OHV I-8 was the best of the GM eights, right?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    edited September 2010
    Oh I think pound for pound the Oldsmobile Rocket 88, America's first mass-produced OHV V-8, was the best of that particular era. Cadillac soon came out with an engine that is not internally related to the Olds Rocket, but which represented all the good things learned from Olds' first effort.

    Buick kept a Straight-8 ohv motor for a while longer, until their famous "nailhead" V-8, but I don't think that engine had anywhere near the performance characteristics of the original short-stroke, hi compression Olds V-8.

    The Olds engine was truly an automotive milestone, and it paved the way for all the engine-driven options and electrical gadgets we see popping up in the 1950s.

    No flathead could have handled the chore of driving AC, power this and power that, and the monstrous, elephantine cars that were to come in the late 50s.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    edited September 2010
    Thanks for your explanation, but my question related to the pre-Rocket V8 engines, most of which remained in production for several years after the the '49 Olds and Cadillacs were introduced.

    To clarify, your comparison of the Olds Rocket and the Buick was between the '49 Olds V8 and the Nailhead, not the Buick I-8, correct?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    correct.

    Oh the Cadillac flathead V-8? I really don't know much about them. I've driven a few, and certainly they didn't have the punch of the OHV V-8s of the late 40s. They struck me as a smooth lazy kind of powerplant.
  • armesarmes Posts: 32
    edited September 2010
    I have a 1917 Oldsmobile Model 45 Touring that has a flat head V-8, babbit bearings, a gear driven oil pump that puts out 15 psi. and instead of the flat tappets found on most flat heads this one has roller tappets. It is a beautiful engine and only has 1,226 miles on it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    edited September 2010
    Babbitt means the bearings are POURED into the con rods. This works okay but babbitt tends to be soft and hence cannot withstand heavy duty use.

    That Olds engine is interesting because it is a split case, not a monobloc like the later Fords.

    Olds also made another V8 in 1929 (gee, bad timing).

    I think the 1917 was something like 40 HP, which, for 1917, was relatively powerful.

    Here's the Chevy V8 of 1917, but it looks like an OHV engine to me:

    image
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Re the Stovebolt: "If driven carefully, they would last a long time."

    I think that could be said of any of those old (post ~1932) engines.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,345
    The flathead Olds and Pontiacs were available both in six cylinder models and eights. Tough engines that didn't cause many problems.

    Of course in those days a valve job was a 40,000 mile event and a total overhaul with a rebore usually happened around 80,000 miles.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    "Nothing sounded quite as nice as and old Chevy six with a split manifold."

    I heard one or two, and they did sound good. The Ford flathead V8 with glasspacks sounded really good too. The Fords seemed to rev more freely than the Chevy and Mopar 6s too.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    edited September 2010
    "They were lazy acceleration engines, though and they ran out of breath pretty quickly. Flatheads remind me of diesel engines in the way they behave."

    Overdrive was definitely helpful for highway cruising with those engines.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    "...in those days a valve job was a 40,000 mile event and a total overhaul with a rebore usually happened around 80,000 miles."

    I'm wondering whether that would be the case if modern synthetic oil and unleaded gas were used.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Good question. Of course, getting a cylinder head off was pretty easy---it was just a slab of steel over the pistons. Not much to a cylinder head. This presumes, of course, that the head bolts don't snap off, which they do with alarming regularity on a flathead.

    I doubt that carbonization would be much of a problem today, but babbit bearings are still babbit bearings, and fewer and fewer people are able to offer this service to hobbyists.

    Rebuilding a Ford Flathead is quite an expensive repair these days.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    "Oh I think pound for pound the Oldsmobile Rocket 88, America's first mass-produced OHV V-8, was the best of that particular era. Cadillac soon came out with an engine that is not internally related to the Olds Rocket, but which represented all the good things learned from Olds' first effort."

    Better than the '51 Chrysler Firepower hemi V8? The Chrysler and '51 Cadillac engines both displaced 331 c.i., but the Chrysler V8 out out 180 vs. 160 for the Caddy. Torque for both was identical, at 312 foot pounds.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Drag racers played with the Cadillac V8 and the Hemi and the Olds V8 but once the Chevy V8 came along, that was the end of the competition.

    I owned both a '56 Chevy with a 283 and a '55 Dodge Royal Lancer with the Hemi, and the Chevy was quite a bit faster and more responsive. Besides which, you could do more to it, and more easily.

    You can't argue with how things turned out. People embraced what worked the best.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Excellent points.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 24,382
    I'm wondering whether that would be the case if modern synthetic oil and unleaded gas were used.

    Synthetic oil and unleaded gasoline will definitely help, but so will many other factors. Just about ANY fluid used in a car today is much improved over years ago. The oiling systems on cars are better, as well. Many cars back in the old days didn't even have an oil filter! On some, it was an extra-cost option. Then, there was that "oil bath" thing that I never really understood.

    Air intake systems are also better these days, and are better at filtering contaminants and keeping them out of the engine. And, the simple fact that most of America is paved these days, and as much as we might gripe about the roads, they're a VAST improvement over what they were in the old days. With everything being paved, it keeps a lot of dust out of the air, and out of the crank case.

    If you could go back in time and transport a 30's or 40's car to today, it would be much more reliable than it it was back in those days, simply because of the improved roads, fluids, etc. Similarly, if you took a modern car back in time, and subjected it to the roads, fluids, and conditions of the era, it wouldn't stand a chance.

    Another thing about those days, is that 40,000 miles, 80,000 miles, or whatever, was totally different from that kind of mileage today. Case in point...when my grandmother was a kid, she lived in Harrisburg PA, and would come down here to Maryland to visit relatives. She remembers it being an all-day drive. The road went through every blessed town between here and there, and I think they had to cut through downtown Baltimore, even. Lots of traffic lights, or even stop signs. And no doubt the grades going up and down the hills and mountains were much more strenuous.

    Fast forward to today, and I can make the same trip, roughly 110 miles, in less than two hours without even trying. And there are all of 9 traffic lights on the route...all of them in the ~5.5 miles between my house and where I get on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway!

    Needless to say, those 110 miles of almost pure highway driving are a lot gentler on the car, any car, than 110 or so miles of constant city-type and back-road driving.

    By the same token though, I don't know that I'd want to make the same trip in, say, a Model A! I've seen people do it though, especially when I go up for the Hershey show. It's actually a bit scary seeing those old Model A's and such puttering around at 40-45 mph, or less, on I-83!
  • wevkwevk Posts: 179
    "But the McMeekin Brothers are running in the XO/GALT class, a category for naturally aspirated vintage engines , so at first glance what looks to be and L-28 from an old Datsun turns out to be a classic Buick Straight 8, figures for these blue oval" boys.

    http://www.topspeed.com/cars/car-news/the-world-s-fastest-s13-ar78281.html
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,345
    The oil wouldn't even have to be synthetic. All modern oils are so much better now than in the old days. Modern cars run hotter now and warm up much quicker.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 24,382
    I owned both a '56 Chevy with a 283 and a '55 Dodge Royal Lancer with the Hemi, and the Chevy was quite a bit faster and more responsive. Besides which, you could do more to it, and more easily.

    I didn't think the 283 came out until 1957? Anyway, there are other factors at play here. For one thing, a '55 Dodge probably weighs around 300-400 lb more than a '56 Chevy. And, which Hemi did you have? Dodge offered two of them in 1955, 270 CID units that put out 183 hp standard, 193 optional. And which 283 did you have?

    Back when I was in college I worked part time as a waiter at Denny's. I started talking cars with the store manager, and mentioned that I wanted to get a '57 DeSoto. He said that he had one back in 1965. It was his first car as a teenager. He paid $500 for it. Fireflite 4-door hardtop, pink and white, with the 341 4-bbl. 295 hp. People made fun of him because he drove an orphan, but he said that orphan used to embarrass many much cooler cars!

    He sold the DeSoto and bought a '57 Bel Air convertible with a 283. However, I don't know WHICH 283. But, he said it was a total dog compared to the DeSoto. But, being a 1957 Chevy, and especially a convertible, the coolness factor more than made up for the fact that it was a dog.

    Now, okay, maybe in this example, it's not fair to compare a 341 to a 283, because of the extra torque. But when you consider a '57 DeSoto is a LOT heavier than a '57 Chevy, that should also even things out.

    The one road test I've found of a 1957 DeSoto was of a Firedome convertible, which used the weaker 341-2bbl, rated at 270 hp. 0-60 in around 9.7 seconds, with the Torqueflite automatic. I remember Consumer Reports testing a 1957 Chevy with the 220 hp 283, and I think they got 0-60 in around 11.5 seconds. However, I can't remember if it had the Powerglide or Turboglide. While at Mopar, the 3-speed Torqueflite improved acceleration over the 2-speed, I think with Chevy, the Turboglide actually hurt performance a bit?

    FWIW, in 1957 Consumer Reports bitched about the DeSoto Hemi for being TOO powerful! Damn whiners! :P I think they picked on them because that year's Firedome and Fireflite had the best combination of hp-CID-overall weight in their respective classes, and the Torqueflite probably put that power to the ground better than the DynaFlow, or GM's 4-speed Hydramatic, or whatever automatic that Mercury was using that year.

    But yeah, the Chevy smallblock is great for hopping up. It's small, so it can fit in a lot of places a Hemi or Caddy V-8 can't. And while it's heavy for a smallblock (it outweighs the Ford smallblock and the Mopar smallblock...even the older poly-head Mopar smallblock), it's still lighter than those other engines.

    And the low reciprocating mass is good...great for hopping up. As long as you beef up the block accordingly. And the best thing about the Chevy smallblock? It's cheap! That's the reason it lasted so long; it was a lot cheaper to build than the Buick, Olds, or Pontiac engines. That's probably also the reason there's such an aftermarket for it...since it was cheap, it was common, and since it was common, there was a huge market for performance mods.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,345
    When I was in high school, I had a buddy who had his heart set on buying a 55-57 Bel Air. Instead he saved a ton of money when he bought a 1957 Dodge. It was a 4 door and it was gold and white.

    It had a little D-500 emblem on the back that we didn't know anything about.

    It would seriously make a 283 Chevy look like a Mo Ped. This Dodge would lay rubber for as long as you held the gas pedel down!
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 24,382
    It had a little D-500 emblem on the back that we didn't know anything about.

    And that wasn't even the most brutal of the engines! The '57 D-500 used a 325 that was converted to Hemi-heads, and depending on configuration, put out either 285 or 310 hp. The regular 325 poly-head, for comparison, only put out 245 hp with a 2-bbl, 260 with a 4-bbl.

    The REALLY serious engine that year in a package known as the D-501. They took a Chrysler 354 and put a Hemi head on it, and got 340 hp out of it! That year, I think the only Chrysler Hemi was the 392, as the 354 had gone to poly-head, with 285 hp in the Windsor, 295 hp in the Saratoga. Chrysler did that for a couple of years, where they'd take the previous year's New Yorker Hemi, turn it into a poly-head, give it to the Windsor, and then the New Yorker would get a bigger Hemi.

    There's a guy who lives about a mile away, who has a '59 Coronet with the D-500 package. I forget though, if he has the 320 hp 383-4bbl, or the 345 hp 383-dual quad?

    Speaking of which, that same year, the 383-4bbl that the DeSoto Fireflite used was rated at 325 hp, while the Adventurer's 383-4bbl was rated at 350 hp. I wonder if there really was any difference in the engines versus Dodge, or if the marketing department just "gave" the DeSoto engines 5 more hp to make them look better. Not that 5 hp makes much difference.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 24,382
    to show just how bad cars got in the late 70's/early 80's. Consumer Reports did a test of a 1955 DeSoto Fireflite. 200 hp gross (probably 150 net), 291 4-bbl Hemi, and a car that weighed about two tons, and relied on a 2-speed automatic. 0-60 came up in around 13 seconds. I remember they also tested an Olds 98 and got 0-60 in around 11.5 seconds, and they also tested a big Nash in that episode with a big 6-cyl, and it came in around 15.4.

    In 1980, Motortrend did a domestic luxury car test, and Mopar's entry was a New Yorker 5th Ave, with a 318-2bbl. All of 120 hp net. Still probably weighed around two tons, but at least was aided by a 3-speed, rather than a 2-speed automatic. And it did have the benefit of about 9% greater displacement, so torque might've been a bit better. 0-60? 14.1 seconds.

    Progress, huh? The main reason, I guess, that this test pops into my mind is that it's a comparison of two cars that are very close in weight and displacement, and look what 25 years of supposed progress gets you! I guess I can cut the 1980 engine some slack though, as it had to contend with emissions restrictions.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,345
    The 501's were extremely rare.

    I'm not sure what H.P. my buddy's 57 Dodge had but it sure surprised a lot of people. It didn't handle or stop well at all but could it ever blast off the line!

    When driven agressively it got about 7 MPG as I recall.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 24,382
    Yeah, I think the 501 was mainly a race engine. Y'know, 7 mpg, when driven aggressively, really doesn't sound that bad, given the performance and the fun you can have getting aggressive with it. I've managed to get the 360 in my '79 5th Ave down into the high 8's. :blush:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    edited September 2010
    When we were street racing in the 60s, I never, ever saw a Mopar beat a Chevy in a race, given stock engines and street cars. It simply never occurred to us that this was even possible. The 265/283/327 absolutely dominated the street scene. One BIG reason is that few Mopars came with stickshifts!!

    Yes, sure, there may have been certain lopsided theoretical matches one could make up---a Chrysler 300 vs. a Chevy powerglide station wagon? Absolutely, no contest. But in the "real world", the only kids who raced Mopars were the ones who got stuck with them for one reason or another. Drag racing with push-buttons or tiny levers sticking out of the dash? Oh, man.

    Oh wait, I take that back. I DID see a '53 Dodge Cranbrook with fluid drive beat a Mercedes 190 at Rockaway Beach....barely.....

    But more to your point---yes, the Chevy short block was cheap, small, light and for a couple hundred bucks you could build a giant-killer. Modifying a Hemi of the time (not the legendary "Hemi") was a PITA. Nobody made any *serious* aftermarket goodies for them, so only the pros could modify them for drags or those crazy road races in Mexico. (Chrysler did well in those long distance events).
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,345
    Few people have as much respect than I do for small block Chevy engines but I saw a couple of instances when a Mopar just blew a Chevy away.

    I saw a Belevedere with the 383 "B" engine literally blow the doors off a VERY fast 327/300HP 4 speed Impala one time. I was the guy driving the Chevy. It took a LOT to whip my Chevy but he did it in grand fashion!

    Another time I watched a 426 Super Stock Dodge make a 409 Impala look like it had a 6 cylinder.

    With a Torqueflight, you didn't need to be punching any of those buttons either. You just stood on the gas and held on tight! a Torqueflight didn't take back seat to a stick, really. They were a tremendous transmission!

    Having said this, I will always be a GM fan especially when it comes to Chevys and I'll take a Chevy over anythin Mopar.

    They do deserve a lot of respect however for building some damm fast and powerful cars.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 24,382
    Few people have as much respect than I do for small block Chevy engines but I saw a couple of instances when a Mopar just blew a Chevy away.

    I have an old Mopar police car book that has Michigan State Police car tests from 1979-1989, although it does make mention, here and there, of older cars and newer cars.

    In the earlier years, the Mopars were always in the lead with performance. Now in 1980, the Dodge St. Regis got ragged on by the CHP, but that's because California banned the 360, so they were forced to use 318-4bbls, and a lot of the cops were suffering "big block withdrawal", as these 1980 models were replacing models that were several years old, sporting ~250 hp 440's that could still break 130 mph.

    But the 360-4bbl pretty much embarrassed the Chevy 350-4bbl in police cars in 1979-80. It was canned for 1981, but even the 318-4bbl was comparable, sometimes quicker, than the 350-4bbl. And Ford back then was pretty much a non-contender, as the 302 was a dog, and even the 351 wasn't so hot.

    Chevy really didn't start to regain on Mopar until 1985 in police car tests. And ironically, 1985 was the year that the 318 went from a Carter 4-bbl to a Rochester Quadraflood. It was sabotage, I tell you! :P

    By 1989, the Caprice, thanks to a TBI 350 that put out around 200 hp and a 4-speed automatic and 3.42:1 axle ratio, managed to offer about the same performance as a 1979 St. Regis with a 195 hp 360-4bbl, 195 hp, and somewhat tame 2.94:1 axle.

    I don't think they'd surpass the 1978 Fury/Monaco, though, until they started putting the LT-1 350 in the cars for 1994. But by then, they surpassed it by a long shot.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Oh you guys are talking about 60s Mopars. Entirely different animals.

    We were talking about 50s engines.

    Everyone knows Mopar ruled the streets in the mid to late 60s.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 24,382
    Everyone knows Mopar ruled the streets in the mid to late 60s.

    I'd expand this to include the 1970's as well. Once it got to the point that the fastest Big-Three car was a Duster with a 360, and it would beat a Corvette, you KNOW it was over for GM!

    Of course, performance was a bit of a salty word after 1971, and became downright dirty after 1973, so while Mopars (with the right engine of course) might have ruled the streets, GM ruled the showrooms.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,345
    Yes, somehow we drifited from the 50's to the 60's.

    I totally agree with you. The small block Chevies dominated in the mid-fifties.

    Ford's 292 and 312 engines were OK but a 265 Chevy could whip either one.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Some engines get it "right"-- right out of the box (Chevy small block, for one)

    Some need tweaking and development (Ford 260-289-302) to achieve full potential and overcome some weaknesses.

    Some need DECADES of tweaking and development (Buick V-8 later used by Rover) to achieve mediocrity at best.

    And some of course are evolutionary dead-ends. They did their job but do not develop (Ford V-8s from the 50s, for instance).
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,345
    You are talking about the "Y" blocks and I think you picked a great example.

    They weren't really "bad" engines but they weren't great either.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 24,382
    I totally agree with you. The small block Chevies dominated in the mid-fifties.

    I remember in the old Consumer Reports tests where they'd pit a Chevy, Ford, and Plymouth against each other as the "low priced three", the Chevy V-8 would always win...from 1955-57, at least. In 1958 though, things definitely changed. Plymouth quit messing around with those little V-8's and went to the 318 as the standard V-8, with 225 hp for the 2-bbl setup, 250 for the 4-bbl. There was a dual quad with 290 hp, but it was Fury-only. And, from what I recall, the Chevy 348 that came out that year was nothing to brag about. torquey yes, but heavy and not the most sophisticated thing in the world. It would go on to be quite powerful in some forms, especially with the 409. But in base form, it was pretty lame. 250 hp, and that's with a 4-bbl carb! And at that point, the cars were really getting too big and heavy for the 283.

    I always wondered why Mopar never bothered to do much with the 318, as far as performance goes. The had the dual quads for the Fury for a couple years, but then pretty much devoted performance to the big-blocks. Even the mild 318-4bbl went away after 1961 or so, when it was up to 260 hp, leaving just the 230 hp 2-bbl. Mopar did mess around with a hot little 273 wedge from 1964 to around 1967, which put out 235 hp, and there was the famous 340 that put out 270 hp with a 4-bbl, and was under-rated enough that in the gross-to-net transition, it only lost about 10%, while many other engines dropped 25% or more. The 6-pack put out 290. And in the 1970's, the 360 could be had in some comparatively hot versions.

    But overall, it just seems like Mopar never put the performance effort into the smallblock that Chevy and Ford did. If you're comparing the everyday cars that most people bought back then, then a Fury with a 230 hp 318 would usually have no trouble taking on an Impala with the 250 hp 327, or the later 255 hp 350. But, if you wanted more performance, Chevy would just let you get a more powerful 327 or 350. Mopar would force you to go big-block.

    The 318-4bbl did continue in export markets though, and it did come back in the US around 1978 or so, mainly as a California option where the 318-2bbl wouldn't cut it, and then, eventually, as a copcar-only motor.

    If the 318-4bbl was putting out 260 hp in an era when the 361's and 383's were often starting at only 265-270, maybe that was part of it...they just didn't want to step on the big-block's toes?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    The 318 was the "bread and butter" engine---the workhorse, the willing slave for the entry-level V8 market. It also served in many variations of the good ol' Dodge pickup.

    A Mopar V-8 from the 60s mated to a Torqueflite 8 transmission is about the most indestructible engine/trans combination of that era. The only real downside was their weight and their desire for gasoline, which was prodigious. With AC on, and in traffic, you'd be lucky to get 8 to 10 mpg in a Chrysler 300 with a 383.
  • berriberri Posts: 10,165
    My dad was a Mopar man. He always said that Ford's nickle and dimed you to death and if you held a GM more than a few years it would catch up with the Ford maintenance cost due to some kind of major failure. I don't know though, I remember as a kid he had some good, and some not very good Mopars.
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