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View Full Version : V8 vs 6 cyl. repentance



sals54
03-06-2008, 11:58 PM
OK, so I'm the son of a gun who started the fight about the V8 vs 6 argument. I'm also here to tell you that I've had a chance to drive the flat 6 powered wagon around town. Now this is what these cars are made for. I'm sure that in 1957, you didn't have too many traffic patterns moving along Route 66 at 80 mph. Virtually all the driving being done at the time was in and around town. Well, I can tell you that this car handled that beautifully. I'm still not crazy about the lack of power, but this car drove well, handled comfortably, and stopped on a dime every time. And to top it off, I still got all the thumbs up and the lookers as they drove by and waved. This was a much nicer experience than the terror on the freeway last week.
6 cylinders RULE ! ! ! ( just not above 60 mph )

Mark57
03-07-2008, 12:42 AM
My first couple of cars were VW Beetles... (horizontally opposed 4 cylinders) - so when I first drove an inline 6 (a 185 flathead in a '58 Transtar), it seemed like a powerhouse. Everything is relative! :)

<h5>Mark
'57 Transtar
3E-6/7-122 </h5>
http://i186.photobucket.com/albums/x153/MarkH57/MrGreenJeans1003b.jpg

Mark57
03-07-2008, 12:42 AM
My first couple of cars were VW Beetles... (horizontally opposed 4 cylinders) - so when I first drove an inline 6 (a 185 flathead in a '58 Transtar), it seemed like a powerhouse. Everything is relative! :)

<h5>Mark
'57 Transtar
3E-6/7-122 </h5>
http://i186.photobucket.com/albums/x153/MarkH57/MrGreenJeans1003b.jpg

pitbulllady
03-07-2008, 05:16 AM
quote:Originally posted by Mark57

My first couple of cars were VW Beetles... (horizontally opposed 4 cylinders) - so when I first drove an inline 6 (a 185 flathead in a '58 Transtar), it seemed like a powerhouse. Everything is relative! :)

<h5>Mark
'57 Transtar
3E-6/7-122 </h5>
http://i186.photobucket.com/albums/x153/MarkH57/MrGreenJeans1003b.jpg



I know what you mean; for years, I drove a Toyota RAV-4 with a 4-cylinder engine, so when I got a chance to drive a Stude Champion with the original inline 6, it felt like I'd upgraded from a donkey to a Thoroughbred! Then, when I got that '61 Cruiser with the V-8, that was like upgrading to a cheetah. Even the flathead six handles hills better than a four-cylinder.

pitbulllady

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v669/pitbulllady/Automotive/CloneofDSCF4452.jpg

pitbulllady
03-07-2008, 05:16 AM
quote:Originally posted by Mark57

My first couple of cars were VW Beetles... (horizontally opposed 4 cylinders) - so when I first drove an inline 6 (a 185 flathead in a '58 Transtar), it seemed like a powerhouse. Everything is relative! :)

<h5>Mark
'57 Transtar
3E-6/7-122 </h5>
http://i186.photobucket.com/albums/x153/MarkH57/MrGreenJeans1003b.jpg



I know what you mean; for years, I drove a Toyota RAV-4 with a 4-cylinder engine, so when I got a chance to drive a Stude Champion with the original inline 6, it felt like I'd upgraded from a donkey to a Thoroughbred! Then, when I got that '61 Cruiser with the V-8, that was like upgrading to a cheetah. Even the flathead six handles hills better than a four-cylinder.

pitbulllady

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v669/pitbulllady/Automotive/CloneofDSCF4452.jpg

N8N
03-07-2008, 10:50 AM
I learned to drive on my mom's Renault Encore with the 1.4 liter four-cylinder... everything since then has been an improvement! I don't think I have ever driven such a dangerously underpowered car... I think it had something like 60 horsepower; just didn't do the job pulling the hills of western PA.

nate

--
55 Commander Starlight
http://members.cox.net/njnagel

N8N
03-07-2008, 10:50 AM
I learned to drive on my mom's Renault Encore with the 1.4 liter four-cylinder... everything since then has been an improvement! I don't think I have ever driven such a dangerously underpowered car... I think it had something like 60 horsepower; just didn't do the job pulling the hills of western PA.

nate

--
55 Commander Starlight
http://members.cox.net/njnagel

r1lark
03-07-2008, 11:01 AM
quote:Originally posted by N8N

I learned to drive on my mom's Renault Encore with the 1.4 liter four-cylinder... everything since then has been an improvement! I don't think I have ever driven such a dangerously underpowered car... I think it had something like 60 horsepower; just didn't do the job pulling the hills of western PA.

nate

--
55 Commander Starlight
http://members.cox.net/njnagel

N8,

I remember those.....but never had one. Those were a couple steps up in the Renault pecking order from the famous "LeCar", right? (Never had one of those either......)

Paul
Winston-Salem, NC

r1lark
03-07-2008, 11:01 AM
quote:Originally posted by N8N

I learned to drive on my mom's Renault Encore with the 1.4 liter four-cylinder... everything since then has been an improvement! I don't think I have ever driven such a dangerously underpowered car... I think it had something like 60 horsepower; just didn't do the job pulling the hills of western PA.

nate

--
55 Commander Starlight
http://members.cox.net/njnagel

N8,

I remember those.....but never had one. Those were a couple steps up in the Renault pecking order from the famous "LeCar", right? (Never had one of those either......)

Paul
Winston-Salem, NC

tutone63
03-07-2008, 12:37 PM
I had just the opposite experience. I learned to drive in my fathers 68 Pontiac with 350+ hp. He took it away from me after I gunned it and fishtailed it into a ditch...three months after he let me drive it daily. Pretty much everything after that has felt underpowered.

http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh54/tutone63/63larkside-1.jpg
She may have bugs and she may have dings, but that just proves I drive this thing!!

tutone63
03-07-2008, 12:37 PM
I had just the opposite experience. I learned to drive in my fathers 68 Pontiac with 350+ hp. He took it away from me after I gunned it and fishtailed it into a ditch...three months after he let me drive it daily. Pretty much everything after that has felt underpowered.

http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh54/tutone63/63larkside-1.jpg
She may have bugs and she may have dings, but that just proves I drive this thing!!

LarkVIII
03-07-2008, 12:48 PM
I used to drive a 61 Metropolitan daily. About as powerful as 2 gerbils running on a wheel

63VY4 Leakin' Lena Hagerstown MD

LarkVIII
03-07-2008, 12:48 PM
I used to drive a 61 Metropolitan daily. About as powerful as 2 gerbils running on a wheel

63VY4 Leakin' Lena Hagerstown MD

Roscomacaw
03-07-2008, 02:05 PM
I agree with Sal here. I had a 54 Champion Starliner to drive awhile back. Dang thing was right pleasant around town. Even had a soothing exhaust note. Probably sent a few folks to their chiroprator to have the kinks taken out of their necks![}:)]

Sometimes - goin' slow let's 'em get a better look at ya![:p]

Miscreant adrift in
the BerStuda Triangle

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe

Roscomacaw
03-07-2008, 02:05 PM
I agree with Sal here. I had a 54 Champion Starliner to drive awhile back. Dang thing was right pleasant around town. Even had a soothing exhaust note. Probably sent a few folks to their chiroprator to have the kinks taken out of their necks![}:)]

Sometimes - goin' slow let's 'em get a better look at ya![:p]

Miscreant adrift in
the BerStuda Triangle

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe

Mark57
03-07-2008, 02:09 PM
quote:Originally posted by Mr.Biggs

I agree with Sal here. I had a 54 Champion Starliner to drive awhile back. Dang thing was right pleasant around town. Even had a soothing exhaust note. Probably sent a few folks to their chiroprator to have the kinks taken out of their necks![}:)]

Sometimes - goin' slow let's 'em get a better look at ya![:p]

Miscreant adrift in
the BerStuda Triangle


That's why they got that there control on the dash to lock out the O/D! :D ;)

<h5>Mark
'57 Transtar
3E-6/7-122 </h5>
http://i186.photobucket.com/albums/x153/MarkH57/MrGreenJeans1003b.jpg

Mark57
03-07-2008, 02:09 PM
quote:Originally posted by Mr.Biggs

I agree with Sal here. I had a 54 Champion Starliner to drive awhile back. Dang thing was right pleasant around town. Even had a soothing exhaust note. Probably sent a few folks to their chiroprator to have the kinks taken out of their necks![}:)]

Sometimes - goin' slow let's 'em get a better look at ya![:p]

Miscreant adrift in
the BerStuda Triangle


That's why they got that there control on the dash to lock out the O/D! :D ;)

<h5>Mark
'57 Transtar
3E-6/7-122 </h5>
http://i186.photobucket.com/albums/x153/MarkH57/MrGreenJeans1003b.jpg

53k
03-07-2008, 04:40 PM
quote:Originally posted by N8N

I learned to drive on my mom's Renault Encore with the 1.4 liter four-cylinder... everything since then has been an improvement! I don't think I have ever driven such a dangerously underpowered car... I think it had something like 60 horsepower; just didn't do the job pulling the hills of western PA.

You should be thankful that she didn't have a Renault Dauphine (first Renault import in the US)[:p]. It was a rear-engine thing- good for maybe 30,000 miles before disintegration (if you took good care of it). Hills? Don't even try.


[img=right]http://www.frontiernet.net/~thejohnsons/Forum%20signature%20pix/R-4.JPG[/img=right][img=right]http://www.frontiernet.net/~thejohnsons/Forum%20signature%20pix/64L.JPG[/img=right][img=right]http://www.frontiernet.net/~thejohnsons/Forum%20signature%20pix/64P.jpg[/img=right][img=right]http://www.frontiernet.net/~thejohnsons/Forum%20signature%20pix/53K.jpg[/img=right]Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia
'53 Commander Starliner (since 1966)
'64 Daytona Wagonaire (original owner)
'64 Daytona Convertible (2006)
Museum R-4 engine
1962 Gravely Model L (Studebaker-Packard serial plate)
1972 Gravely Model 430 (Studebaker name plate, Studebaker Onan engine)

53k
03-07-2008, 04:40 PM
quote:Originally posted by N8N

I learned to drive on my mom's Renault Encore with the 1.4 liter four-cylinder... everything since then has been an improvement! I don't think I have ever driven such a dangerously underpowered car... I think it had something like 60 horsepower; just didn't do the job pulling the hills of western PA.

You should be thankful that she didn't have a Renault Dauphine (first Renault import in the US)[:p]. It was a rear-engine thing- good for maybe 30,000 miles before disintegration (if you took good care of it). Hills? Don't even try.


[img=right]http://www.frontiernet.net/~thejohnsons/Forum%20signature%20pix/R-4.JPG[/img=right][img=right]http://www.frontiernet.net/~thejohnsons/Forum%20signature%20pix/64L.JPG[/img=right][img=right]http://www.frontiernet.net/~thejohnsons/Forum%20signature%20pix/64P.jpg[/img=right][img=right]http://www.frontiernet.net/~thejohnsons/Forum%20signature%20pix/53K.jpg[/img=right]Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia
'53 Commander Starliner (since 1966)
'64 Daytona Wagonaire (original owner)
'64 Daytona Convertible (2006)
Museum R-4 engine
1962 Gravely Model L (Studebaker-Packard serial plate)
1972 Gravely Model 430 (Studebaker name plate, Studebaker Onan engine)

rockne10
03-07-2008, 09:38 PM
Oh, Yeah but, it had that "city horn-country horn".

Ever try to take a '62 four-cylinder Tempest up a hill?[xx(]

Brad Johnson
Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
http://s57.photobucket.com/albums/g233/rockne10/Rockne/th_Rocknegauges.jpg'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight

rockne10
03-07-2008, 09:38 PM
Oh, Yeah but, it had that "city horn-country horn".

Ever try to take a '62 four-cylinder Tempest up a hill?[xx(]

Brad Johnson
Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
http://s57.photobucket.com/albums/g233/rockne10/Rockne/th_Rocknegauges.jpg'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight

Steve T
03-07-2008, 10:46 PM
I'm solidly a fan of straight-sixes after hardly any wheel time in my Lark...my other three cars have been inline fours, I wondered how the Lark six would compare going uphill (Niagara Escarpment--toward winter storage[V]) so stood on it a bit and wham! away she went like the aviator's proverbial homesick angel...a pleasant surprise.

C'mon spring. (I think I might make that my signature...)

S.

Steve T
03-07-2008, 10:46 PM
I'm solidly a fan of straight-sixes after hardly any wheel time in my Lark...my other three cars have been inline fours, I wondered how the Lark six would compare going uphill (Niagara Escarpment--toward winter storage[V]) so stood on it a bit and wham! away she went like the aviator's proverbial homesick angel...a pleasant surprise.

C'mon spring. (I think I might make that my signature...)

S.

STEWDI
03-07-2008, 11:48 PM
Come on spring - is right! 10CM (4in.) more tonite and 10 to 15CM (4 to 6 in.) more tomorrow! ARRRRRGH!
My 185 flathead will accelerate up the Hwy.6 hill up the "mountain" toward Clappison's in third ,IIRC.
For information for the rest of the forum , the so-called "mountain" ascentsup the Niagara Escarpment in and around Hamilton would be just mole-hill ascents in Pennsylvania. We're pretty much flat-landers here in southern Ontario. Six-cylindering is no problemo.

Roger "153624" Hill

55 Champion
47 M-5
Izzer Buggy
Junior Wagon

STEWDI
03-07-2008, 11:48 PM
Come on spring - is right! 10CM (4in.) more tonite and 10 to 15CM (4 to 6 in.) more tomorrow! ARRRRRGH!
My 185 flathead will accelerate up the Hwy.6 hill up the "mountain" toward Clappison's in third ,IIRC.
For information for the rest of the forum , the so-called "mountain" ascentsup the Niagara Escarpment in and around Hamilton would be just mole-hill ascents in Pennsylvania. We're pretty much flat-landers here in southern Ontario. Six-cylindering is no problemo.

Roger "153624" Hill

55 Champion
47 M-5
Izzer Buggy
Junior Wagon

hank63
03-08-2008, 04:31 AM
If not the current record holder, it was recently that a 6 cyl Suzuki set a very fast time at the Pike's Peak Hill Climb. That's right, a 6 cylinder ***-car. Mind you, it had just over 1,000 HP.
/H

hank63
03-08-2008, 04:31 AM
If not the current record holder, it was recently that a 6 cyl Suzuki set a very fast time at the Pike's Peak Hill Climb. That's right, a 6 cylinder ***-car. Mind you, it had just over 1,000 HP.
/H

Steve T
03-08-2008, 12:45 PM
Hey Stewdi/Roger--

You're obviously very near me, but I don't recall seeing a '55 Champion around here (excepting the project sedan that was for sale last year in east Hamilton). Will you be at the July event in St.Kitts? Would certainly like to see your car.

S.

Steve T
03-08-2008, 12:45 PM
Hey Stewdi/Roger--

You're obviously very near me, but I don't recall seeing a '55 Champion around here (excepting the project sedan that was for sale last year in east Hamilton). Will you be at the July event in St.Kitts? Would certainly like to see your car.

S.

starlightchamp
03-08-2008, 03:53 PM
Guess I don't understand the problem some have with sixes. My 50 Starlight scoots around the back roads and easily exceeds the speed limit. I have had it going 75 in overdrive
on the freeway although it is happier at the 65mph posted limit.
Regards Renault Dauphine, 38 hp, rear engine, I liked mine so much I repaced it with a new,
prettier, Renault Caravelle. Sold it after 45,000 miles. Both gave me 40 miles/gallon---wish I had one now. Only gripe on the Renaults was there unit body rusted too easily.
...Dick Curtis
Santa Barbara

starlightchamp
03-08-2008, 03:53 PM
Guess I don't understand the problem some have with sixes. My 50 Starlight scoots around the back roads and easily exceeds the speed limit. I have had it going 75 in overdrive
on the freeway although it is happier at the 65mph posted limit.
Regards Renault Dauphine, 38 hp, rear engine, I liked mine so much I repaced it with a new,
prettier, Renault Caravelle. Sold it after 45,000 miles. Both gave me 40 miles/gallon---wish I had one now. Only gripe on the Renaults was there unit body rusted too easily.
...Dick Curtis
Santa Barbara

comatus
03-08-2008, 05:01 PM
Well, the other thing about the Dauphine was some swing-axle quirk that made it flip real easily. A friend of my mother's (a college boy in 1962) managed to get one on its roof at 25 MPH.

My first Jeep (a 1953) had the Go-Devil L-head Four. You know, the torque was just great, but I spun a babbit trying to do 55. Most Jeep 8's had just too darn much juice, and it turns out that the ex-Rambler straight six was just right. The Post Office had a jillion Dispatchers, 2WD with the 258, and they'd swap ends on a whim--but in a LWB Wrangler, a CJ with FWD, or a Cherk, the injected ones are superb, last forever, and give respectable economy. It meant a lot more if you started with the Go-Devil.

"Four liter" is kind of a big six. I guess the complaint with most Stude sixes isn't their sixness or side-valvedness so much as it is a lack of inchiness. I'm not hearing a lot of ill will from 245 Six drivers. I had a Dodge Slant Six (225?) that was just fine, a last-year Stovebolt that actually fetched a museum price, and a Ford 300 Six I really never warmed up to, but not for lack of oomph (-iness). But my two 170 Fords in Econolines were sorry (my neighbor's Falcon 144 was legendarily sorry!), and a Rambler 195 just adequate, in a wagon, to run with early 70's Interstate traffic.

The 331 Reo Gold Comet six in my 6X6 isn't frail at all--but you're never even tempted to take that one over 50. Not out of motor, mind you--it's the pitch from the M47 short-coupled frame. Not an issue, though. Let them hit you. It's armored.

comatus
03-08-2008, 05:01 PM
Well, the other thing about the Dauphine was some swing-axle quirk that made it flip real easily. A friend of my mother's (a college boy in 1962) managed to get one on its roof at 25 MPH.

My first Jeep (a 1953) had the Go-Devil L-head Four. You know, the torque was just great, but I spun a babbit trying to do 55. Most Jeep 8's had just too darn much juice, and it turns out that the ex-Rambler straight six was just right. The Post Office had a jillion Dispatchers, 2WD with the 258, and they'd swap ends on a whim--but in a LWB Wrangler, a CJ with FWD, or a Cherk, the injected ones are superb, last forever, and give respectable economy. It meant a lot more if you started with the Go-Devil.

"Four liter" is kind of a big six. I guess the complaint with most Stude sixes isn't their sixness or side-valvedness so much as it is a lack of inchiness. I'm not hearing a lot of ill will from 245 Six drivers. I had a Dodge Slant Six (225?) that was just fine, a last-year Stovebolt that actually fetched a museum price, and a Ford 300 Six I really never warmed up to, but not for lack of oomph (-iness). But my two 170 Fords in Econolines were sorry (my neighbor's Falcon 144 was legendarily sorry!), and a Rambler 195 just adequate, in a wagon, to run with early 70's Interstate traffic.

The 331 Reo Gold Comet six in my 6X6 isn't frail at all--but you're never even tempted to take that one over 50. Not out of motor, mind you--it's the pitch from the M47 short-coupled frame. Not an issue, though. Let them hit you. It's armored.

Lark289
03-09-2008, 01:47 PM
I love the power of the 8 cylinder in my 1960 Lark VIII convertible even with the 2 speed automatic. The car has great power off the line and can cruise comfortably at 65-70MPH.

I also have a 1958 BMW Isetta "bubble car" that sports its original 1 cylinder 13 horsepower motorcycle engine coupled to a 4 speed manual. Top speed is about 50MPH but takes a long time to get there. On the other hand I easily get over 40MPG.



Ready for a trip to the beach!

http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u36/Lark289/StudeRamblerPic.jpg

Lark289
03-09-2008, 01:47 PM
I love the power of the 8 cylinder in my 1960 Lark VIII convertible even with the 2 speed automatic. The car has great power off the line and can cruise comfortably at 65-70MPH.

I also have a 1958 BMW Isetta "bubble car" that sports its original 1 cylinder 13 horsepower motorcycle engine coupled to a 4 speed manual. Top speed is about 50MPH but takes a long time to get there. On the other hand I easily get over 40MPG.



Ready for a trip to the beach!

http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u36/Lark289/StudeRamblerPic.jpg

Blue 15G
03-09-2008, 02:06 PM
My first four Studebakers all had V-8s. Then I bought this '54 Champion as a non-running restoration project. I've had a variety of other 6 cylinder cars through the years so I wasn't concerned about this one having a six.

Well, it definitely could use a little more power, especially in the hilly terrain we have here in Western PA. But most of my driving is backroad cruising and for this it's just fine. And with the OD it runs quietly and smoothly on the open road. I've only had it up to 70 MPH, but it could definitely handle that. I just feel safer keeping it around 55.

One nice thing about the six is the steering and handling. With the Saginaw manual steering box and the light front end, the car steers and handles beautifully. Much better than the V-8s I had.

I've considered converting this car to Stude V-8 power, but I just can't bring myself to do it. Eventually, I may try to get some of the power modifications done to the six. Just a little more power would make a big difference in it.

Dave Bonn
Valenica, PA
'54 Champion Starliner

Blue 15G
03-09-2008, 02:06 PM
My first four Studebakers all had V-8s. Then I bought this '54 Champion as a non-running restoration project. I've had a variety of other 6 cylinder cars through the years so I wasn't concerned about this one having a six.

Well, it definitely could use a little more power, especially in the hilly terrain we have here in Western PA. But most of my driving is backroad cruising and for this it's just fine. And with the OD it runs quietly and smoothly on the open road. I've only had it up to 70 MPH, but it could definitely handle that. I just feel safer keeping it around 55.

One nice thing about the six is the steering and handling. With the Saginaw manual steering box and the light front end, the car steers and handles beautifully. Much better than the V-8s I had.

I've considered converting this car to Stude V-8 power, but I just can't bring myself to do it. Eventually, I may try to get some of the power modifications done to the six. Just a little more power would make a big difference in it.

Dave Bonn
Valenica, PA
'54 Champion Starliner