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#39 of 88 Is that true.....
Feb 04, 2003 (4:04 pm)
that there was no "break-in" requirement for 60s Caddys? I'd be surprised if that were true for two reasons--
1)Per Mr Shiftright's comments they were mass produced and probably didn't have exceptionally close tolerance except compared to other mass-produced engines of their time.
2)If tolerances were in fact exceptionally close cylinder walls might scuff more readily if they were not broken in carefully.
Correct me if I'm wrong. I'm no expert on Caddy yaks.
Feb 04, 2003 (4:19 pm)
Mr S- IMO: you have an extremely slanted & disparaging view of Cadillac and you obviously blow right over numerous facts that contradict your breezy generalizations. 'Cadillacs are just Chevrolets' and 'bus engines shame Cadillac engines' is pure laughable fabricated nonsense.
The facts remain- Cadillac outperformed Mercedes in the 50s, the 60s and into the late 70s in almost every criteria of consumer focus, yet some people still try and pull the modern day 'perception blanket' back 3 or 4 or 5 decades, fooling themselves that what may be now always was then. "Philosophy" does not assure "reality".
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The only C body I am aware of is the Fleetwood Sixty Special. In 1970 it's wheelbase was an amazing 133", but at least you got freestanding footrests & tray tables in the rear seat with the extra length. The Series 75 limos rode 149" wheelbases (in '70 & for many years) and were the only D bodies.
Feb 04, 2003 (4:46 pm)
Andys120- you are incorrect; Cadillac's manufacturing tolerances were tighter and more exact than any other manufacturer- it's the very hallmark of Cadillac's creation. Founder Henry Martin Leyland wasn't called the 'Master of Precision' idily.
While Cadillac was on the low-end of 'mass-production' in the '60s (all production was still in one plant), that does not mean measurable superior results cannot be obtained & sustained. After all, the best human hand-finishing cannot equal the precision machine tool, either in initial accuracy or consistancy. Read over my posts above- as Dave Berry says "I am not making this up".
Here's the text from a 1968 Pontiac Owner's Manual:
"We recommend the following- Avoid sustained high speed driving during the first 600 miles as shown below:
1st 200 miles - limit speed to 50 MPH
2nd 200 miles - limit speed to 60 MPH
3rd 200 miles - limit speed to 70 MPH
Care should be exercised when operating in lower gears to avoid high engine speeds ususally caused by rapid acceleration during the break-in period."
Here's the text from a 1972 Buick Owner's Manual:
"Limit speed to a maximum of 65 MPH during the first 100 miles with moderate stopping & starting. After the first 100 miles, speeds may be increased gradually as mileage accumulates, but up to 500 miles avoid driving for extended periods at any one speed."
Here's the text from a 1966 Cadillac Owner's Manual:
"Your new Cadillac is ready for all normal driving just as you receive it from your dealer. Precision manufacturing techniques have prepared it for the road and a formal break-in period is not required."
Don't you think it rather unlikely that Cadillac -nearing 'mass-production' as it was- would risk financial ruin with massive warranty costs & horrendous publicity associated with broken-down & oil-burning new engines just so they could lie about the break-in period????
Well beyond the 3 random Owner's Manuals I happen to have handy- Cadillac's no break in period is well documented, and the reason is superior machining techniques.
What do Mercedes Owner's Manuals say???
Feb 04, 2003 (7:51 pm)
Andre and argent: When Pontiac brought out the Grand Ville in 1971, it was a B-Body with a C-body greenhouse. Pontiac had been trying to get corporate approval for use of the C-body for years, but management said "no." This was a compromise. At least, that is what Jim Wangers claims in his book "Glory Days - When Horsepower and Passion Ruled Detroit."
jrosasmc: In the 1960s, GM deliberately held Cadillac production below demand, which boosted used car values. A quality product with attractive features and styling, combined with production held below demand, resulted in a car with great resale value and a golden public image. Unfortunately, by the 1970s GM forgot that formula.
Feb 04, 2003 (8:08 pm)
"This is why, for instance, a Honda S2000 sports car is really not that much slower than a Corvette, the latter with an engine of 3 times the size."
This may be true, but an S2000 has to be revved up to levels that would make a Corvette puke its guts out before it makes any power, while a Corvette is melting down asphalt and wasting tire life in the lower end of its rev range. And in stop and go city traffic, the S2000's engine would probably be about as exciting as a base Honda Civic. And considering the heavy cars I like to drive, all that low end grunt is a neccesity.
Feb 04, 2003 (11:01 pm)
Well all I can say to anyone who wants to know more about it, is go have a nice chat with a friendly auto restoration shop that works on both Cadillacs and Mercedes engines. They'll show you the guts. That way you don't have to believe a word I say.
A Cadillac V8 from the 60s is just a normal everyday cast iron V8 like any other, and compared to a Benz, the casting work is rougher and the machined tolerances are looser. You've heard the term "blueprinting", and how you get more power from an engine when you do that? What that really means is just cleaning up all the roughness and imprecision in an engine such as a 60s V8.
Actually, sometimes this wood-stove simplicity solves problems far more brilliantly than the complexity-obsessed Germans could have (Chevy's pressed rocker arms are strokes of genius, even if they are cheap and ugly--they work!).
The Cadillac owner's manual, by the way, should be taken for what it was meant to be, a guidebook for mature drivers. Obviously "normal driving" means normal for a 55-60 year old driver in this case, don't you think?
The very *beauty* of an American V8 of the 60s was that it was built fast and loose. Unlike say Ferrari or Mercedes, both of which had rather "narrow engineering", an American V8 was extremely tolerant of deviation in manufacture and deviation in settings and adjustments. A Cadillac V8 will run at a wide range of point gap settings or valve clearances or grades of gasoline or types of oil or heat ranges of spark plugs---IT DOESN"T CARE!--, but a Benz or Ferrari will not, and will get very fussy. This liberalty in American engine building often results in better reliability for the American V8 of those times, but not necessarily better endurance under high speed. America tried to win LeMans for 40 years, off and on, but couldn't because it didn't have engines strong enough for 24 hours at the max. Ford finally did it, packed up and went home, and it didn't translate onto the assembly line.
Europeans were substantially ahead of us in building high speed engines in everyday production cars in the 60s.
Reasons? Nothing to do with brains. Their fuel was expensive and their factories all bombed out. They started in 1946 with a clean sheet while we kept building updated versions of 1939 Buicks until the 1980s. Cubic inches = torque. What Americans are building now are basically European cars of 15-20 years ago, I mean in concept and execution, not literally.
PS: Even a 1968 Toyota Corona engine, if the dirty truth be known, is better made than a comparable year Cadillac and just about as good as a Benz, if I dare utter that in public--in fact, they are shockingly high quality. I was amazed when I took apart the first one. No junk in that engine.
I don't mention that to be mean, but only to illustrate that you can't tell about an engine until you disassemble it sometimes. Like the folks who say "Oh, a Porsche engine is basically a hot rod VW engine". Well, lay them both out on a bench and it becomes immediately apparent even to the novice that that concept is entirely wrong.
Feb 05, 2003 (6:21 am)
It one thing to hold a few parts in your hands, it's quite another to determine how accurately they have been machined without verification via sensitive checking devices- devices that are far & above the level of precision practiced by Joe Rattlecan. Or the human eye.
From the very beginnning Cadillac used Johansson checking blocks: the 'B' was accurate to 8 one-millionths of an inch, the 'A' to + or - 4 one-millionths and the 'AA' to = or - 2 one-millionths. The latter were only used to check the 'A' blocks, kept in temperature-controlled environments and never touched by human hands.
Cadillac engines are factory blueprinted beyond the capabilites of any restoration shop. The shops simply do not have the machinery investment to duplicate -much less surpass- factory specs. And I have been in high-performance engine rebuilder shops and seen how they work.
Again- Cadillac's average owner age in the 50s and 60s was assuredly lower than even today's and they were driven as hard as any other car for the most part. Nevertheless, no manufacturer would risk the publicity & warranty payouts in case even a small portion DID drive it very hard right from the start, especialy for a policy that was NEVER advertised. It's simply fact, tho apparently an unpopular one here.
'American V8s' are not the same thing as 'Cadillac V8s'. The Cadillac-engined Allard did finish 3rd at LeMans in 1950- so I guess it WAS strong enough to finish, eh? Of course Cadillac did not actively-back competition efforts, so their infrequent results there are no measure for their ABILITY to compete.
#46 of 88 Here's a good example...
Feb 05, 2003 (11:16 am)
...of the kind of tackiness that started bugging me about Cadillacs in the '70's...
This is the door panel of a '75 Eldorado convertible. Actually, it wouldn't be bad except for that fancy-schmancy molded wood-look plastic around the pull-handle.
In all fairness, everybody was guilty of tacky extravagances like this in the '70's, but for some reason Cadillac really started to excel in "out-gaudy-ing" the rest!
Truthfully though, the lack of money and garage space would keep me from buying one of these moreso than a bunch of tacky plastic (I actually kinda like the '75-76 Eldo 'vert and '75-78 coupes), but I still just have to ask...what the heck were they thinking??!
Just for comparison, here's an interior shot of a '75 Toronado. It doesn't show the entire door panel as clearly, but from what I can see it looks more tasteful than the Eldo's...
Of course, the color might have something to do with it, too!
Feb 05, 2003 (12:56 pm)
"Actually, it wouldn't be bad except for that fancy-schmancy molded wood-look plastic around the pull-handle."
Hey! That's gen-u-ine 100% real plood your badmouthing! That's some high quality work right there. Yessiree, Bob, some right fine plood on that car!
Feb 05, 2003 (8:30 pm)
Mr. Shiftright: "You cannot run a precision engine at max RPM when it is new, at least not back in the 1960s. Even now it's a bit risky."
I'm curious - I've owned several brand-new Honda Civics, and most recently purchased a brand-new Honda Prelude. The only "breaking in" instruction I was given by the dealer was to avoid running the engine at the same speed for any length of time during the first 500 miles.
When I asked about keeping the car under a certain speed, he said that wasn't a concern - just don't run it at a CONSTANT speed for any length of time during the first 500 miles. I always thought Hondas had precision-built engines, so why didn't the dealer give me a warning about not immediately running a new car at high speed?