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smallest v8 engine?

bobs5bobs5 Member Posts: 557
edited March 2014 in Ford
My cousin use to have a 1964 Ford Fairlane with a
260 ci v8 engine. He rebuilt it himself and had
many years of reliable service from this car.
Was the 260 the smallest v8 engine to be available
in a production car?


  • badgerpaulbadgerpaul Member Posts: 219
    No. I'm not sure what the smallest actually was, but I had a 4.1 (250 cid) Cadillac once, it could hardly get out of its own way.
  • bobs5bobs5 Member Posts: 557
    Was it Cadillac which made the 4-6-8 engine. The one which would shut off cylinders to supposedly save gas?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Oh, no, not the smallest by a longshot. The 53-56 Fiat 8V was 121 cid and in full production and in America, the early 50s Studebaker Bearcub V-8 was 232 cid. There's probably even a smaller one buried somewhere in history, but I've save that one for the historians who have the time to look!

    Yes, Cadillac made the 4-6-8, and it was a disaster.
  • prophet2prophet2 Member Posts: 372
    but, Ford had a 221 cid V-8 prior to the 260.

    You're right about that Caddy experiment. Some thought it felt like a 2-4-6-8. Imagine that hog being pulled by 4 cylinders!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yes, that's right, a 221 cid V-8 in the Fairline in 1962 & 63.Fiat still gets the tiny V-8 trophy, but for mass-produced types American cars, the 221 is the smallest I've heard of so far. What were the first Ford flatheads back in the 30s? Can't recall offhand.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    In 1961-1963, Buick Specials came with a 215 Cubic Inch aluminum V-8.

    The 2bbl version produced 155 HP, and the Skylarks had a 4bbl with a different cam that put out 185 HP. My parents bought one new and later gave it to me. It would smoke a 283 Chevy. Those Buicks came with the WORST automatic transmission ever built!

    Trivia question...What was that transmission called?

    Later, Buick sold the alumimum 215 V-8 to the British who used it in a number of applications including Land Rovers even still today, I think!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Oh, yes, of course, (slap on forehead) how could I have forgotten that one...the Buick 215....back then, it was a pretty lousy engine as I recall, overheated like mad. It certainly has become ubiquitous and a workhorse in its many new incarnations (it's not much what it used to be), but I personally wouldn't call it one of the best engines ever made by a long shot. The Range Rover hasn't proven to be a great success in the reliability or economy departments. But I always liked the concept of the small light V-8. Maserati V-8s were among my favorites...

    Morgan uses that engine, too, in its new and improved form.
  • bobs5bobs5 Member Posts: 557

    Not an engine of production cars but interesting.
  • prophet2prophet2 Member Posts: 372
    As I recall, Buick Specials were also equipped with V-6 engines. I remember when I first popped the hood and thought that there were two wires missing from the distributor cap! Those were the days we had SERVICE STATIONS, not gas stations.

    Did GM also have different transmissions for their various divisions? I recall that the Hydra-matic was in the Olds and Pontiac lines.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I think on the Specials the auto trans was called Turbine Drive if I recall, and it was about as anemic as the engine...but you know, it's still one of my favorite 60s cars (in two-door hardtop form).
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    It was called a Dual-Path Turbine drive. I remember the tiny transmission pan was secured by just one bolt! The bolt was in the middle of the pan and it used an O ring for a pan gasket.

    It was a TOTAL piece of junk and I doubt if you could even get one overhauled today.

    Also, that engine wasen't really a bad one. They had a tendency to suffer from overheating because back then, in moderate climates, people would sometimes use straight water in the radiators.

    Those engines were the first V-8 to use an aluminum block which was unheard of at the time.

    The two door Skylark coupes and rare convertables were very attractive. They could be had with a four speed stick even.

    Speaking of transmissions, does anybody remember the Turboglide that Chevy used from 1957-1961 in some of their cars? Pure junk! Most transmission shops would refuse to rebuild them and would do a conversion instead where they would install a Powerglide.

    You might "slip and slide with Powerglide" but they did hold up better.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Yep, the year was 1962 when Buick came out with the V-6 as the standard engine in the Specials.

    They had one rough idle!

    Back in the sixties, Cadillac, Pontiac and Oldsmobile used different versions of the Hydramatic. Some of these were not very good. It wasn't until 1965 (1964 for Cadillac) that the Turbo 400 came out. they were a very strong transmission! I think after that, all of the full sized GM cars used the 400.

    From about 1961-1964, the Hydramatic was the Roto-Hydramatic, also called a "slim jim". They were not very good.

    Chevy only had the two speed Powerglide until 1965 when the 400 came with the 396 and 427 engines, I think.

    The pre 1962 Powerglides were actually stronger then the later aluminum Powerglides. The newer ones would burn out the clutches after 60,000 miles or so which would cause them to slip between first and second gear.

    I'll quit! I've bored you enough!
  • prophet2prophet2 Member Posts: 372
    Not at all! I majored in history and the many recollections by the posters here have helped me reminisce about the days of my callow youth.

    Big block Chevys, Mopar hemis, Pontiac's 230 cid OHC in-line 6, Cruise-o-matic, etc. Tie them in with the "hot rod" songs by the Beach Boys and their contemporaries. In addition to my electric guitar collection, I'd like to get a few '60s cars to adorn my driveway before I cash in my chips.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Nice thing about collecting old cars, you get to spend your chips before you even have a chance to cash in!

    Oh, the use of aluminum engine blocks is as old as the hills, both in the U.S. and abroad, but most American companies in the 50s/60s did not have the experience necessary to do a good job of it. And yes, running the right coolant would have helped a lot. Somehow I think the engine just wasn't right back then, though...it needed more engineering, which the Brits finally gave it.
  • badgerpaulbadgerpaul Member Posts: 219
    I remember talking to a guy who had worked at the local Buick dealer when these came out. He said that the first sub 20 degree day, after they first came out almost everyone they sold came back in on the hook with frosted spark plugs.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Weird...what do you suppose that was all about?
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    OK-The original Ford Flathead in 1932 had 221 cubes-ironically the same as the '62 Fairlane. Later in the 30's [37 I believe] Ford offered it's "V8-60" with 136 CID and 60 horsepower. This engine had a 2.6x3.2 bore and stroke-and what I read says it was never very successful. At a recent Sprint Car race though, there were some old vintage "golden wheels" racers from the 50's and 60's that came to put on a show. One of these was a midget, running an old Ford V8-60, with rare old speed equipment [finned heads, etc] to make it work. Certainly a rare sight! [The smells of those old engines were great-a couple were the old Offy 4 bangers.}
    About the 60's Hydramatic. 61-64 Oldsmobiles and Pontiac Catalina and Venturas used the Roto-Hydramatic. But the Pontiac Starchiefs and Bonnevilles used the older, [and better] 4-speed Hydramatics, as did Cadillac, until 65 when they all switched to the Turbo 400. In the summer of '62, I did my driver training in a Buick Special V6. Shared the dual control car with 2 non-driver females and the instructor, who had to overide their braking and throttle constantly. That Buick had the stiffest throttle spring I've seen. It was "accelerator-brake, accelerator-brake," up and down the Long Beach Freeway in So Cal. Let me out at Pierpoint Landing for a mile-long hot-dog!
  • gkelly3gkelly3 Member Posts: 38
    Did'nt Porsche use an aluminum V-8 in their early-80's cars?
    If memory serves me, they used a design identical with the infamous Vega I4 engine-there were no steel cylinder sleeves-the block was cast out of a silicon-aluminum alloy, and after the cylinders were bored out, they were acid etched to expose the silicon grains. This is what the piston rings rode on. I always wondered how this worked out for Porsche-seeing as it was a complete disaster , in the case of the Vega.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I think Porsche engineers do their homework before they go out and play. They cast the block out of Reynolds 390 aluminum alloy, and as you say, with no cylinder liners. Each bank of cylinders had one overhead camshaft driven by a toothed belt.

    Unlike the Vega engine (a hand grenade waiting to go off), the Porsche 928 V-8 was pretty darn sturdy. The car is problematic for other reasons and not a good car to own. Possibly the only problem I can think of related (indirectly) to the aluminum block was that you need to use a very good, anti-corrosive coolant and change it frquently, otherwise the head to block surfaces corrode, breaking the seal.
  • wilcoxwilcox Member Posts: 582
    The Simca, I think that was how it was spelled, SIMCA had a very small flat head v8. An acquaintance had it back around '63. I know that it was a sedan and that the family didn't have it very long.
    Those people also had a menagerie of unique vehicles. The one that comes to mind was a three wheeler (2 in front, 1 in back) called the Messerschmidt (sp). My buddy nicknamed it the "Mess-of-xxit" LOL.
    Reckon fezo can drag up a picture of that bird??
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Good memory, Wilcox....that Simca was called the Vedette, and the V-8 was only 143.5 CID (2350cc)...this engine is actually Simca's update of the old Ford flathead with its wheezy 85 hp, so it was no rocket by any means.
  • wilcoxwilcox Member Posts: 582
    it looked nice, all tucked under the hood and everything, but seemed to be a weakling. Vedette, what a name! Reckon Chevy borrowed off it?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Maybe INternational Harvester, because Vedette means "scout" in francais.
This discussion has been closed.