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Straight 8 curious

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by oldskoolflyer13, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. oldskoolflyer13
    Joined: Mar 29, 2009
    Posts: 274

    oldskoolflyer13
    Member

    Was thinkn kinda outside the V-8 bun today. Kinda curious about Straight 8's. Here are my curiosities:

    1) (in theory) If I were to embark on this adventure....which straight 8 would be the best?

    2) what kind of power ratings could be possible?

    3) is it cheaper to build a strong Chrysler HEMI (doing that)?

    4) is the "California Bills book on hot rodding Chevy, GMC, and Buick 6&8s worth a hoot?

    5) fair trade for a '56 Desoto 330 w/tranny? Some of you may say Im crazy for that....but after 5 deploymnets...I may just be:eek:
     
  2. aaggie
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,531

    aaggie
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Just a few thoughts. Buick built a strong engine and so did Pontiac. Nash had one with dual plugs but don't know much else about them.

    Reasonable power output could be possible but there was never much speed equipment made for them.

    Last and probably most important is they were looonngg and fitting them into anything they didn't origionally come in would be difficult.
     
  3. captainjunk#2
    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
    Posts: 4,412

    captainjunk#2
    Member

    i liked the packard straight eights the best , buick made an over head valve straight 8 heavy and not a lot of power , my favorite is the dusenberg straight 8 cant afford one but i can dream
     
  4. seetz
    Joined: Jun 26, 2008
    Posts: 195

    seetz
    Member

    buick 263 is good (1950-53 special and super). also pontiac flathead straight 8 (but less power and more weight). packard is nice too. but what is it for? these are all easily 10" longer than your average V, so they'll look silly in a T bucket. count on a lot of money to get extra power, you can get the Buick up to 300 hp with a shitload of torque, but no speed equipment off the shelf, you'll have to build things or have them made by your specs. I think 300 hp from a hemi is easier and cheaper than from an L-8. but makes sense, the hemi is 20+ years newer, tech changed a bit in that period. pretty much the same difference as between a flathead ford and an SBC.
     

  5. 1954 Pontiac (last year for the L-8) was a whopping 127hp with the high compression head (7.7:1 CR). They made a few parts for them but not many and they get pricey to build in a hurry. I've seen twin carb intakes. They do pop up at swaps/e-bay and even here but I could count how many on one hand. Cheapest I've seen yet was a corroded one for $450.00.
     
  6. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 10,020

    RichFox
    Member

    Search for Bonneville Betty here for Buick inspiration. Pontiac and Olds straight eight engines are smaller in displacement than most sixes. Dave Dozier had a fast Chrysler eight. Only one I ever saw. There is a Packard powered roadster seen here lots of times that looks good to me. Still I would go Buick if I was doing it at all.
     
  7. FrozenMerc
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 2,737

    FrozenMerc
    Member

    1) (in theory) If I were to embark on this adventure....which straight 8 would be the best?

    Just my $0.02 Buick and Packard. Buick because of the OHV, Packard because of the displacement (327 and 359 ci)and bottom end strength (9 main bearings).

    2) what kind of power ratings could be possible?

    250 hp should be fairly attainable cheaply. Anything over that will start to cost cubic dollars. The '54 Packard 359 was rated at 212 hp and 330 ft-lbs of torque stock.

    3) is it cheaper to build a strong Chrysler HEMI (doing that)?

    Yes, $ per hp would be cheaper with the Hemi, just not as much fun.

    4) is the "California Bills book on hot rodding Chevy, GMC, and Buick 6&8s worth a hoot?

    No Idea.

    5) fair trade for a '56 Desoto 330 w/tranny? Some of you may say Im crazy for that....but after 5 deploymnets...I may just be:eek:

    Depends, do you feel like it is?

    Good Luck
     
  8. Bearing Burner
    Joined: Mar 2, 2009
    Posts: 925

    Bearing Burner
    Member
    from W. MA

    "California Bill book is 50 years of of date. However it is a good starting point.
     
  9. THE_DUDE
    Joined: Aug 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,601

    THE_DUDE
    Member

    Don't forget the bastards are like 6 feet long.
     
  10. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 10,020

    RichFox
    Member

    I kind of liked Bill Fishers book. Some things in there, like modifications for full oil filtering and such, are still true. But I was reading the GMC part. Didn't pay any attention to the Buick 8 part. Buick 6 engines would be so old as not to be covered. Maybe you could PM Jeff Brock of the Bombshell Betty Bonneville Buick here on the HAMB. He seems to know something about going fast and living with Buick power
     
  11. bryan6902
    Joined: May 5, 2008
    Posts: 1,137

    bryan6902
    Member

    They look kinda cool, but there is a reason they stopped making them over 50 years ago. Seems like building one for speed/power may be an exercise in throwing money away when less expensive options are available. Ever think about doing a 6? Could probably make more power for less $$$$. Want to be different? Try a Pontiac OHC 6 or a Chrysler slant 6.
     
  12. oldnuts
    Joined: Jan 14, 2009
    Posts: 355

    oldnuts
    Member
    from nebraska

    i had a buick straight 8. it sounded cool with straight pipes. aftermarket parts are RARE and really hard to find or at least hard for me to find. try teambuick .com their is alot of great info along with some really smart guys on that site
     
  13. Rusty52
    Joined: Dec 13, 2009
    Posts: 89

    Rusty52
    Member

  14. Straight8's&Aces
    Joined: Oct 9, 2009
    Posts: 370

    Straight8's&Aces
    Member

    I love my Packard Straight 8. It's still a mostly stock 327 rated at 155hp 275ftlbs. It runs great, a lot of people never seen a straight 8 and I love the way everyone says Holy SHT when I pop the hood. I picked a 4 barrel intake and I plan on making some headers to bump up the HP a little. The down side to straight 8s is they are heavy but they are still really cool.
     
  15. BadassBadger
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 461

    BadassBadger
    Member
    from wisconsin

    oldsmobile had a strait eight too
     
  16. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 28,192

    The37Kid
    Member

    Don't forget Studebaker, they had the best finish in the INDY 500 with a stock block 8 back in the 1930's. Have to check my books think it was 4th place in 1934.
     

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  17. Tatzandrodz
    Joined: Jun 14, 2013
    Posts: 47

    Tatzandrodz
    Member
    from Maryland

    Buick 263 has insert bearings and hydraulic lifters ohv and is cool looking. I have one in my '50 super
     
  18. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 7,169

    flynbrian48
    Member

    Having been the unhappy owner of a Pontiac with a straight 8, I'd say if you want an underpowered gas hog that won't get out of it's own way, and is VERY prone to eat it's exhaust valves, then crack the cylinder walls that's the perfect choice!
     
  19. outlaw256
    Joined: Jun 26, 2008
    Posts: 2,023

    outlaw256
    Member

    well id like to get this Pontiac st.8 I got sittin in the floor runnin but im not that damn interested. anyone want one with the trany included cheap.....
     
  20. Rich I am with ya on the Buick mill. I have tinkered with several str8t 8s and seem to have an affection for the Buick mill that I don't have for the others. I can't say that it is the best of all of them but I just like it better.

    V-8s as a rule are easier and cheaper, but sometimes the road to extasy is a just full of pot holes.
     
  21. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,691

    Bigcheese327
    Member

    That’s the point, isn’t it? The classic “high performance” proportions are a long hood and a short deck. The honest reason for that is the inline eight engine used in the early performance cars. When I see a V8 in a long-nosed car and there’s 18 inches of room at either end (Lincoln Mk. IV, anyone?), it just looks wrong.

    I agree with the poster that suggested the Buick or Packard engines as starting points for a clean-slate build. I’ve always heard the Pontiac engines were the worst of the bunch because they were built down to a price instead of up to a standard. But I will admit to knowing nothing about the Chrysler engines or most of the pre-war stuff.

    As with most of this old stuff, it’s a labor of love because it will never produce the objective return on investment of a proven combination.
     
  22. raven007
    Joined: Jun 27, 2011
    Posts: 33

    raven007
    Member
    from Georgia

    As an aside, not all packard 8s had 9 main bearings. Some had five. I vote for the packard still. I always wanted to do one with a Miller style head.

    With the packard you will go broke buying acorn nuts for the head.
     
  23. creepjohnny
    Joined: Dec 1, 2007
    Posts: 878

    creepjohnny
    Member
    from Sunland,CA

    Use a buick 320, not the 248/263. Make yourself, or have made for you a custom carb set up with multiple carbs. Hemi motors are cool but way over done. Straight 8 would be fairly unique
     
  24. they are slow spinning torque monsters.
     
  25. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,585

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Was thinkn kinda outside the V-8 bun today. Kinda curious about Straight 8's. Here are my curiosities:

    1) (in theory) If I were to embark on this adventure....which straight 8 would be the best?

    Best for what? My choice would be Packard, second choice Buick. I'm a Chrysler fan but certain parts are now very scarce and hard to get. Packard and Buick have the best support.

    2) what kind of power ratings could be possible?

    Highest HP automotive straight eight ever, 212HP 1954 Packard Cavalier/Patrician 359 cu in. 125 - 150 more typical. Whatever engine you pick, increasing the HP by 25% or so is not too difficult. More than that is very difficult and so is making the engine survive.

    3) is it cheaper to build a strong Chrysler HEMI (doing that)?

    Yes. The hemi has more HP stock, and is easier to hop up. A Chev small block or big block even easier and cheaper.
    Basically the OHV V8 starts where the straight eight left off.

    4) is the "California Bills book on hot rodding Chevy, GMC, and Buick 6&8s worth a hoot?

    Don't know, never read it but have heard good things about it.

    5) fair trade for a '56 Desoto 330 w/tranny? Some of you may say Im crazy for that....but after 5 deploymnets...I may just be

    Depends what you want. The DeSoto is a better engine and will offer better performance. A straight eight has lots of power for normal driving but is not as good a hot rod, racing or performance choice.

    The straight eight is mostly to be different and for the nostalgia kick. Does not have to be real expensive. A friend of mine rebuild his Packard straight eight for $1000 investment in parts. A mild hop up might cost another $1000 or less.
     
  26. bubblesbacon
    Joined: Nov 12, 2011
    Posts: 266

    bubblesbacon
    Member
    from wisconsin

    I have a packard straight 8 that is not running, still in car but will be replaced, but i do want to keep it and possibly use it in something. What i want to find is a good source (articles, books or manuals) on how to rebuild the motor? know of any sources? thought you might since you have one, mine is from 1949 deluxe eight...

    it should be a 288 c.i. 130 hp motor...
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2013
  27. blyndgesser
    Joined: Jan 2, 2011
    Posts: 167

    blyndgesser
    Member
    from Georgia

    I love it when folks decide to offer advice to an OP who hasn't posted in 18 months.
     
  28. pasadenahotrod
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 11,776

    pasadenahotrod
    Member
    from Texas

    Chrysler was touting the reliability and dependability of their straight-8 engine in hopes of doing well against the V8 Cadillacs, Olds, and others. Just a few short months later they were calling the straight-8 engines old-fashioned and under-powered as they introduced their Henmi-head V8 line.
     
  29. mtkawboy
    Joined: Feb 12, 2007
    Posts: 1,213

    mtkawboy
    Member

    What are you doing this for, street or Bonneville ? If its a race motor you should get a rule book first. I personally think the Buick has the most potentail going by Salt Cat & Bonneville Betty, both multiple record holders. As for street, whatever turns you on. Keep in mind that theres nothing cheap about getting big power out of old engines
     
  30. Locomotive Breath
    Joined: Feb 1, 2007
    Posts: 711

    Locomotive Breath
    Member
    from Texas

    I recently purchased a Packard 327-4bbl and a 288-2bbl. The Packard's are long and heavy but I think the big Buick's are even heavier. The Packard's seem to be a solid, reliable design, with a good service history.
     

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