Last post on Feb 09, 2011 at 8:34 AM
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Jan 25, 2011 (9:13 pm)
Not many disappointments, or have the complaints been expressed in other discussions?
#39 of 57 Re: GM 5.7 Olds diesel [sda]
Jan 26, 2011 (6:02 am)
I've heard the Olds 350 Diesel is a great engine to convert to gasoline and to build up. It has a beefier block than the regular gasoline 350, so it lends itself well to hopping up. The problem, is that it simply wasn't beefed-up enough to convert to a Diesel.
I remember in 8th grade, I was in a carpool with several other families, because I went to a private school and the bus didn't come out our way. One of the other parents had an early 80's LeSabre Estate wagon with the Diesel. At the time she loved it, but this was also in the 1983-84 timeframe, and the car was still fairly new. I remember her saying it would get 30 mpg on the highway.
IIRC, the 105 hp 1980-85 hp Diesel was a big improvement over the 125 hp version. It still had enough issues to continue the bad reputation, though.
I wonder if getting 105,000 miles out of one of those Diesels should be considered a badge of honor?
#40 of 57 That Reminds Me...
Jan 26, 2011 (6:29 am)
Olds also converted a GM V6 gasoline engine to diesel, and offered it in the Cutlass Ciera. That engine might have also been available in other GM intermediates. I understand it was more reliable than the V8 diesel, but that might not be saying much. I remember asking the owner of one of these V6s, who happened to be refueling next to me, about his experience with that engine, and his response was positive. As I recall, that car had over 60,000 miles on it.
For any of you who may be interested, there was once a discussion on the Oldsmobile V6 diesel in Edmunds. You may be able to find it in the archives.
#41 of 57 Re: GM 5.7 Olds diesel [sda]
Jan 26, 2011 (7:42 am)
That Eldorado sounds nice. Your dad's '79 was basically the same E body used by the Toronado and Riviera until around 1985. In the 80s I had a girlfriend who drove an all white Toronado with white leather and the gas V8. It wasn't the kind of car which I would have shopped for, but wow, once you spent time with it there was nothing else like it!
That Olds diesel ruined the rep of so many GM cars across the board - including high profit upscale models. Imagine if the wankel engine had actually found a home at GM in the 70s. Similar brand-crushing results, I suppose!
I've heard those early Olds 350 D engines shared one particular nasty development with the later improved DX versions: 10 head bolts per side. Whenever GMs Detroit Diesel designed the 6.2 diesel it had something like 17 bolts per side! It has since been replaced in GM civilian trucks, but I've read that engine is still being produced for some military vehicles. But that was a solid, diesel engine design from the start instead of a modified gas engine.
If only GM had taken that path for it's diesel cars back then.
#42 of 57 Re: That Reminds Me... [hpmctorque]
Jan 26, 2011 (12:12 pm)
I had totally forgotten until just now, but I have an acquaintance who has a bustleback Seville with the Diesel. Hp, you saw his car briefly at the Rockville show, as he was leaving. Probably heard it before you saw it, though!
My friend loves the thing, and says it's great, but he took it to some place called the "Diesel Doctor", and had a lot of work done on it.
I always thought it was a shame Olds didn't make a gasoline version of that 4.3/262 V-6, which was their 350 with two cylinders removed. The Olds block was a bit lighter than the Chevy block, and Olds engines tended to have a bit more torque than Chevy engines of similar displacement. Or at least, the 307 had more torque than the 305.
Those V-6 Diesels also went in the FWD C-bodies, I believe for 1985 only, and there was a year or two, I believe, they offered them in the RWD intermediate G-body. It was really too under-powered to go in the big RWD cars though.
#43 of 57 Re: GM 5.7 Olds diesel [andre1969]
Jan 26, 2011 (1:52 pm)
I recall reading that another source of problems with this engine was sloppy production tolerances. Apparently that's a problem in a high compression diesel.
Feb 07, 2011 (8:07 am)
From most of the comments on the "I spotted A ----" discussion, the Marlin qualifies as a disappointment. But how about the Avanti? It was loved my some, admired by many, and remained in production, in various iterations, long after Studerbaker went under. Yet it never sold well. It wasn't really a success, but was it a disappointment? I think it had some of the qualities of both. Did the Avanti have the potential to save Studebaker, if, say, it had been brilliantly marketed, or did its plastic body and style confine it to a niche market?
#45 of 57 Re: Marlin, Avanti [hpmctorque]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Feb 07, 2011 (8:23 am)
I don't think the Avanti could have saved Studebaker. I don't think God could have saved Studebaker.
The Avanti was expensive, was not by any means accepted as attractive by everyone (more of a case where the auto press liked it more than the public, which happens more often than you'd think) and for the $$$, rather under-equipped compared to its competition.
Basically the problem with the Avanti was a microcosm of the problem with Studebaker. Unlike Rambler, they simply could not compete on price with the Big Three---not even close. For a lot less money, you could buy a GM every bit as good, or better.
When the Corvette first came out, it was also low production and a sales failure---but GM had the resources to quickly fashion it into a winner. Studebaker simply did not have the horsepower to correct Avanti's content and marketing problems.
It's no co-incidence that every attempt to reproduce the car also failed. How many votes does a car need before it accepts the public's results?
#46 of 57 Re: Marlin, Avanti [Mr_Shiftright]
Feb 08, 2011 (6:18 am)
I've seen some awful interpretations of the Avanti following Studebaker's demise. The worst was an Avanti based on a late GM F-body. Fit and finish was awful and the car's styling was really awkward. It looked as if somebody tried to graft an Avanti front and rear onto a 2000 Camaro.
#47 of 57 Re: Marlin, Avanti [Mr_Shiftright]
Feb 08, 2011 (8:13 am)
The first post-Studebaker owner of the Avanti, Nate Altman and his family, built the car for nearly twenty years. The company was sold only after Nate, and later his brother, died. I'm not sure that could be considered a failure. It was a 'kit' car...and sold as such, around 200 a year. I truly cannot remember anything else even remotely like it, business-wise.