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Potential on Buick straight 8

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by JR66Ford, Aug 10, 2004.

  1. JR66Ford
    Joined: Aug 7, 2004
    Posts: 22

    JR66Ford
    Member

    I found a '50 Buick in the backwoods boneyard. It's a complete car minus the rearend. Anyways, it has the straight 8 in it. Are these worth anything in the hotrod world? I guess it would need to be a big to stick it in. Well, the guy will sell the whole car for $1200, it's in east Texas.

     
  2. chromedRAT
    Joined: Mar 5, 2002
    Posts: 1,714

    chromedRAT
    Member

    there was a coupe or roadster in the 60s that did some DAMAGE against the competition with a buick I8.
     
  3. stan292
    Joined: Dec 6, 2002
    Posts: 857

    stan292
    Member

    The straight 8 from the 60's mentioned above was probably Charlie Seagrave's altered roadster. He was a Buick straight-8 "freak" with tons of cash to spend on his passion (a food industry fortune, I believe). Not much of note for that motor in the racing world before or since then.

    If you're thinking of pedaling it for some cash to a racer - I'd say your chances are virtually nil. There might be a possibility of finding a restorer who's interested. You might try lnliners.com. or one of the Buick lover's websites.

    Good luck.
     
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  4. seldom scene
    Joined: Oct 9, 2002
    Posts: 867

    seldom scene
    Member

    I think the junkie has one too many zeros after the 120 the car is worth. I8 buicks make good boat anchors, but not much else unless you're willing to spend a lot of money and end up with little power but a great novelty. A I8 in an early Buick fenderless channeled touring body has been my dream for a long time, but alas will probably remain a dream while I build my Fords.
     
  5. squirrelmurphy
    Joined: Aug 11, 2004
    Posts: 31

    squirrelmurphy
    Member
    from Long Beach

    Those who go to El Mirage and B'ville could tell you about Muffler Toms straight 8. That thing sounds way different than anything on the lake. I don't know how fast he's gone lately, but he does all right. He's an old timer who used to own a muffler shop here in Long Beach.
     
  6. There is a book out on GMC Sixes and Buick Straight eights.
    They have some potential if you are the do it yourself type.
     
  7. Scotch
    Joined: May 4, 2001
    Posts: 1,488

    Scotch
    Member

    Mmmkay...here's the latest from Scotch's Buick Straight 8 Research Lab (tm).

    We've got the motor torn down and mocked up. To get the compression up from 7.2 to 9.5:1, we've shaved .100 off the block deck and another .100 off the deck of the head. I'm working with Ross pistons to develop a nice piston with a good small dome. (the stock pistons had huge-ass domes, which horsepower guys know doesn't do shit for the flame front). Going to the smaller dome in combination with the .200-inc removed from the mating surfaces will serve to bump compression to a better place. We're getting a custom cam from Marcus' connection, and I've got a pair of Harley Davidson 275cfm sidedrafts I'm building an intake for.

    The Straight 8 has some quirks I wasn't aware of previously. The oiling system is reverse in it's design from the norm. Usually, pressure flows from the pump along a galley to the cam/lifters, then up the pushrods to the rockers. In cleaning up this block, it became obvious there were no oil galley plugs and therefore, no oil galley. How then does it get oil, and how can we make it better?

    Further research showed the pressurized oil goes from the pump up to the rockers first, through a hollow rocker shaft. Then, it flows down through the hollow pushrods to the lifters, flowing out and over the lobes to provide lubrication. Backwards, yes, but apparently still effective.

    So, in looking everything over, we wanted to get more air in and out of the engine. The intake ports are siamesed, meaning the 8 cylinder engine has only four intake ports. This makes mocking up the intake easier, since we only need to center each of the carbs between the two corresponding exhaust ports.

    I'll be keeping the stock crank and connecting rods. The rods have an oddball pinch bolt design on the piston pin, which I'm not stoked about. The rods themselves are over 7.25-inch long, and are relatively thin. This means replacement is virtually impossible with typical BB Chevy/Ford/Mopar rods. I could have a custom set made by Carillo or Oliver, but it would be cost prohibitive. Were I racing this, it would become essential.

    We're shooting for 100hp more than factory, which puts us in the 225hp range. Knowing this, it's not hard to see that each cylinder, at peak, must be capable of supporting about 30hp. The stock rods are plenty adequate for this.

    The post-1949 Buick S-8s are fitted with typical insert-type bearings. Pre-50 engines have poured babbit bearings, which are not replaceable. When choosing an engine like this to build on, the 50-and-later engines win big time because of this alone. Bearings are available and affordable for the later engines with inserts. I don't want to think what would be involved in re-pouring babbit bearings, or even the machinist's bill for swapping up from poured to insert bearings. Get a later engine and keep it simple.

    There is much to be gained in porting one of these heads. There is a ton of casting flash and slag in these castings, and a little time with a grinder goes a long way. Helping one of these engines to breathe a little will help everything from smooth idle to acceleration rate to peak power potential. They don't have to be made LARGER, they simply have to be reshaped to perform BETTER. We don't want to increase the volume of air moving in and out of the engine as much as we'd like to increase the velocity of the air moving through. So, a simple cleanup and matching of port sizes and shapes is all these engines need.

    Once I get this one running, we'll have more solid connections for these parts- especially the Ross pistons. If they get orders after mine comes out, they may keep the file handy for future orders. If I do this right, pistons will be available for everyone who wants something similar.

    We overbored the block almost .100-inches too, and it will now displace 283ci (vs. 263ci stock). This bore size will allow us to use out-of-the-box Acura rings (cheap and plentiful) on the Ross slugs.

    I'm working with MSD on ignition- I've been told a Pontiac distributor can be made to work in an early S-8 with minor mods. If this is so, I'll be doing it. I'll share this info with MSD and maybe they can offer them on special order.

    I've chosen to run a 700R-4 trans behind it using a Bendtsens transmission adapter. They can be found here:
    http://transmissionadapters.com/Buick_straight_eight_263_320.htm

    The rear suspension will be late-model F-body. The factory f-body torque arm mount will be retained, and I'll be doing what's necessary to get the post-'82 F-body axle installed and functioning. I'll be coordinating with Glen on this.

    Currently, the project is coming togehter at Pro Machine in Placentia, CA. The shop owner John Beck is learning right along with me, and I can confidently recommend him to anyone else wanting one of these hot street S-8s. He's got all the connects and we're learning what these engines want. Once it's done, I'll have pics and dyno sheets (really!) to show how it did. For now, I've got some teardown and mockup pics...but know there's more to come.

    Scotch~!

     

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  8. Scotch
    Joined: May 4, 2001
    Posts: 1,488

    Scotch
    Member

    In the pic above, you can see the S-8 cylinder head. Huge, cumbersome, and inefficient. I love it.

    Anyway, here's a closeup on the combustion chamber. It's not a horrible design, but it doesn't have much quench. We may weld these up a bit, but considering the power levels targeted, we may not. Once we get the new Ross pistons, we'll re-evaluate it.

     

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  9. Scotch
    Joined: May 4, 2001
    Posts: 1,488

    Scotch
    Member

    This IS Tech Week, right? Here's some tech and some more history lesson. Here's the rods I was worried about until I did the math (remember, each of these rods has to support 30hp at peak, which won't be too often). Here's a look at the rod and piston still assembled..
     

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  10. Scotch
    Joined: May 4, 2001
    Posts: 1,488

    Scotch
    Member

    Here's the "pinch bolt" setup that holds the pin in place. THe thing that worried me most is the "split" portion of the connecting rod beneath the pin. I determined this to be the weakest point in the setup, but was reassured we may actually be taking some stress AWAY from this point with the lighter piston/ring setup. I then reasoned we'd be adding a bit with the additional cylinder pressure being created by the higher compression and efficiency of the air/fuel moving in and out of the engine. After a couple beers and much discussion, we decided it was probably a "wash", and this setup could easily support the 30hp/40 ft-lbs. of each cylinder.
     

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  11. Scotch
    Joined: May 4, 2001
    Posts: 1,488

    Scotch
    Member

    Another look at the disassembled rod/piston.
     

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  12. fatassbuick
    Joined: Jul 6, 2001
    Posts: 988

    fatassbuick
    Member

    Scotch, that's some awesome stuff. You may be the George Montgomery of our time!

    As for a Straight 8 being worthless, I've logged about 15k miles on mine with almost no problems to speak of. It cruises at 85-90 mph...not too bad for being 51 years old.
     
  13. Scotch
    Joined: May 4, 2001
    Posts: 1,488

    Scotch
    Member

    The main bearings are only 2-bolt, but there are lots of them and they are quite thick. Considering the final hp capacity of this engine (225-240), they'll be plenty.
     

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  14. Scotch
    Joined: May 4, 2001
    Posts: 1,488

    Scotch
    Member

    The twin sidedraft carb setup is something I've wanted since I first saw one of these engines. I've seen vintage pics of racers using twin carbs on inline engines,and the effect was dramatic (visually) and effective (performance-wise). Using 275cfm carbs, my final carb flow capacity will be 550cfm, which should be about perfect for a 9.5:1 283ci mill on pump gas.
     

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  15. Scotch
    Joined: May 4, 2001
    Posts: 1,488

    Scotch
    Member

    Another look at the twin carb mockup...
     

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  16. Scotch
    Joined: May 4, 2001
    Posts: 1,488

    Scotch
    Member

    I'll post more updates as it comes together, but know that before you jump into a Buick Straight 8 buildup, these parts are much larger and heavier than other engines you've worked with. Make sure the facilities you choose to work with have the ability to clean, machine, and assemble these oversized goodies. Good Luck!

    Scotch~!
     

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  17. Hey Scotch - Awesome job on the build-up!

    I just recently got a '41 dual setup for my '50 248 ci. and am in the process of rebuilding carbs (Carter WCD's) and getting them on. Any hints from anybody on clearing the motor mount with the front exhaust dump?

    Thanks, Rodney
     
  18. 41ChevyTrucker
    Joined: Nov 4, 2003
    Posts: 453

    41ChevyTrucker
    Member

    great posts scotch! man I want to start rebuilding my motor right now when I read posts like this. Screw the cost factor of building old motors, its all about the build! You should maybe put together an straight 8 book when you are done. Probably wouldn't make you rich but it sure would be cool.

    I think a 320 straight 8 with a stick in a light truck, say maybe a chopped 41-46 chev, would be pretty dang cool. [​IMG]
     
  19. fatassbuick
    Joined: Jul 6, 2001
    Posts: 988

    fatassbuick
    Member

    [ QUOTE ]
    Hey Scotch - Awesome job on the build-up!

    I just recently got a '41 dual setup for my '50 248 ci. and am in the process of rebuilding carbs (Carter WCD's) and getting them on. Any hints from anybody on clearing the motor mount with the front exhaust dump?

    Thanks, Rodney

    [/ QUOTE ]
    TP has done this. If you check out that old link on page one of this thread, he explains it. I'll bet he would send you some pics if you emailed him.

    41Chevytrucker, I've been planning on a t-bucket with a 263 or a 320 for awhile. Wouldn't be the fastest thing in the world, but it would be fun as hell. One of these days...
     
  20. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 27,234

    The37Kid
    Member

    The car that holds all the Vintage hillclimb records in the VSCCA is a 1935 INDY car powered by a straight 8 Buick with four downdraft Winfields. You can watch it race on Labor Day weekend at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.
     
  21. fatassbuick
    Joined: Jul 6, 2001
    Posts: 988

    fatassbuick
    Member

    Shit, maybe it would be the fastest thing in the world!
     
  22. Scotch
    Joined: May 4, 2001
    Posts: 1,488

    Scotch
    Member

    Hmmm...a book? Maybe. I want to do a bunch more homework on it and if I were to begin developing a book, it would probably be a bit more broad-based, like how to build modern versions of vintage engines. Showing things like this S-8, a Y-block, an early Olds, and maybe a Nailhead or similar. I have spent more than 20 years learning how engines of all kinds work, how to build them for higher performance, and have helped develop many competition powerplants for many disciplines. In my never-ending quest for knowledge, I've gotten into orphan vintage engines lately, and I'm finding they are not too horribly difficult to bring up to a modern standard. Yes, there are limits, and no, I don't think I'll be challenging any World Records with this or any other vintage motor I choose to screw together...however...there is absolutely no reason any vintage engine cannot be rebuilt with a nod to modern knowledge to perform quite effectively on modern pump gas, and prove absolutely capable and reliable enough to urge any traditional rod or custom to the satisfaction of its owner. Modern pistons, cams, valves, ignition systems, and carbs all add to the power potential and durability these powerplants can provide. Yes, they will always require more effort to build than a small-block Chevy. They will cost more, offer less power, and will be harder to find parts for than the ubiquitous Mouse. It's not easy to do...which is why it's so damn cool.

    Personally, I'm learning about engines. I'm seeing things I"ve not seen inside of an engine before. Honestly, it's been awhile since that's happened, and I'm really into it. Another reason it's so damn cool...

    ..and frankly, I cannot remember the last time I saw a hot rodded Buick inline 8 in a street car that was driven regularly. I look for the Buicks wherever I go, and you just don't se em'. Plenty of these engines hit the road in stock form- they were among the best powerplants available at the time (late '40s/early '50s)...so I know they can be warmed up a little and provide a visual, aural, and performance experience that could only be called unique. I think it's worth all the headaches..and once I finish paying for everything, I'll probably tell ya it was worth all the expense as well.

    More pics to come, by the way...we're making progress.


    ..and I'm proud to claim the longest crank on the HAMB...


    Scotch~!
     

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  23. fatassbuick
    Joined: Jul 6, 2001
    Posts: 988

    fatassbuick
    Member

  24. Hellfish
    Joined: Jun 19, 2002
    Posts: 6,443

    Hellfish
    Member

    [spam]
    A friend of mine has a cast dual intake for the small Buick I8. If any of you Buick guys are interested, PM me
    [/spam]
     
  25. Judd
    Joined: Feb 26, 2003
    Posts: 1,894

    Judd
    Member

    Scotch
    The 322 nailheads used the same pinch bolt on the piston pin till mid 1955. 236hp on a 55 Roadmaster V8.
     
  26. Scotch
    Joined: May 4, 2001
    Posts: 1,488

    Scotch
    Member

    Thanks for the input Judd...it makes me feel more confident in my decision.

    Here's the latest...

    The head porting is complete, as is the installation of new guides and the fitting of new valves.

    We chose to cut down some Ferrea stainless steel high perf valves to fit the Buick S-8 head, and we wanted to accomplish three things by doing so.

    1- Install larger valves to flow better
    2- Install valves with thinner stems to help flow
    3- Install valves of a better design to help flow

    So, we got a set of Ferrea's best solid valves and ground them down to our chosen sizes. We're running 1.6-inch diameters on the intake side and 1.4-inch diameters on the exhaust side. New guides were installed and finished to match the standard SBC stem thicknesses. These valves all began life as regular 1.6-inch exhaust valves.

    The porting job, as I mentioned, was more of a cleanup than a competition effort. Trying to equalize and improve flow quality is the goal, rather than hogging the ports out to some huge size.

    In a similar vein, the combustion chambers were given a basic cleanup and their sizes equalized (70cc).

    The head is about done for now. I'm acquiring all the rest of the buildup pieces I need (everything from gaskets to water pump etc.) from Egge Machine. Thank god someone still makes all this orphan stuff, and Egge is about the best. They also have all the stock-replacement internals if you're a pussy and don't want to try your hand at hot rodding one of these oddballs. Nothing wrong with being a pussy (you are what you eat), so just don't be a dick.

    (you should catch a bit of hell if you put a "stock" engine in your hot rod...it's just not as cool as a beefed up mill, and you know I'm right)

    Anyway- here's a few pics of the S-8 and I'd like to have this thread nominated for "Best Tech Hijacking of a Post"

    Sorry about that..but I was planning to post this stuff anyway, and I was given a reason...that's all I need...LOL!!

    Here's the stock vs. new valve comparison. Note the "ridge" in the stock valve (hampers flow), the thickness of the stems (stockers are fatter and live in the airstream), and the size of the valve heads.

     

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  27. Scotch
    Joined: May 4, 2001
    Posts: 1,488

    Scotch
    Member

    Here's a look at the finished chambers. Compare them to the "before' pics above and you'll see what we did. The shaving of the deck makes for a smaller overlal chamber, and the rough casting finish has been smoothed out. Nothing radical, just a decent cleanup. Look at the valve seats too...the thickness of the margin in the angle between the valve and seat is quite thick. You see about a .065-inch seat area on both the valve and the head. For performance, we usually go with nice thin margins of about .030 to minimize flow. For reliability, a nice thick margin (like this .065) assures the valve plenty of seal. This valve job should last 100K.
     

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  28. Scotch
    Joined: May 4, 2001
    Posts: 1,488

    Scotch
    Member

    The simaesed intake port is hardly a performance design, but in this case I'd rather share an intake port than an exhaust port (like on the Flathead V-8). I can over-intake it and it'll work just fine, but when exhaust is merged/shared, all ya get is more heat. So, I'll work with it. Prior to porting, you could barely fit a pinky finger in the "zone" between shared intake ports. Now, you can run your entire index finger through it. This port work, along with the larger-plenum intake I'll have on it, should provide a straighter shot and better-quality flow through the head compared to the factory stuff.
     

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  29. Scotch
    Joined: May 4, 2001
    Posts: 1,488

    Scotch
    Member

    So, with the ports opened up a bit and better valves installed, I think we're on the way to S-8 nirvana. Here's the last shot for now- the finished chamber with new valves installed. We've still got plenty of work to do, but I'm pretty happy with the progress so far. This looks much better than what we started with, and I'm getting itchy to hear it rumble and feel the torque this will make. I have every intention of dropping jaws when the hood gets popped. I want my car to sound like no other, and iy oughta run pretty strong, too. I may even escort it down the quarter-mile someday just for giggles. Time will tell, but I'm building it to beat on it, and I already feel sorry for anyone this car will out-accelerate. Getting beat from light to light or at the digs is one thing, but getting beat by a Straight 8 is something precious few have ever had to live through. I'm hoping to up those numbers a bit and redefine the feeling of humiliation. This engine already told me it was hungry for a riced-out Civic, and I can't wait to feed it a few...

    Scotch~!
     

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