Last post on Oct 22, 2009 at 12:59 PM
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What is this discussion about?
Feb 26, 2003 (2:50 pm)
I don't think you'd gain anything by such a conversion and in fact would end up with a considerably slower car I'd imagine, due to slower revs, less torque, sloppier transmission (softer shifting) and hardly enough HP gain to make a difference.
So you'd lose 0-60 speed, top speed and fuel mileage. What you'd gain is getting rid of Benz's lame a/c and the expense of having to rebuild a 6.3 engine (probably about $15,000)
The 6.3 would go 0-60 in 6 seconds or less and due to a 2.85 diff delivered respectable fuel mileage. It could use this economy diff ratio because of its massive grunt, 434 ft. lbs of torque at 3000 rpm. (Source: Nitske's "Mercedes Benz 1946-1995).
The 429 is no match for this engine but it was a nice engine for a Cadillac-type of car.
Feb 26, 2003 (3:00 pm)
What I meant actually was using the Cadillac engine in a six-cylinder 250SEL (same mechanicals save the engine) or non-6.3 300, not _converting_ an existing 6.3L.
Feb 26, 2003 (6:21 pm)
Oh,gotcha...yeah, that makes more sense, although I'm not sure there's room in a six-cylinder Benz. The 250SE, or the later 280SEL, are both Type 108 cars, while the 6.3 was a type 109. So a different species there.
The reason Cadillacs were so wide is partly because of the engines they used.
Feb 26, 2003 (6:35 pm)
Hmm. A good point, that. The upshot is more "Benz sedan with a cheaper, potentially more powerful, if less sophisticated American powertrain." I recall seeing somebody who'd done that with a 250 SE and a Ford 289 some years ago. I don't remember how much of a hassle it may have been, though...
Feb 27, 2003 (5:52 am)
"The reason Cadillacs were so wide is partly because of the engines they used."
Completely untrue. There is no correlation between engine width and body width: Cadillacs are no wider than any other full-size domestic of the same time period. Case in point- 1964 Cadillac: 79.5" wide, 1959 Buick: 80.75" wide.
In fact-- even a 472/500 Cadillac engine is only 2 inches wider than a Chevy small block:
W L H
Cadillac 472 28" 30.5" 28"
Chevrolet 327 26" 28" 27"
Feb 27, 2003 (6:00 am)
...the reason those old cars were wide was because that's how people wanted them, not because of any engine size. Those old engine bays were huge, with plenty of room on either side, and often in front, to work on the cars. I'd guess that most full-sized cars from the late 50's on up to when the final overblown '79 Lincolns often flirted with the 80" width.
Besides, wasn't the Cadillac 472/500 the basis for the later 425 and 368? Well, those 368's ended up in cars as narrow as 70-72", which is close to modern Accord/Camry/Altima territory!
BTW, don't (or didn't) some states have a law regulating the maximum width of a passenger car? I thought it was 80" (although a few cars have gone over that)
#119 of 152 of course the engine size matters to styling!
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Feb 27, 2003 (8:56 am)
I think you both misunderstood what I meant. Probably I didn't phrase it properly.
The dimensions of the engine heavily influence the height and width of the car, this is inescapable. Also, a powerful engine tends to encourage a bigger car since it can push it along.
The Olds rocket 88 engine of 1948 made car big in other words.
With a monster V8 of large dimension, like a 429, you need extra width for the suspension, a big transmission hump since the engine is usually set back to make the car driveable and somewhat balanced, and then a huge trunk to compensate for all the room it took to house the monster engine and transmission.
Some cars slanted the engines (Dodge Dart, Mercedes 300SL), why others have to add bulges or hood scoops (carburetor clearance). But most cars just wrapped the engine in a big body.
Even today the V8 /V10 makes for a wide car. Look at the Corvette or Viper for instance, or the Ferrari for that matter. Their engines are about as squished as you can make them right now, height-wise, but still require a wide body.
Fuel injection helped all this somewhat on modern cars because now we don't have to make carburetor clearance; also alloy V8 engines can be smaller and lighter.
More to the topic, this is why our dream cars might not be so easy to build, as we often can't chop into the suspension to accomodate wide engines....and MOVING suspension on a car is a major, major project.
People don't dictate styling. I have never ever believed that. They vote on the styling after the car is built, with their checkbooks.
Feb 27, 2003 (12:57 pm)
Sure a powertrain creates an 'envelope' that must be worked around, that's a no-brainer.
But plenty of models started out as straight 6s or straight 8s then went to V-type engines and NEVER had to widen the car because of that. This clearly proves that most cars have enough room underhood and that most appreciable engine displacement increases (or even cylinder configurations) do not directly influence each other.
I see your problem: a 429 is not a "monster" engine, being only 2 inches wider than a 327 small block. It may displace a lot more cubic inches, but externally it's very compatible. That's how people decades ago could create 'Studillacs' and 'Fordillacs' and even a few 'Mercedillacs' without widening their much narrower cars.
So statements like "The Olds rocket 88 engine of 1948 made car big in other words" are terribly misleading. The '49 Olds (the Rocket V8) is not any wider than the inline 6 & 8 Olds's of '48, in fact, the front track got narrower in '49 (57" vs. the '48's 58").
Case in Point III: 1965 Ford Galaxie 500 XL 427: 77.3" wide. If the 77" was a necessity of there being a 427 V8 underhood, pray tell how were 356 Cobras built with a 427 when they were only 61" wide at the front fenders (only a half-inch wider than a '66 Beetle).
#121 of 152 The main reason...
Feb 27, 2003 (3:25 pm)
...that cars went to wider engine bays was simply that's how the styling advanced. In the 30's, cars had separate fenders and narrow hoods covering their engines. As styling advanced, the fenders got larger and filled out, becoming wider and ultimately in-line with the passenger cabin. As the cars got lower, the hoods also got lower, wider, and more integrated to the flow of the fenders. As a result, this opened up more room in the engine bay.
Why did cars get wider in the first place? The market demanded it...people wanted 3-across seating. Well, you really need at least 57" of shoulder room for that (according to CR...I'd say more like 60" to be considered a "true" full-sized car). So, unless you want your doors to be one inch thick, with no crush space whatsoever and noplace for the windows to roll down into, you're going to need a car that's around 75-80" wide if you want a full-size interior. If the car's 75-80" wide at the passenger cabin, it's going to be close to that across the front fenders, as well, unless it's severely tapered like some cars are today.
Feb 27, 2003 (6:13 pm)
Two points, and then I'll move on...
First, one of the reasons I was thinking a Cadillac V-8 is that the Caddy 429 was one of the lightest and most compact engines for its displacement -- the engine block was redesigned in '63 to make it more compact and lighter, and it weighed only 595 pounds dry, only about 50 pounds more than a 327/350 Chevy and only 30 pounds more than an Olds 330/350.
On the other hand, even a few inches of width can make a substantial difference in terms of wedging something into an engine bay, as anyone who's ever tried to change the spark plugs on a 390 or 428 engine '67-'68 Mustang or Cougar can attest. (Or seen the work Kar Kraft had to do with repositioning the front suspension towers to fit the 429 semi-hemi to '69-'70 Boss 429 Mustangs.)
The Ford 260/289 small block fit pretty readily into the AC Ace to create the original Cobra. But stuffing the 427 side oiler into it went along with a total redesign of the suspension for the big-block Cobras... (Not only because the 427 was physically larger, but also to account for the fact that it weighed something like 200 pounds more than the small block.)