Olds Engine Section


Back in high school, one of my friends bought a 1970 olds 98. it was a beautiful old man’s car. i loved it, but unfortunately my friend was a dumb ass and wrecked the bitch twice, pulled the engine w tranny and scrapped it. bot times he simply over powered the corner he was turning in and put it into both a guard rail and a brick wall of a building. i’ll never forget the excuse he had. “Someone killed themselves in the car and the damn thing must be haunted. it drove itself into the wall.”

Anyways, it sat on the lower half of a shopping cart for the rest of high school and i went away to trade school.While i was gone i offered to buy it off him when i got back from school. My friend offered me the engine as a gift when i came back from trade school, he and his brother had decided to stick it into his pickup truck. it completely pissed me off. he never could get it to run right. 2 or 3 years later i got a phone call from his brother asking me to buy the truck and 500$ later it was mine. unfortunately it had a dead #6 cylinder- which was diagnosed by his brother as a a carburetor problem. overall, it took me 6 years to finally get own that engine.

Well, since it took me 6 years to get my hands on it, i spent some time during those years doing some research and it is basically where i ended up becomming an oldsmobile engine nut, along with most big gm engines like cadillac, buick, pontiac, and the like. as with any passion, you get to know the history along with the engine. So here’s a brief and incomplete history.

From the mid 60’s and the days of the 371 olds up to 1970 the oldsmobile v-8 underwent an evolution and had many different variations of blocks, cranks, and cylinder heads. i believe in and around 1969 the castings on iron crankshafts advanced to where they no longer needed steel crankshafts and the 400/425 engines became 455 engines. in 1970, as it turns out, most of the gm v-8 engines were 10:1 compression advertised from the factory. it was actually closer to 9:1 if you ask me. there were some rare high compression 455’s for the w-30 and believe it or not gm had the 455 hemi engine in developement, 5 of which actually were built and are in a museum somewhere. oldsmobile also developed nascar blocks for racing around this time period, which was also short lived. some of the nascar blocks are still running today at drag strips in the midwest, and they are of freakish capability leaving the line at 7000rpm and shifting the car at 9000rpm.

in 1971, emissions hit and the compression and design direction of these big engines changed. Basically most of the big engines were deemed to pulling luxury cars down the road. by 1973 most all the big gm engines were smog tuned with retarded camshaft grinds, egr valves, hardened valve seats for unleaded gas, and depending on where you lived even smog pumps. from 73-76 pretty much the olds engines were about the same. Although it was never the most powerful engine in the muscle car era, it was not the weakest. Actually of all of the cars that came from the factory i believe Buick had the most power in 72-73 buick gs.

in 1977, the big blocks were finally scrapped all together and the small blocks were basically fucked over- giving us the 260, 307,403, and the oh so infamous 350 olds diesel abortions. all but the 307 were pretty much abandoned by 1982 and the 307 persevered until 1990 before all the V-8 oldsmobile engines were scrapped- and not too many years oldsmobile was scrapped entirely as a car division of general motors.

Anyways back to that original 455. i ended up spending about 6000 bucks on it and it led to my first race car that you see pictured on the main page of the website. After i bought my house, my obsession grew to a collection of over 20 oldsmobile, cadillac, and buick engines- most of which are no longer here cause i had to buy diapers for my son. in the many years though of the oldsmobile hobby, i learned a lot about the engines- both building and longevity, and i will be posting most everything i know here in comming weeks. it is just too much to cram into a couple of posts, so i will be writing a whole section and breaking it up for easy referrence. and yes if you think my info is wrong- please go pound sand. thanx

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