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  • History of the V8s?

    The problems with getting big power out of a Stude engine have been well documented- heads, intake, etc. Why is the Stude V8 such a poor design? Was it lack of funds for R&D? Overlooked design flaws? Did Stude underestimate the potential of the big 3's early V8s? Or just didn't think it was important?

    In the early years of my oval-track racing career, my Dad was the engine builder. Dad being a die-hard Ford guy, that was my first race car. Dad built me bulletproof 302s and 351Ws that would take any abuse, and run flawlessly week in and week out. Only problem- they didn't make power! We were in a "stock" class, so you couldn't do anything exotic. Dad got fed up and we built a MoPar- 383 Magnum; would eat anything out there alive, but the torsion front and leaf rear couldn't take the abuse with that huge engine.

    By then, Dad felt I could be successful if we had the equipment; as much as he hated those "damn Stovebolts", we built a Chevy.

    BINGO.

    We started winning right out of the box. The cars were easy to set up and make work. As happens sometimes, we had the occasional hard crash; parts were easily and cheaply attainable. Dad was happy to win, and the plan was to move into the higher classes where you could do more to the engines and go back to Ford- high-ported heads, etc. It wasn't meant to be; Dad died in 1984 at 54, when I was 23. I stayed with Chevy for the rest of my career because my fund and skill level in R&D were very limited. My best successes came driving for others, and they were all Chevy exclusively.

    When Stude went under, did they have any monster engines in the works? I could be wrong, but weren't superchargers really just a band-aid (read: quick fix) for a non-competitive design?

    Just trying to learn a little more about the history here

    Robert (Bob) Andrews Owner- IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
    Parish, central NY 13131
    http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2358680/1


  • #2
    I think everyone building cars in the early '50's had design flaws. The problem for Studebaker was in having the finances to correct the flaws with new design. This is true with the rest of the car too. IMHO, the only things that kept pace until the shutdown was the 4-speed transmission and the disc brakes.

    I think it's been mentioned that Studebaker had a 340 engine in the design phase when the decision was made to close South Bend. I don't know if this was a 'clean sheet of paper' design or if this was an evolution of the 259/289 engine. The R3 heads and the work that went into the design makes more sense with a 340 engine planned. But like anything and everything else at Studebaker at the time they had the choice to go big or go home and they went home.

    Along with a new engine, the platform would have needed more than continuing face lifts on the '53 car. Looking at other cars from GM, Ford, Chrysler and AMC, a completely new car would have been needed to compete. Include the factory that was over 50 years old and I can understand the BoD closing up shop. Too much capital would have been required.

    Having said that, I wish the 340 would have made it to production. I doubt it would have made a difference in sales, but 40+ years later, many of us would have been thumping out chests about having the first smaller 'muscle car' instead of the GTO, especially if it was supercharged.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tom - Valrico, FL

    1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $1794.98)

    Tom - Bradenton, FL

    1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2514.10)
    1964 Studebaker Commander - 170 1V, 3-Speed w/OD

    Comment


    • #3
      From what I was told, it was block tooling that limited how big of an engine Studebaker could put out. To put out a bigger engine they would need to create some new tooling. The tooling wasn't capable of putting out engine sizes the Big 3 had. In the case with Studebaker, their V8 and the supercharger, I don't consider it a band aid really. I consider more like leveling the playing field with the NA big block guys. Don't have time to put out a bigger engine, hey just tweak the smaller engine a little to work more efficiently, and then put a compressor on it to push more air down its throat . Believe it or not, there is a formula for virtual displacement that would be right applicable for the Studebaker engine since they had the superchargers. Now, I'm also going to go on a limb and put out another make and model with a blower. The 56-57-58 Ford Thunderbird's F birds, one of Ford's more premier lines. They had superchargers on their V8's as well, but someone else will have to chime in on how well they did. But this was from a company with financial backing, I wouldn't think they would skimp on a fine vehicle like that. I'm probably gonna step on some toes with this but an example of a bandaid, would be Dodge's early K-Cars. Take a very small displacement engine and add a small turbo to give it some small zip, as well as improve fuel economy.


      1964 Studebaker Commander R2 clone
      1950 Studebaker 2R5 with 170 turbocharged
      [img=left]http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t102/PlainBrownR2/DSC00003.jpg?t=1171152673[/img=left]
      [img=right]http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t102/PlainBrownR2/DSC00009.jpg?t=1171153019[/img=right]
      [img=left]http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t102/PlainBrownR2/DSC00002.jpg?t=1171153180[/img=left]
      [img=right]http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t102/PlainBrownR2/DSC00005.jpg?t=1171153370[/img=right]
      1964 Studebaker Commander R2 clone
      1963 Studebaker Daytona Hardtop with no engine or transmission
      1950 Studebaker 2R5 w/170 six cylinder and 3spd OD
      1955 Studebaker Commander Hardtop w/289 and 3spd OD and Megasquirt port fuel injection(among other things)

      Comment


      • #4
        [quote]Originally posted by PlainBrownR2

        Now, I'm also going to go on a limb and put out another make and model with a blower. The 56-57-58 Ford Thunderbird's F birds, one of Ford's more premier lines. They had superchargers on their V8's as well, but someone else will have to chime in on how well they did. But this was from a company with financial backing, I wouldn't think they would skimp on a fine vehicle like that. I'm probably gonna step on some toes with this but an example of a bandaid, would be Dodge's early K-Cars. Take a very small displacement engine and add a small turbo to give it some small zip, as well as improve fuel economy.[/qoute]

        The supercharger was only available on the 1957 models and only on the 312 engine. These were also available on the FAilane 500's. This was done primarily for racing in NASCAR to offset Chevrolet's Rochester Fuel Injection system. Both the fuel injection and the supercharger were outlawed in 1958, but by then Ford brought out the first FE engine, the 352. In Ford's case, this was definitely a band aid.

        The Chrysler Turbo I and Turbo II engines were a response to bankruptsy and the limitations of the packaging of the cars. V6's weren't available until the early '90's, and even then there was some strutural changes that were required to fit the engines. For the time period, Chrysler's turbo cars could stay with a 5.0L Mustang or Camaro. When comparing Net HP to Gross HP, it was probably comparable to Studebaker's R1 engine. When Shelby brought out the GLHS in '87, Hot Rod magazine showed the Dodge running up the rear bumper of a Shelby Mustang.

        A supercharger is a band aid for displacement. If you have a (heavy)289 and want to have performance of a larger V8 without increasing displacement, you have to make power in other ways. This is also one of the few ways to push air past the restrictive heads and intake. What I wouldn't give for a 340 short block with R3 heads.

        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Tom - Valrico, FL

        1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $1794.98)

        Tom - Bradenton, FL

        1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2514.10)
        1964 Studebaker Commander - 170 1V, 3-Speed w/OD

        Comment


        • #5
          quote:Originally posted by bams50

          The problems with getting big power out of a Stude engine have been well documented- heads, intake, etc. Why is the Stude V8 such a poor design? Was it lack of funds for R&D? Overlooked design flaws? Did Stude underestimate the potential of the big 3's early V8s? Or just didn't think it was important?
          (snipped for brevity)

          Just trying to learn a little more about the history here

          Robert (Bob) Andrews Owner- IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
          Parish, central NY 13131
          http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2358680/1

          Bob, it wasn't a poor design. Studebaker built a very durable engine, which had some very strong components in it. It was an OLD design, very similar to the '49 Olds and Caddy engines in concept, but Studebaker actually built their parts stronger, with a view to future displacement increases. Thinking at the time was that octane ratings of fuel were going to go up and up, and more power could be had by increasing compression ratio. Big breathing wasn't that much of a design consideration. They were designing a passenger car/truck engine, not a race engine.

          The Chevy V8 was #3 out of the chute, after the Olds-Cadillac and Chrysler Hemi engines. And the design goal was "light and cheap" as befits a car that was a low-price leader. It happened that light and cheap also had attributes that made it very easy to hop up. By the time the Chevy V8 was designed, it was becoming clear that octane ratings had about plateaued, and future power was going to come from higher RPM, and big displacement. So the Chevy V8 had big bores, and room on the bore centers for bigger bores. Also a shorter stroke, with more crank journal overlap, so they could get adequate strength with a cheap cast crank.

          Different design philosophy altogether, combined with about 4 years of more real-world experience with V8s on the road.

          Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
          Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi, Bob,

            The answer to any engine question is always, "air flow is horsepower."

            Those Fords your father (and I) couldn't make go fast had OEM iron heads with no air flow, much like Studebaker's. Today's 5.0 builders with the latest aftermarket heads have no problem keeping up with the SBC. Most of the local guy drag classes are dominated by 5.0 Mustangs, not Camaros.

            Those of us who remember the 1955 Chevy 265" 2-bbl can remember what a wienie it was. The 1955 Commander 259" would run away from it every time. It had camshaft problems, piston ring problems and was considered pretty weak/cheap at first. GM just kept building them by the millions and throwing throwing millions of dollars of engineering at it.

            Today's Mopar Magnum 360" is a strong runner which traces its ancestry back to the economy car 2-bbls of the 1955 Plymouth 270" which wouldn't get out of its own way. The Studebaker could have evolved to have been as large and as strong as any of these. The Studebaker V8 had the design potential to be more than 400" and 400hp. Changes in the internal sand cores for the block and heads were all it would have taken. (Along with millions of dollars and fifty years of OEM and aftermarket engineering effort.)

            No bad science with the Studebaker V8 design. If you look at the history of automobile manufacturers, there were more than 2,500 tries at it and only three remain. Studebaker was more successful longer than 2,496 of those who tried it. Being in the top .002 of the class, no shame there.

            thnx, jv.

            PackardV8
            PackardV8

            Comment


            • #7
              On the bore center of the SBC and the Stude...something like .010" or .015" different. So other than tooling problems, block dimentions weren't part of the engineers problems.

              Mike

              Comment


              • #8
                I agree with gord on this. Studebaker wasn't out to design something that would dominate any sort of track. They were after durable, economical 8 cylinder power.
                The Giant Air Pump school of thought wasn't something that came along later. Engineers knew full well all that sort of stuff. As easily as they DID redo the heads for better breathing in '55, they could have done that from the start.
                Again, goals determine product. Remember too, the ROADS of 1951 (not that you can, but...). Not too condusive to cruising at 70MPH hour on end.

                Miscreant adrift in
                the BerStuda Triangle


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

                No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

                Comment


                • #9
                  As far as Chrysler and turbos, the turbo was not a stop gap measure waiting for the V6 to come along. One very important factor is being overlooked...the mystique of the word "turbo" and the image of performance it carries whether real or implied. Chrysler came out with the Mitsubishi/Chrysler 3.0 V6 in '87, a year after the first 2.2 turbo and continued building turbo 4 cylinder engines until something like '91-'92.

                  During that same '85-'87 time period, turbocharging was also quite the rage in motorcycling...at least the public's idea of turbocharging was. All four Japanese manufacturers came out with turbo bikes during that period but learned the hard way there's a big difference between the public wishing for something and the public actually buying what they wish for. The idea was to get 1000cc performance out of a 650-750cc motorcycle, something all of the manufacturers accomplished at least in the horsepower department. The problem was that all the complexities required in making a turbo'ed 750 civil and reliable added weight and all the turbo bikes ended up weighing as much as a 1000cc bike but costing more than one. As a result, when a potential customer was given the choice of buying a naturally aspirated 1000cc bike or spending 10-20% more money for a narrow purpose bike with no performance advantage and having "gotta learn to love it" quirky power delivery, the former obviously won out. In the end, that wonderful turbo whine and the word turbo emblazoned on the side of a bike cost the manufacturers millions of dollars for bikes that were made only a couple of model years before being dropped because of lackluster demand.

                  I believe Kaiser put McCullough superchargers on some of their cars in the late '50s also. It was certainly a way to perk up the little Continental engine, but I have to wonder if some of it wasn't just the prestige of having a supercharged engine. Look at Studebaker; whenever some old timer mentions the Golden Hawk, chances are it's the supercharged Stude and not the Packard version they're talking about. When it comes to power output, I suspect the Packard engine is every bit the equal or superior to the Stude since power borne of displacement is always better mannered than that of forced induction. If I had the choice between a '56 or '57-58 Golden Hawk, I know I'd choose the latter just for supercharger bragging rights. Opening up the hood to expose a big displacement but more or less ordinary sized (physically) engine isn't near as cool as seeing that supercharger and it's associated hoses screaming out "Hey, look at me!" When I think of the word supercharging, I envision high performance prop airplanes, pulling tractors and fire breathing rails, not some turbo'ed 70 hp Kubota tractor outperforming it's 60 hp naturally aspirated brother (yawn). I doubt my mentality is that much different from folks in the 50's and 60's. Need another example? Go to a car show and notice how many people drool over the cars with the chromed Rootes blower sticking up through the hood...those things have much more visual appeal than a turbo buried out of sight under the exhaust manifold. Whether one wants to admit it or not, most mechanical products are bought either for or because of visual appeal, be it the word turbo slapped somewhere, a chromed blower, fancy paint job, mag wheels, racing stripe and so on. In marketing, invariably function follows form and form follows demand. Like it or not, I sometimes think Studebaker had it backwards.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    When the Studebaker V8 was being designed, the engineers were told by Ethyl corporation that compression ratio's were headed for 12-1 and better and thus the block and crank was designed for compression ratio's that never became common.

                    JDP/Maryland
                    64 Daytona HT/R2 clone
                    64 GT R2
                    63 Lark 2 door
                    52 & 53 Starliner
                    51 Commander
                    39 Coupe express
                    39 Coupe express (rod)

                    JDP Maryland

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Great discussion, everyone. I need to clarify what I meant by "poor design". I wasn't referring to quality, but performance. I've learned from you all about the high-nickel blocks, and steel cranks.

                      I was talking with an old racing buddy of mine Sunday, who did mess with "high-porting" Ford heads back then. It consisted of milling off the upper, outer quarter of the head and replacing it with a custom-built piece machined from an aluminum billet[:0] The idea was to raise the exhaust ports, thereby straightening the angle of the ports. WAY more exotic than I was capable of doing; I was merely a driver[)] I believe it did help; just don't know if it was enough to justify. This conversation was the genesis of this thread.

                      What I'm gathering from your responses thus far is, my last guess was probably the answer- durability pushed performance to the background.

                      I probably didn't think carefully enough about the era. The last Stude V8 was in '64 (?), and was an engine that was already several years old. The big 3 didn't have too many big power engines themselves in the mid to late 50s. That was really just the beginning of the horsepower race...

                      I've been reading everything I can find about Stude performance- including EVERY thread on Sonny's racing forum... I want to build a '62 Daytona 2 dr. HT, 289 4-spd. What I've learned is that I can build a mild, fun car; but if I want a real beast I'll have to a. spend big bucks or b. go Chevy. Being that I want this one to be all Stude, I'll just have to settle.

                      Robert (Bob) Andrews Owner- IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
                      Parish, central NY 13131
                      http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2358680/1

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Bob, remember that what we'd call a "mild" car (a built, un-smog-fettered V8 with a 4bbl and low-restriction exhaust) is going to be quicker than most modern stuff on the road just by its very nature. So if the purpose is to have fun and embarrass the occasional snotty kid in a primered Accord with coffee-can tailpipe, you'll achieve your goal easily


                        [img=left]http://members.cox.net/clarknovak/lark.gif[/img=left]

                        Clark in San Diego
                        '63 F2/Lark Standard
                        http://studeblogger.blogspot.com
                        www.studebakersandiego.com

                        Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Not only was a blower available on the T-birds, but Paxton also marketed to International owners to use on their Scouts which were only 4 cylinders. [:0]


                          Comment


                          • #14
                            quote:Originally posted by showbizkid

                            Bob, remember that what we'd call a "mild" car (a built, un-smog-fettered V8 with a 4bbl and low-restriction exhaust) is going to be quicker than most modern stuff on the road just by its very nature. So if the purpose is to have fun and embarrass the occasional snotty kid in a primered Accord with coffee-can tailpipe, you'll achieve your goal easily
                            I wouldn't be so sure .

                            A 2004 Accord goes 0-60 in 5.9 seconds and does the quarter in 14.5 @ 98 MPH.

                            http://www.caranddriver.com/article....rticle_id=7011

                            Watch out for the snotty kid (unless you're Ted Harbit )

                            Technology has come a long way.


                            Dick Steinkamp
                            Bellingham, WA

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              quote:Originally posted by Dick Steinkamp

                              A 2004 Accord goes 0-60 in 5.9 seconds and does the quarter in 14.5 @ 98 MPH.
                              I said most modern stuff Maybe the Accord was a bad choice of example. [:I] Maybe the primered 4-door Civic would have been a better one! Either way about it though, I'll bet the 289's torque at least surprises him off the line...


                              [img=left]http://members.cox.net/clarknovak/lark.gif[/img=left]

                              Clark in San Diego
                              '63 F2/Lark Standard
                              http://studeblogger.blogspot.com
                              www.studebakersandiego.com

                              Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

                              Comment

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