Mopar V-8 Engine Families

"Chrysler had far more engine families than most people are aware of. There is considerable confusion because some engines of different families had the same or almost the same displacement, and recognizable
trade names (Hemi, in particular) have been applied to several distinct engine families..."
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Ed wrote:

Its not all that complicated, especially after the switch to a single corporate line of engines with the introduction of the B/RB big blocks in '59, and the standardization on the A-block 318 (and its derivative LA block 273, 318, 340, and 360 as well as the 3.9v6) for the small engines. Throw in the slant-6 and 2.2/2.5 4-bangers and you have covered every Chrysler engine between 1959 and about 1988 when the 3.3 v6 was introduced. Nowhere near as twisted as the mess over at GM with 3 unrelated 455s alone, not to mention a 454, 472, 500, and at least 3 unrelated 350s.
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Steve wrote:

I count four; Chevy, Buick, Olds and Pontiac.
Guess which one was the cheapest to make (and therefore most compromised in design) and guess which one GM standardized on when they went to a "corporate" engine program. What they *should* have done was standardized on the Olds 350 for the "small block" and the Caddy 429/472 for the "big block" corporate engines (in my fantasy world, that is...)
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

I couldn't remember for sure if Pontiac had a 350, so I said "at least 3" :-)

Oh, you're preachin' to the choir on that one. The small chevy was a great engine up to about the 327, but when they had to shorten the rods for the 350 (and especially the 400 which also required siamesing the bores) and never gave it the same block alloy that the Olds, Buick, Caddy, and Pontiacs got.... well, it was not so great. It survives on sheer numbers, aftermarket parts availablity, and familiarity on the part of engine builders and machinists. But a knowledgable person can extract more performance/durability from almost any other v8 engine than from a smallblock Chevy.
Admittedly the Gen-III GM smallblocks are outstanding engines... but then not a part from them really interchanges with the small-block Chevy, either. Apart from keeping the bore-center spacing, they're pretty much a clean sheet of paper.

The 472 (or Olds 455 for that matter) would have been an outstanding heavy-duty truck engine. FAR and away better than the Chevy 454.
As for a hi-performance GM engine, I might have to put myself in the Buick camp, although Pontiac is close too. Being a Mopar guy, I like the long rod length, big bore/short stroke architecture of the Buick. Its the most "Mopar-like" of all the GM engines in those regards, although the Olds is more like a big Mopar in block rigidity. The Buick's light weight is nice too (a Buick 455 weighs about the same or less than a Chevy 350.) But GM never fully addressed its problems- bad oiling system and a tendency for too much block-flex partly BECAUSE its so light. But the aftermarket did a good job with both, so it COULD have been done at the factory.
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Steve wrote:

yeah, I can't decide if I'm really a Studebaker or MoPar guy at heart. The Stude has unbelievable block strength but the MoPars have more revvability. I guess I'd really rather have everything - rigidity, revs, and lots of sweet, sweet boost :)
I currently have a '55 Stude with an Avanti engine simply because Stude prices haven't gone completely nuts like hi-po MoPar prices, although if a nice A-body with a 340 and a stickshift came my way I wouldn't kick it out of my driveway for leaking oil. I still haven't gotten any forced induction yet, but all I'd need to do a quick upgrade would be the blower, brackets, pulleys, and heads from an R-2 Avanti.
Studebaker engines are easy, there were only three basic designs from the 30's on :) Commander (nee Rockne) six, the smaller Champion six (flathead and OHV) and the OHV V-8.
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wrote:

232? And what about the 283?
Was the 194 six the same as either the Lark/Hawk 170 inch six or the 245 inch Commander? I know the Lark engine was an OHV conversion of the earlier flathead of the same displacement..
I thought the V8 before 1954 was a Stude design, and after 1955 or so was a larger Packard developed engine. (not the 352 / 374)
I actually like the AMC V8, myself.
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clare at snyder.on.ca wrote:

yes, with a redesign mid-'62 for a full flow oil filter. The 232 is a little unique as it uses a different bore size than the 224/259/289 but it is the same basic block. Heads and manifolds were redesigned with the intro. of the 224 and 259 for the '55 model year and remained similar to the end. The R1 (hi-po NA 289) and R2 (hi-po supercharged 289) engines were simply regular 289s with flattop pistons, a more aggressive cam/springs, larger fuel pump, larger fuel lines with a return, and more crankcase ventilation for high RPM operation. The 304 (R3/R4) engines had a larger bore yet, but I believe they were the same casting, just hand selected and overbored. The R3 and R4 had a lot of unique parts but were never sold in anything resembling decent volume (double digits, likely.)

That's a McKinnon industrial engine (that is, small block Ch*vy) used after the South Bend foundry closed down after the '64 model year. Not made by Studebaker...

The 194 was also a McKinnon. The "Champion" six came in 170 or 185ci displacements, and the 170 OHV engine was simply a conversion of the earlier flathead.
The 245 (and earlier, smaller related engines) "Commander" sixes are a whole different family, and actually the oldest design, dating back to the early 30's Rockne. One of the longest-lived American engines, used until 1960 in trucks. Nobody remembers it today :) It's actually not bad; I worked on a '41 Commander once and remember when driving it that it was very torquey and smooth but as you would expect had no top end whatsoever. For some reason next to no speed parts were ever made for this engine, save for the occasional aluminum head. You *can* get dual carb intakes and split exhausts for the flathead Champions, which I don't understand...

Nope, the 320/352/274 was the only Packard developed V-8, and the Stude V-8s up to '64 were all evolutions of the '51 232. The '56 Golden Hawk did use a single 4bbl version of the 352 which is about the only good thing that came out of the Studebaker-Packard merger (unless you really hate Packards and consider the death of the Packard nameplate a good thing...) A decent engine design but it was *enormous* and heavy, and also had oiling system problems that were never worked out.

One of the old-school Stude performance fanatic guys was partial to them as well. He seemed to think they would hold up to massive boost almost as well as a Stude but with larger displacement.
Another good engine along those lines is the Toyota straight six used in the Supra and Cressida.
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wrote:

When I worked on the farm in the sixties we had a '49 Stude pickup - the little one - 1/4 ton - possibly half. It would haul 2 ton of feed like a champ. Replaced it with a '61 Chevy 1/2 ton and it could not get out of second gear with a ton on it.

and the Turbo variant (5mgt?)

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The hot setup for years was to build a gas motor out of the Olds 350 diesel block. Good machine shops could even turn the piston tops down and shorten the center-to-center distance on the rods enough to make a livable CR with common heads.
It's easy to put a BOP or Cadillac engine in any GMC/Chev pickup.
That said-the Chevy when properly rebuilt was the best of the GM engines because the "good guy" parts were easily available. Most rodders never read the Chevy power manuals that TOLD you the hot setup GM spent millions to find and instead bought a lot of aftermarket dogshit.
The Chevy Power book said to groove the oil pump base plate just so, reinforce this, deburr that, braze this other. Did people? Mostly no.
Notice the SB and BB Chev and Corvair can easily be set up reverse rotation. Change cam and distributor gears.
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Bret Ludwig wrote:

Not even close
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says...

I for one wouldn't have picked an Olds 350 as my choice of GM 350 engines. I owned two of them, and would take a Chevy anytime.
BDK
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Remember, his definition of a good engine had nothing to do with the quality of the engine, just easy and cheap availability of hot-rod parts.
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Joe Pfeiffer wrote:

I know.
I still think that even by that definition the Chevy v8 is not the "best" GM engine. If you throw aftermarket support in the mix, I would argue that Pontiac moves past Buick and Olds to the top and Chevy is *still* second, at best, among the GM engines. It has the most aftermarket support, but even with Pontiac's weaknesses compared to Olds and Buick, the basic engine design is enough better than Chevy that it still comes out ahead.
And we're really down to splitting hairs. Truth of it is, ALL of the big 3 and all of their divisions made very acceptable and long-lived v8 engines. Mopars were the best (of course...) but I wouldn't kick any of the others out of the garage for a foreign 4-banger or six.
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