Last post on Feb 22, 2002 at 10:33 AM
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Coupe, Convertible, Sedan
#33 of 42 GM Turbos of the 60s:
Feb 09, 2002 (11:39 am)
When the first wave of "compact" GM cars hit the streets in the early 60s, GM spiced the lineup with Turbocharged versions of thwe Olds F-85 and the Corvair Monza. I believe these were the only turbo motors available in the US market at the time, import or domestic. They didn't stay on the market for long. Once the Buick-Olds aluminum
block V-8 became available consumers did not see the advantages of the turbo 4 and they were quietly dropped.
#34 of 42 What turbo 4?
Feb 09, 2002 (1:55 pm)
As I remember, the only other turbo at the time [American, anyway] besides the aluminum Olds V8 was the Corvair turbo 6. Is this what you meant, or was there some turbo 4 I never heard of?
Feb 09, 2002 (3:25 pm)
Nobody saw the advantages of the turbo motor in either the F-85 or the Corvair because the gains were modest and the technology new, not very reliable, and complex by 1960s standards.
The F85 (turbos used only in '62-63) first drew the air/fuel mixture through the carburator before it reached the turbo. The turbo sat between the V over the intake manifold. An anti-detonation fluid was injected downstream of the carb but upstream of the turbo. It was a mixture of methyl alcohol and water, consumed at a rate of about 8K per gallon. Maximum boost was only 6 psi.
The Corvair system, again, was one that drew air/fuel through the carburator, and was equally inefficient as the F-85 for this and other reasons. Unlike the F-85, the Corvair system was pretty rough and ready, not refined at all. While the car was faster than a normal Corvair, it still could only pump out 0-60 in around ten seconds and a top speed of 100 mph. (the F-85 was 8.5 seconds and 115 mph). One problem with the failure of the Corvair turbo, aside from the fact that the car itself was ready to be dumped by GM anyway, was that the turbo option cost 25% of the entire cost of the car!
I'm not aware of any 4 cylinder turbo installations at this time. The next major turbo debut was Saab in 1977, and they got 117 mph and 0-60 of 9.1 seconds but with only 121 cubic inches.
So for the sake of history one should credit GM with the first turbo installation in a producton car, and Saab with the first successful turbo installation in a mass-produced car for general consumption. GM invented, Saab perfected (not exactly true, but you get the idea. The Saab system was better developed because they had another 15 years to twiddle with turbos).
#36 of 42 GM wasted a perfectly good engine.....
Feb 09, 2002 (9:31 pm)
in the mid to late '60s Buick/Olds 215 Aluminum V8. Fortunately for the performance-minded, the Brits bought out the rights to it and installed it in all sorts of hi-po and not so hi-po cars....the MGB V8, the Morgan +8, the Triumph Stag, and a variety of Rovers all used it, to great success. These were some wild rides, and to the best of my knowledge, Morgan is still using some derivation of it in their latest roadster.
Feb 10, 2002 (9:38 am)
Actually, the Buick/Rover engine is not all that great an engine, IMO. It's gas hungry and not very powerful, but with lots of mods and development it has become pretty durable, and I think that's what gave it longevity. By British standards, it was cheap, compact power. But if you want to go fast, you don't want to use that engine particularly. It's a bit of a cow, especially in anything with a bit of weight to it. Given the type of cars GM was building then, I'm not surprised they dumped it.
#38 of 42 That was a goof on my part
Feb 10, 2002 (2:16 pm)
The turbo motor in the Corvair Monza was a flat six like all motors available in the "poor man's Porsche".
BTW I friend of mine owned a turbo 'Vair and wasn't shy about taking on big Healey's with it.
Feb 10, 2002 (2:33 pm)
They should be fairly evenly matched on the straights, that's true, but of course the Big Healeys would outrun it easily top end (thanks to overdrive) and outcorner it at any speed, as the early Corvair was an evil-handling car at best.
#40 of 42 Didn't '39, and later Buicks, have a light assembly on the deck lid
Feb 10, 2002 (3:07 pm)
above the license plate in the shape of pointing right and left. The left side had chrome letters, 'BUICK', the right side, 'EIGHT' and wasn't that a turn signal light? Anyone remember?
#41 of 42 Volvo introduced the three point lap/shoulder belt
Feb 21, 2002 (8:43 pm)
in 1959. It didn't become common on US made vehicles for a decade when it became required by law in '69.
Feb 22, 2002 (10:33 am)
One more case of dragging the Big Three kicking and screaming to do the right thing.
Henry Ford's Model A was one of, and perhaps the first, mass production car to put safety glass in the windshield.