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  • Re: I spotted an (insert obscure car name here) classic car today!

    The Chevy 350 is the lightest of all the various GM divisional 350s I believe. If you look at all 4 at a show or wherever, the Chevy is physically quite small in comparison. It isn't very substantial looking.
    Actually, I think it's the Buick 350 that's the lightest, which I find odd, because it's a deep skirt design. This actually carries over to the V-6es of the era as well...I've seen a Buick 231 listed at 375 lb, versus 425 for the 229/262 Chevy engines. The Chevy smallblock is physically small, but when it was first built it was also very weak. However, rather than redesign it from the ground up to make it right from the get-go, Chevy simply beefed it up here and there, which added unnecessary weight.

    The Olds smallblock was also pretty lightweight because it used a lot of nickle in the block, which made it stronger, yet lighter, than what Chevy was doing. As for Pontiac, my understanding is that they never really did do the "big-block/smallblock" thing, but rather came out with, for lack of a better term, a "medium block", which ultimately accommodated CID ranges from 287 CID on up to 455. They'd use a raised deck for the largest versions, when they needed a longer stroke.

    Ultimately, the Chevy smallblock won out, but not because it was the best. Most likely because it was the cheapest. The Pontiac and Buick engines were good units, but didn't adapt well to stricter emissions controls. I'm not sure about Buick, but Pontiac engines tended to run cool, and didn't do so well when the emissions controls forced them to run hotter. The Mopar slant six suffered from this, as well. Pontiac's V-8's got banned in California for '77, and the Buick 350 may have, as well.

    The Olds engine was the cleanest running of them all, and as a result was in high demand, which is part of what led to that whole engine-swapping fiasco. But, as time went on, there was simply less demand for V-8 cars, and by the 1980's, for the most part the cars that were getting Olds 307s were the types of cars people would buy regardless of how advanced the engine was (or wasn't), so Olds never really advanced it the way Chevy did their smallblock. I think the 1990 Olds 307 might have been the last domestic car to be produced with a carburetor.

    As for physical size, I remember years ago my mechanic saying that one reason the Chevy smallblock looks so small is the design of the heads. Same with the Ford smallblock. I guess there could be some truth to that...I remember awhile back, seeing my DeSoto's Hemi all pulled apart, and with the heads off, the block looked a lot smaller than I thought it would.
  • Re: I spotted an (insert obscure car name here) classic car today!

    My '79 New Yorker looked kind of photogenic today, glistening in the slightly post-apocalyptic morning light, so I figured I'd snap a pic...

  • Re: I spotted an (insert obscure car name here) classic car today!

    Looks nice, andre. I seem to remember a lot of those cars being a beige color back then.
    Thanks. Like they say in the old Steve Miller Band song, "Everything's better when wet!" :p

    For 1979, Chrysler built about 15,000 5th Avenue Editions, and every single one of them was a 2-tone cream-over-beige, so that might be why the beige seems to stick in everyone's mind. I think they built around 55,000 New Yorkers in total, so that one color scheme would account for roughly 27% of them.

    For 1980, sales cratered, and I think they only built around 13,000 New Yorkers in total. I don't know how many were 5th Avenues, but Wikipedia states that 7356 were built in 1980-81 combined. For 1980, they added a "Black Walnut metallic" as a color choice on the 5th Ave. Here's a brochure pic of it.

    For 1981, the 5th Ave package offered "Driftwood Gray over Light Heather", "Mahogany Starmist over Heather Mist", or "Light Creme over Light Cashmere". That last one might have simply been the same 2-tone creme/beige from earlier years, just with a different name. For 1979, it was called "Designer Cream over Designer Beige".
  • Re: I spotted an (insert obscure car name here) classic car today!

    Spotted this circa '74-76 Cougar this morning, at the local BP. Looked like it was in really good shape. I actually took a video of it, but I don't think you can post videos to Edmunds, so I took a couple screen captures from it. Definitely something you don't see every day, and I don't think I've seen this car locally before.

  • Re: Project Cars--You Get to Vote on "Hold 'em or Fold 'em"

    If anybody needs any bullet-nose Stude parts, I found this old carcass while hiking in the woods this past Saturday...