PDA

View Full Version : 6cyl power.



wlfrench
03-05-2017, 05:58 PM
Prior to the introduction of Studebaker's V8 in 1951 what was the most powerful engin that Studebaker produced and what, if anything, were people doing to gain a little more horse power?

greyben
03-05-2017, 06:07 PM
Would that include the B17 engines?

Guido
03-05-2017, 06:23 PM
Remember that Studebaker sourced engines for their trucks in the '30's and for WWII production.

studegary
03-05-2017, 06:49 PM
Keep in mind that Studebaker produced a lot of straight eight engines before the V-8 and some of them were quite sizable.

doug
03-05-2017, 07:00 PM
What about the '30s Indy 500 factory racers

Guido
03-05-2017, 07:32 PM
Please note the OP asked about 6 cylinder engines, not 8's.

S2Deluxe
03-05-2017, 08:08 PM
=Guido;1042529]Please note the OP asked about 6 cylinder engines, not 8's.

While the title, the OP chose, for the thread was 6cyl power. The actual question that was asked, is as follows.


Prior to the introduction of Studebaker's V8 in 1951 what was the most powerful engin that Studebaker produced and what, if anything, were people doing to gain a little more horse power?

Mark

TWChamp
03-05-2017, 08:18 PM
My 1950 Commanders with 245 cu in have 102 H.P. and they get the job done very well, plus good fuel economy to boot.

StudeRich
03-05-2017, 09:02 PM
My 1950 Commanders with 245 cu in have 102 H.P. and they get the job done very well, plus good fuel economy to boot.

By 1960, the 245 Truck Engine was up to 118 at 3400 RPM! ;)

Also VERY Torquey.

DieselJim
03-05-2017, 10:23 PM
Don't remember the horse power, but the 28 big 6 was 353 ci.

Hallabutt
03-06-2017, 12:00 AM
One thing to remember is that prior to the short stroked V8's power was a function of horsepower and torque. With the large pre war cars it was torque that reined supreme. Drag racing as we know it today didn't really exist, or at least was not the universal measure that it is today. Zero to sixty times would be embarrassingly slow by today's standards. Hill climbing and circle racing were the rage. The closest kin to drag racing, that I have read about, was of matched straight line, long distance runs. Two cars would start off across the desert at a rolling start of about 5mph, in top gear. Then they would accelerate, at full throttle, to a point that one car ran out of power and the other was the clear winner. This was a real test of power and torque and factored out things like driver error, reaction time, and to a certain degree vehicle weight.

345 DeSoto
03-06-2017, 08:01 AM
Re read the thread TITLE...

jclary
03-06-2017, 08:07 AM
Re read the thread TITLE...

Gee...are you suggesting we should consider posting comments that are related to thread titles????:confused: What a novel Idea!:rolleyes:

garyash
03-06-2017, 08:08 AM
I wasn't sure where you were headed with this question. The Commander 6 engine with 245 cu in displacement would have been the most powerful 6 in stock form. The long stroke configuration doesn't encourage a lot of high rpm power, but dual carb intake manifolds and performance cams were available from aftermarket sources. The stock cam profile is already pretty good for a flat head six, and the same profile was used on the 337 and 250 straight 8's in the 1930s through 1942. Shaving the head to get a little more compression also helps. With a couple of good carbs (or a single smallish 4-barrel), compression at 8.5:1, and a good exhaust system, the 245 six might be good for about 160 hp. See computer modeled graph below for stock 226 cu in, stock 245 cu in, and 245 with carbs, high compression, and open exhaust. The bottom end is probably strong enough to take it. The same approach on the older straight 8's is good for 180-220 hp at 4000-4400 rpm. That's about where the Indy cars were.

What the flatheads really want is about 2-5 psi boost from a supercharger. There were centrifugal blowers used from the 1930s, as in the Graham which produced 120 hp from a 218 cu in 6-cylinder engine in stock form. Many people have put superchargers or turbos on the 170/185 cu in Champ 6 with decent results. Bill Cathcart drove a blown Lark for a long time. He claimed that it gave about 140 hp with all the mods he gave it (head, valves, cam, pistons, blower, etc.). It did blow up eventually.

62605

Skip Lackie
03-06-2017, 08:19 AM
The original question related to engines "Studebaker produced", so this engine doesn't really qualify: Some 1934-36 series W, 1W, and 2W trucks were equipped with a 358 cu in Waukesha 6 that produced 110 hp.

8E45E
03-06-2017, 08:31 AM
Prior to the introduction of Studebaker's V8 in 1951 what was the most powerful engin that Studebaker produced and what, if anything, were people doing to gain a little more horse power?

To answer the second half of your question regardless of how many cylinders it had, this is what Studebaker offered in 1934: http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?66720-1930s-studebaker-racing-engine-photos-I-found

http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?94016-Front-Wheel-Drive-Studebaker

Craig

jclary
03-06-2017, 09:17 AM
In an attempt to make a meaningful contribution to this topic, doing a little arithmetic, I must point out that there are very few of us with "firsthand" memories of what was being done "back then." I will leave it to "others" to answer the "MOST POWERFUL" engine Studebaker offered. I've never pondered, or researched it.

As a child, the conversations I recall about the nature of larger engines had more to do with "smooth/quiet" operation than raw power. My early recollections of such stuff came from my older brother, who while in high school, would go to sheriff's auctions & buy confiscated bootlegger cars. Most always, (anything he could afford with part time job money he had) the engines were trashed in pursuit or the car wrecked. I never recall any more than an attempt at repair, or tuning up an engine, nothing about the machine work suggested in today's terms of boosting horsepower.

I recall helping my brother (handing him tools) when he installed an early flathead Ford V8 in his 29 Model A. No six cylinder involved, and this was certainly (1956?) after the period in question. As Gary has posted, there were certainly methods for "performance enhancement." But, I suspect most of them were done by racing enthusiasts, and not a common raging trend in the general population. Of course, not being born then, and lacking research on my part, I don't know.

Thinking of the era...depression & recovery, then 1941, the population was focused on winning WWII, & post war adjustment. I offer that there was about a decade of serious tasks, needing the public's attention, that put "souping up" their engines on the back burner. By that time, the race for V8's & performance was on and the sixes were, for the most part, "old tech."

What I have learned, especially to boost performance on "stock" sixes...is the same as it was when they were contemporary. That is, as back then, to keep the points set properly, clean plugs with the specified gap, good plug wires, vacuum advance, etc. I have had periods where I have become complacent and gone too long not adjusting the points gap. It is easy to do, and one day you finally notice your engine has become sluggish. For me, I have thought, "Oh no! My engine is about to conk out! Needs overhauling!":eek: Then, pop the distributor cap, find the rubbing block on the points had worn slightly, causing the gap to go out of spec. Re gap the points, and suddenly you find the engine has its former "get up & go" energy.:) The same applies to our V8's, but lacking fewer cylinders, the results seem more dramatic for six cylinder engines.:) Therefore, the most practical, cheapest solution I have for boosting performance, is a good old fashioned tune-up, which is completely different from today's computer controlled systems.

S2Deluxe
03-06-2017, 09:44 AM
As I understand it, before American manufacturers began offering overhead valve V8s, the flathead Ferd V8s occupied a similar market position to that of the SBCs of today. With a larger production volume that allowed a better ratio of power/dollar and more available aftermarket performance products being made for them! These items were also available for other applications but the supply generally tended to be in accordance with whatever the demand for them was.

Mark

STEWDI
03-06-2017, 11:35 AM
In hopes that l can deflect a comment that dismisses Studebaker sixes as "agricultural" (as was done a couple of months ago), l'd like to point out that Studebaker-engineered and manufactured sixes were well respected. Most American flathead engines were designed to be economical to manufacture and relatively easy to maintain. ln the good old days, no car maker on this side of the pond could market a competitive high volume car and power it with a engine as "sophisticated" (and expensive to tool up and build) as, say, a DOHC Jaguar.

HOWEVER, Studebaker, after WWll, had two sixes that gave great service and value and were rugged when properly maintained. The more powerful was the "Commander six" as already noted (not to be called the "Big Six", as that was a 354 cu. in. monster with bags and bags of torque and was gone before the end of the 1920's). The Commander six block was produced from 1932 to 1960 with many increases in cubes and power. This engine was one of, if not THE first American mass-produced auto engine to endure 100 hours of testing at full power and full load. This was in the late 30's. In contrast, when Kaiser-Frazer first started testing Continental's 226 at the end of the war, only the good ones would last 24 hours! Or try running a Chevy 216 at high speed for hours on end - it'll often come back home on the end of a hook! The Stude Commander engine however, was tough and reliable and powerful enough to be used in the Waterman Arrowbile (one of those cool car-airplane projects). There are speed parts available for this engine, but they are a little scarce (these engines have not been produced in high volume since 1950). As cited in a couple of replies, the most powerful production editions of this engine were the 245 cu. in. versions, made starting in the 1949 model year.

The smaller Champion six engines had quite large main bearings for its size and were good engines if maintained and used properly. Our old friend Bill Cathcart would claim 150 hp for a highly modified flathead version, but it is the Commander 245 that was powerful enough to handle the bigger trucks and busses as well as make the '49 and '50 Commander/Landcruiser cars a pleasure to drive and a favourite of Tom McCahill, the revered road tester for Mechanics Illustrated.

studegary
03-06-2017, 12:53 PM
To me, the question and the heading combined implied that Studebaker only had six cylinder engines before the V8. That is why I responded the way that I did.

PackardV8
03-06-2017, 02:13 PM
The Commander six block was produced from 1932 to 1960 with many increases in cubes and power. This engine was one of, if not THE first American mass-produced auto engine to endure 100 hours of testing at full power and full load.

Just in the interest of accuracy, does anyone have a citation for this? I've read this said of the Champion, http://auto.howstuffworks.com/1939-1940-studebaker-champion2.htm "Some years ago, John Bond, a former Studebaker engineer and later editor of Road & Track, observed that this was "one of the first engines of its era that would take 5,000 rpm for hours on dyno tests. "

but never read of the Commander 6-cyl being considered durable at high RPMs. In fact, max horsepower is developed at 3600 RPMs, but most shift them well before that.

jack vines

Hallabutt
03-06-2017, 03:11 PM
Good question, does anyone really know whether wlfrench was asking about all pre V8, 6cyl engines or just the ones that most post war forum members would be familiar with? Studebaker concentrated on the 6 cyl engine in the mid teens. I tended to blather about how the idea of power has changed from since, say 1949. I did reread the original post and still don't know what he is looking for.

wlfrench
03-06-2017, 06:38 PM
Did the hot rodders of the day (pre V8) do all the usual things like shave the head to increase compression, bore the cylinders and oversize pistons, swap crank for longer stroke, port and polish, larger valves, aftermarket superchargers and all that stuff. I heard from old timers when I was a kid that they used to add mothballs, Marvel Mystery Oil or some other stuff to the gas to increase octane. And remember the Hudson Hornets were winning NASCAR with their twin H 308 flat head 6 in the early 50s.

PackardV8
03-06-2017, 07:17 PM
Did the hot rodders of the day (pre V8) do all the usual things like shave the head to increase compression, bore the cylinders and oversize pistons, swap crank for longer stroke, port and polish, larger valves, aftermarket superchargers and all that stuff. I heard from old timers when I was a kid that they used to add mothballs, Marvel Mystery Oil or some other stuff to the gas to increase octane. And remember the Hudson Hornets were winning NASCAR with their twin H 308 flat head 6 in the early 50s.

Yes, to all of the above. There's never been an engine built that someone didn't try to get more horsepower, and that includes the Stude 6-cyls. There were high compression aluminum heads, two carb aluminum intakes and reground camshafts somewhat available. Having said that, the Stude 6-cyls were not hotrodded often. They were just too small, too long stroke, too small valves. The Champion did have some success in midget racing, as it was one of the few production engines small enough in displacement to be allowed.


And remember the Hudson Hornets were winning NASCAR with their twin H 308 flat head 6 in the early 50s.

FWIW, not taking away from Hudson, as it was a highly developed obsolete design, doing the most they could with what they had. I was there in the day and early '50s Hudsons won with low-center-of-gravity handling, durability and rugged unibody construction, as they were down on horsepower to all the OHV8s.

jack vines

TWChamp
03-06-2017, 11:00 PM
In 1965 I knew a guy that built a few hot rods, and he always used in line six engines with dual carbs and split exhaust. I think he always used GMC or Chevy engine though.

StudeRich
03-06-2017, 11:06 PM
In 1965 I knew a guy that built a few hot rods, and he always used in line six engines with dual carbs and split exhaust. I think he always used GMC or Chevy engine though.

Probably a GMC 292 Big Six! I knew a Guy that ran a '46 Chev. coupe at the Drags and always ran these.

TWChamp
03-07-2017, 03:38 AM
Yes, I did see one of his rods with the 292 GMC engine. He also made a sleeper out of a 1953 Chevy that he souped up for another of my classmates.

PackardV8
03-07-2017, 10:02 AM
Probably a GMC 292 Big Six! I knew a Guy that ran a '46 Chev. coupe at the Drags and always ran these.

Yes, I did see one of his rods with the 292 GMC engine. He also made a sleeper out of a 1953 Chevy that he souped up for another of my classmates.

Point of clarification; back in the 1950s, the "Jimmy", was sometimes used in rods and racing. The big truck GMC 6-cyl came along in 1939, in sizes 228", 248", 256", 270" and the most prized of early rodders was the 302". Production ended around 1954.

Ten years later, from 1962-1990, Chevrolet and GMC came out with their last OHV-I6 in sizes 194", 230", 250" and 292" . (And yes, this is the family Studebaker used (1965-66.)

jack vines

STEWDI
03-07-2017, 03:39 PM
Just in the interest of accuracy, does anyone have a citation for this? I've read this said of the Champion, http://auto.howstuffworks.com/1939-1940-studebaker-champion2.htm "Some years ago, John Bond, a former Studebaker engineer and later editor of Road & Track, observed that this was "one of the first engines of its era that would take 5,000 rpm for hours on dyno tests. "

but never read of the Commander 6-cyl being considered durable at high RPMs. In fact, max horsepower is developed at 3600 RPMs, but most shift them well before that.

jack vines

l found a citation.

It's in the late Maurice Hendry's article "Studebaker...One can do a lot of Remembering in South Bend", contained in the red Studebaker-featured Vol 10, number 3 issue of Automobile Quarterly, page 246. "Whereas in the Twenties bearing failure was certain at a continuous 3800 rpm, by the Thirties Studebaker engines were capable of 100 hours at 4000 rpm, full load, full throttle. In fact, from 1937, the engine durability requirement was fifty hours at 4000, plus fifty hours at 4500. At the latter speed the 1937 engine showed far less wear than a 1929 engine run only at 3800 rpm. Studebaker attributed this to their "first" - steel-backed bearings, plus lighter alloy pistons".

l guess that the above John Bond quote is also a citation for the fact that Studebaker was at the forefront of the industry in having these tough standards.

Skip Lackie
03-07-2017, 04:02 PM
l found a citation.

It's in the late Maurice Hendry's article "Studebaker...One can do a lot of Remembering in South Bend", contained in the red Studebaker-featured Vol 10, number 3 issue of Automobile Quarterly, page 246. "Whereas in the Twenties bearing failure was certain at a continuous 3800 rpm, by the Thirties Studebaker engines were capable of 100 hours at 4000 rpm, full load, full throttle. In fact, from 1937, the engine durability requirement was fifty hours at 4000, plus fifty hours at 4500. At the latter speed the 1937 engine showed far less wear than a 1929 engine run only at 3800 rpm. Studebaker attributed this to their "first" - steel-backed bearings, plus lighter alloy pistons".

l guess that the above John Bond quote is also a citation for the fact that Studebaker was at the forefront of the industry in having these tough standards.

Thanks for that. I have that issue somewhere, but had forgotten that quote.

jclary
03-07-2017, 05:19 PM
Well...while we have completely swerved this thread away from the original topic of most powerful six cylinder Studebaker engine, and what were early "rodders" doing to boost their performance...

...now, to discussing "durability" of the old cast iron beasts...I seem to recall (always suspect) comments either printed (turning wheels?) or posted here on the forum, a report about how the Studebaker engines compared in durability to competitive products during a wartime study. My suspect memory recalls that the study was conducted for the purpose of evaluating engines to be chosen for military applications. My understanding is that the engineer tasked with the study, (I don't recall the name) was actually an employee of General Motors. The conclusion was that the Studebaker flathead six was the toughest of the bunch.

Since I know the source I read was "one of us," could be that this story might just be biased bravado, but interesting none the less. Anyone have a better grasp of this than me? Am I conflating this story with the one discussed above? I kinda stumbled into the Studebaker world by happenstance in 1975 when I found a bargain used pickup for sale in a yard. I bought it 'cause it was "different" & cheap. Only as the years have piled up, have I developed and refined a deep appreciation and respect for a history some of you grew up around.

garyash
03-07-2017, 06:20 PM
Here is a link to an interesting history of the use of superchargers on early hot rods, race cars, and production cars:
http://www.superchevy.com/how-to/engines-drivetrain/0510sc-principles/

Here is some history of the McCulloch/Paxton/Novi blowers (Studebaker content!):
http://vs57.y-block.info/history.htm

For some wild flathead engines, including Hudsons and early Ford V8's, see Uncommon Engineering:
http://www.uncommonengineering.com/
I called the Uncommon Engineering phone once and had a chat about how to really boost the 1937 President straight 8 (250 cu in) that I'll be using in my Indy car replica. He had lots of ideas. We were soon in the stratosphere of a $20,000 engine build. Yeah, it would be an interesting project, but didn't fit my budget. But, based on the comments of Stewdi in his post #29 above, it looks like I can put my redline up to 4500 rpm without problems. That should give me about 125 mph with a 3.31 rear and 7.00-18 tires!

STEWDI
03-07-2017, 08:42 PM
John, your "suspect memory" recalls very well. The WWll engine evaluation story was not apocryphal, but was submitted to Turning Wheels in "Letters to the Editor" a LONG time ago - maybe 20 years - by a member of a family which bought and loved Studebakers, and lived across the street from the GM engineer who told them the story. l was very much taken with the story and have repeated it a couple of times, including on the forum. Glad you remembered it. l think the engine in the engineer's telling was the Champion six.

Gary, l'm just repeating what was in the article. If she blows at 4499rpm, don't point at me! :)

Hallabutt
03-08-2017, 01:03 PM
jclary,

So John not to nit pick too much, but since you made an attempt to get people back on track of the original questioner, and rightfully so. How does your last post relate regarding the competitive durability of wartime engines relate to the hotrod issue?

8E45E
03-08-2017, 01:09 PM
Maybe we can also speculate also what COULD have been built, and how much HP it had.

Perhaps BP and his cousin can tell us about a certain OHV six cylinder they saw while peeking through the windows of the Engineering Building in 1963!!!

Craig

jclary
03-08-2017, 02:01 PM
jclary,

So John not to nit pick too much, but since you made an attempt to get people back on track of the original questioner, and rightfully so. How does your last post relate regarding the competitive durability of wartime engines relate to the hotrod issue?

Absolutely nothing!;):rolleyes: It was merely because some of the other conversation tickled my memory regarding the wartime engine research study. By the way...I love your forum handle...had to click your profile for a clue...clever.:)

Hallabutt
03-09-2017, 03:17 AM
Thanks John, but I really can't take credit for the name. It was pinned on me years ago when I was a kid, can't remember by whom. I just recycled it and now run with it proudly. When I played basketball some just shortened it to "Butt." Anyone who played the game, on whatever level, will get the picture of a BIG part of my game.

Jett289
03-09-2017, 03:33 AM
This thread might have wandered a bit but WOW it has been a very interesting read .. I'm curious on what Craig has touched upon now !!??



Maybe we can also speculate also what COULD have been built, and how much HP it had.

Perhaps BP and his cousin can tell us about a certain OHV six cylinder they saw while peeking through the windows of the Engineering Building in 1963!!!

Craig

8E45E
03-09-2017, 07:05 AM
This thread might have wandered a bit but WOW it has been a very interesting read .. I'm curious on what Craig has touched upon now !!??

HINT: September, 1980 Turning Wheels.

Craig