Tag: V8

Here’s What Makes The Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt Such A Big Deal – Alvin Reyes @SlashGear

Here’s What Makes The Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt Such A Big Deal – Alvin Reyes @SlashGear


American automaker Ford was lording over Chevy and fellow automakers with its magnificent Y-block flathead V8 engine during the mid-50s. In response, General Motors and Chevrolet introduced its small-block V8 engine in 1955 — the precursor to the brand’s lineup of LS V8 engines that we know today. Ford debuted its Fairlane lineup of full-size coupes and sedans that same year, equipped with an inline-six or Y-Block V8.

But as the muscle car scene grew traction in the 1960s, Ford experimented with a two-door Fairlane hardtop explicitly built for drag racing. According to Motor Authority, Ford wanted a Fairlane equipped with its next-gen FE series V8 engine that could win professional drag races and take home an NHRA title. 

Based on a fourth-generation Ford Fairlane coupe, the Fairlane Thunderbolt was born to conquer the drag strips, which it did. It won the 1964 NHRA Top Stock award in its first year of production, further cementing its reputation as the baddest of track-only 60s muscle cars.

Ford’s ready to race

The 1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt is a bare-bones machine typical of race-prepped production cars. It may resemble a standard Fairlane from the outside, but the Thunderbolt is a different car underneath its body shell. It had a reworked front and rear suspension with modified traction bars and asymmetrical leaf springs. It had no radio, heater, back seats, or sound insulation, and Ford engineers utilized fiberglass for the doors, hood, and bumpers to save more weight. Moreover, the initial batch of Fairlane Thunderbolts had Plexiglass windows to reduce heft (per Motor Authority).

Read More: https://www.slashgear.com/1180594/heres-what-makes-the-ford-fairlane-thunderbolt-such-a-big-deal/

Other mods include a trunk-mounted battery, a set of drag radials by Goodyear and Mickey Thompson, an electric fuel pump, tubular exhaust headers, a locking differential, and an aluminum scatter shield. According to Modern Driveline, an automatic-equipped four-speed Fairlane Thunderbolt ran the quarter-mile at Lions Drag Strip in November 1963 and posted 11.61 seconds at 128 mph, tremendous numbers for a factory-prepped drag car.

[Image by PMDrive1061 via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0]

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The Rearview Mirror: One-Upping Chevy; the 1932 Ford V-8 – Larry Printz @TheDetroitBureau


Chevrolet was eating Ford’s lunch. But Henry had a better idea.

It’s 1932, the height of the Great Depression. Nearly a quarter of all Americans are out of work. What money is being earned buys less, as a 1931 dollar is worth 90 cents in 1932.

The President, Herbert Hoover, is a pariah — so much so that during his re-election campaign, Detroit’s mounted police are called to protect the president from jobless auto workers chanting “Hang Hoover.”

Of course, things aren’t going well for automakers either.

The previous year, 1931, Ford sold 395,000 Model As, down significantly from the million-plus vehicles sold in 1929. But the whole industry is down, having sold 1.1 million units, down from 4.5 million in 1929. 

But the slump in sales hadn’t deterred Henry Ford’s plan to beat Chevrolet: build a Ford with a V-8 engine. Unheard of in a mainstream car, it was introduced 90 years ago this week, at the height of the Great Depression.

Henry Ford, above, developed an affordable 8-cylinder engine that could be mass-produced cheaply in a single casting.

A wild idea to top Chevy

Whereas Ford once commanded 50% of the car market with his Model T, his refusal to change it gave competitors a chance to catch up, offering more power, more comfort, more amenities and colors other than black. And it wasn’t just Chevrolet. Mid-priced brands like Oldsmobile, Nash, Dodge, Hudson and others nibbled away at his dominance. While Ford still had the industry’s largest market share, it was sliding. By 1926, it stood at 36 percent.

By 1932, Chevrolet topped Ford with more style and more cylinders, as seen on this the 1932 Chevrolet BA Confederate Deluxe Phaeton . Photo Credit: RM Auctions.

The Model T was losing its luster.

So Ford shut down his factories as he developed his next car, the Model A. It would be a sea change from the Model T, with markedly better performance, thanks to its 200.5 cubic-inch 4 cylinder that produced 40 horsepower, double that of the Model T. It boasted a far more modern design and employed a 3-speed manual transmission, rather than the T’s planetary gearbox. 

But while Ford’s factory shutdown cost him the lead in sales, it would reverse itself in 1928, with the arrival of the Model A. By mid-1929, Ford sold 2 million of them.

While Ford thought the car was good enough to last a decade, Chevrolet one-upped him, introducing its 60-horsepower “Stovebolt Six” and overtaking Ford. 

Something had to be done. 

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V-8 pairs that share displacements but not manufacturers – Diego Rosenberg @Hagerty


If you’re an AMC owner and get tired of questions like “Why did they install a Chevy engine in an AMC?”, this story is for you. Ditto Studebaker folks who must deal with people asking about the Ford 289 in their Lark.

It wasn’t only Independents who used engines that shared displacements with a mill from another manufacturer, of course. General Motors had several 350- and 455-cubic-inch blocks over the years, though they didn’t always measure exactly as advertised, as we recently laid out in this article. Here are sixengines that shared similar dimensions yet hailed from different manufacturers. We even tossed in a special Mopar example that has long confused enthusiasts.


Chevrolet’s 327, which powered the most pedestrian and the most sporting of Bow Ties, is legendary. However, the Chevy was preceded by Rambler’s 327, which debuted in 1957 in the celebrated Rebel. In the Rebel, the 327 put out 255 hp with mechanical lifters, a Carter four-barrel carburetor, and 9.5:1 compression. (A Bendix-developed electronic fuel-injected unit upped the rating to 288 horses but never reached production.)

The Rambler 327 also was available in swan-song Nash and Hudson models but, though it still made 255 hp, featured hydraulic lifters and slightly lower (a half-point less) compression. Alas, the limited-edition Rebel lasted but one year, though the 327 would continue to play the role of AMC’s big gun, powering American Motors’ senior Ambassador models through 1966; for 1965–66, the 327 was also available in mid-size Classic and Marlin models. Kaiser-Jeep also adopted it for several years. Peak horsepower during this era was 270 thanks to a Holley four-barrel and 9.7:1 compression.

In contrast to its Rambler counterpart, Chevrolet’s 327 was a solid middle-of-the-road offering for most of the decade. Debuting for the 1962 model year in full-size and Corvette models, the 327 evolved from the 283 and, in Chevy’s engine hierarchy, sat just below the big-blocks. It came in 250- and 300-horse variants, both of which used four-barrel carbs. In its final appearance in 1969, the 327 was only available in 235-horse, two-barrel guise.

The 327 truly shone in the Corvette. In addition to the 250- and 300-horse pair, Chevrolet also offered 340- or 360-hp versions, the latter sporting fuel injection. Horsepower peaked in 1965 with the 375-horse Fuelie, but the 1965–68 L79 with 350 horses was a popular compromise between horsepower and drivability.

The L79 was also available in the 1965–68 Chevelle (strangely skipping the ’66 model year) and the 1966–68 Chevy II, though the lesser, four-barrel versions were available too

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5 famous V-8s whose displacements stretched the truth – Diego Rosenberg @Hagerty


We know that the 1960s were full of horsepower hijinks, but did you know that manufacturers sometimes fibbed about the size of their engines? Indeed, that burbling V-8 in your beloved classic may actually not measure up to its promised displacement. We rooted out five of the worst offenders.

Ford/Mercury 427

Available from mid-1963 to mid-1968, the 427 was Ford’s crowning achievement in the 1960s, carrying the torch during Ford’s “Total Performance” reign of global competition. However, to American enthusiasts, the 427 is best known for powering Fords and Mercurys to success on the drag strip and in NASCAR. The FE-series engine was introduced at the same time as Ford’s semi-fastback roofline for the Galaxie 500 and Galaxie 500/XL (as well as Mercury’s Marauder sub-series), and the silhouette’s aerodynamic advantages helped maximize the engine’s performance on the banked ovals. The street 427 was available with either a single or pair of four-barrel carburetors for 410 or 425 horsepower, respectively. Several thousand 427s were built through 1964, with popularity falling drastically in 1965, the last year of big Mercury; in its swan-song year of 1967, the 427 was installed in 89 full-size Fords.

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Did American Motors really poach the Rambler V-8 design from Kaiser-Frazer? – David Conwill @Hemmings


Success has many fathers. Failure is an orphan. Lee Iaccoca made sure everyone associated him with the success of the Mustang, but who is to blame for the Edsel? Digging into those stories illuminates business culture even today.One interesting anecdote, largely unexplored, is the question of where the American Motors Corporation V-8 that debuted in 1956 came from. AMC only came into existence when Nash and Hudson merged in 1954.

Neither marque previously had a V-8, though Nash had long used overhead valves. Hudson was well known for its powerful flathead straight-sixes. To compete in the mid-’50s, though, a company absolutely had to have a V-8.At first, it appeared that the solution was to purchase Packard’s new V-8 engine, which had debuted for 1955. A detuned version was available in both the Nash Ambassador and the Hudson Hornet for 1955 and part of 1956.

Unfortunately, the arrangement between the companies broke down, leaving AMC to fend for itself.In a remarkably brief time, AMC replaced the Packard engine with its own design, a 250-cu.in. V-8 that grew to 327-cu.in. by 1957, when it made a big splash under the hood of the compact-sized Rambler Rebel.

The Rebel wound up being the fastest American sedan that year—beating out the likes of the supercharged F-code Ford, the fuel-injected Chevrolet, and even the vaunted Chrysler 300C.

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Early Overhead Valve Cadillac V8 Engines – Hot Rod Engines 101 – @Irontrap Garage


Another excellent engine 101 video from Matt at Irontrap

One of the most popular engine swaps for early hot rodding has to be the early Cadillac OHV engines.

The 331 was first released in 1949 and was used in hot rods almost immediately. The first generation of engines are almost identical and a vast majority of the parts swap between.

Cadillac’s were known for making good power and torque stock and were quite smooth running engines. Speed equipment can be a little expensive, and hard to find at times.

One of the downsides to the engine is the lack of adjustable rockers, but you can use early aftermarket rockers or stock Studebaker rockers.

There are a lot of great articles written in the vintage magazines about swapping an early ford, and plenty of early hot rods and customs for photo reference. Let us know in the comment section below what Hot Rod Engine we should cover in the series next!

A little Studebaker V-8 history with one of the most successful Stude drag racers – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


In every niche in the collector car world, there are people you stop and listen to, no matter the occasion. When it comes to Studebaker drag racing, that person is Ted Harbit, who’s been campaigning the cars from South Bend on dragstrips since the Fifties. We’ve covered Ted’s Flyin’ Tomato in the pages of Hemmings Muscle Machines and have caught him at the Pure Stock Drags over the years, but more recently Ted weighed in on Bob Palma’s recently highlighted column about the Studebaker V-8. So let’s stop and listen to Ted’s story, told from his own keyboard.

I’m 84 years old and have driven Studebakers since I got my license at 16. My first car was a ’50 Champion and being a very economical six it was not a “hot” car. My next car was a ’51 Commander with the first year Stude V8 and found it to be almost impossible to destroy. It was a convertible and I entered it in the first NHRA National Drag Race held in Indianapolis. The oil pressure was really low on it and since I was going to enter it in the NHRA Summer National Drags in Indy I wanted to overhaul it but when I tried to “blow” the engine, I could not. I run it until the valves floated in first and second many times but it just kept on running. The oil pressure was about 5 pounds at idle and only would go up to about 20 while driving it even up to about 5000+ rpms when the valves would start to float.

When I gave up trying to blow it up I tore it down and the rod bearings looked worn but not completely shot. The main bearings still looked decent. I think the cam bearings