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#27156 of 29829 Re: 10 best engines of the 20th century [Mr_Shiftright]
Dec 09, 2012 (1:27 pm)
Ward's Automotive is calling that VW flat 4 one of the best engines of the 20th century? I can't think of any car I'd want which came with that engine.
#27157 of 29829 Re: 10 best engines of the 20th century [omarman]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Dec 09, 2012 (1:53 pm)
Well the VW engine has to be put into context---it's hard to deny that when you build 20 million of one engine that it isn't pretty impressive. AND you can have a rebuilt long block sent to your house UPS for around $1000 bucks.
#27158 of 29829 Re: 10 best engines of the 20th century [Mr_Shiftright]
Dec 09, 2012 (3:19 pm)
"General Motors V8 Small-Block"?
#27159 of 29829 Re: 10 best engines of the 20th century [uplanderguy]
Dec 09, 2012 (6:52 pm)
"General Motors V8 Small-Block"?
My guess would be the Pontiac 265.
#27160 of 29829 Re: 10 best engines of the 20th century [andre1969]
Dec 09, 2012 (6:54 pm)
I was thinking the diesel 350
#27161 of 29829 Re: 10 best engines of the 20th century [fintail]
Dec 09, 2012 (6:57 pm)
Well the 350 diesel was influential and important in its own way;)
#27162 of 29829 Re: 10 best engines of the 20th century [dieselone]
Dec 10, 2012 (3:24 am)
Perhaps the Pontiac 301 or Olds 307, andre!
#27163 of 29829 Re: 10 best engines of the 20th century [uplanderguy]
Dec 10, 2012 (7:01 am)
In a lot of ways, I think the Olds 307 was a better engine than the Chevy 305. It was lighter-weight, yet more rugged, thanks to a higher nickle content in the block. I believe it was also cleaner running. For the most part they never put out much hp, although that could simply be Olds tuning them more for economy than performance. For instance, in 1985 the Olds 307 only put out 140 hp, whereas the Chevy 305 had 150 hp in midsized cars like the Monte Carlo and Bonneville (180 in the SS though), and 165 in full-sized cars like the Caprice and Parisienne.
But, the 307 had more torque, 255 ft-lb versus 245, and it came at a lower rpm. I wonder if that's why, in 1987, GM started putting 307's in Caprice and Safari wagons that previously would have used the 305? Or, it could have just been something as simple as having a lot of 307 capacity left over with the departure of the RWD LeSabre/Electra and Delta 88/Ninety-Eight, so they had to find some place to put them?
As for the 301, about the nicest thing I've ever heard about it was that if you're gentle on it, don't abuse it, really, REALLY keep up on oil changes and such, there's a chance it might be a reliable engine. And for 1981, when it went to electronic controls, there are rumors that actually hp was 170, although it was officially rated around 150-155.
By 1981 though, they were really phasing the 301 out. In midsized cars, I think it was limited to the wagons, while full-sized cars were relying mostly on the Olds 307. I guess a lot of Firebirds still used it, for those buyers who didn't want to go all-out and get the turbo.
Kind of a shame though, because if it really did have 170 hp, it would've been a fun combination in something like a 1981 LeMans or Grand Prix.
#27164 of 29829 Re: 10 best engines of the 20th century [andre1969]
Dec 10, 2012 (7:49 am)
Yeah, I don't recall anything bad about the 307. My grandpa had a 307 in an '83 Delta 88. I was able to drive it some when I turned 16 right before he traded it in on an '87 Caprice. The 307 seemed like a smooth and decently powerful engine for the time. Though the 305 in '87 had more power at 170 IIRC.
The 301 OTOH, garbage. Buddy in HS had that motor in an '80 Trans/Am. Fast it wasn't, nor was it durable. It's hard for me to believe that engine had over 150 hp. It was barely quicker than my '86 Escort with a 4 speed manual. I usually could stay ahead of my friend through 1st gear, then by 40 or so, he'd finally catch up and slowly pass me. I'd guess an 80 T/A wasn't particularly light though. How the mighty fire chicken had fallen, from the 6.6 to a weak 4.9L.
#27165 of 29829 Re: 10 best engines of the 20th century [Mr_Shiftright]
Dec 10, 2012 (10:57 am)
That is an impressive list of great engines. There is no doubt that the GM small block V-8 deserves to be included among the best. I don’t have a problem with that claim., but I have a problem with the claim that the Chevrolet V-8 of 1955 deserves the title of being the first small displacement V-8 in a low price car because Studebaker deserves that title.
The first mass produced ohv. V-8 was the Oldsmobile Rocket V-8 of 1949 with 303 cubic inches or 5.0 liters. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldsmobile_V8_engine. In 1951 Chrysler and Studebaker introduced ohv.V-8 engines. The Chrysler V-8 was a large, heavy engine for an expensive car. Studebaker took a different approach. They built a small displacement ohv V-8 (232 cu.in or 3.8 liters) and made it available in a low priced car. Ford had the first L head V-8 in a low priced car (1932-1953) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_flathead_V8_engine says this:
Before this engine's introduction, almost all mass-produced cars affordable to the "average mass-market consumer" (which was a concept that Ford helped invent) used straight-4 and straight-6 engines. Multi-cylinder V-engines (V8s, V12s and even V16s) were produced, but they were not intended for mass production and were generally used in luxury models.
Studebaker was the first to put a small displacement ohv- V8 in a low priced car in 1951, and Ford followed in 1954 with its Y-block engine: General Motors came late to the game and a dollar short with its small displacement V-8 which was was not as good as the Ford V-8 at first. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Y-block_engine
A quick reference to the engine specifications for 1955-57 will show the Ford V-8s ahead of the Chevrolet counterparts in displacement, horsepower and torque. The real enemy of the Y-block was its displacement limit. The original architecture was very small and tight. Even with the benefit of today's technology (aftermarket rods and stroker cranks), the real limit of a Y-block is about 348 in, while the Chevrolet could be modified well past the factory limit of 400 in.
By 1955 you could also get an ohv V-8 in the low priced Plymouth. As noted in my earlier post, the original Chevrolet engine could not get from 265 to 283 cu.in. without re designing the engine block in 1958.
No argument that the Chevrolet V-8 became one of the great engines of all time, but it was not the first and not the best in its original form. Ford gets the credit for the affordable first mass produced V-8, and Studebaker gets first place for the first small and affordable ohv V-8 and first place for a V-8 in a “compact car” with the 1959 Lark http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studebaker_Lark