Archive for the ‘Buick engines over the years’ Category

Story by Phil

“In the old days bigger meant better. From 1959 thru 1966 the air cleaner decal on Buick was the engine torque not the cubic inches. Starting in 1967 cubic inches was used…”

1959-1966 401 cu. In. Nailhead
1961-1963 198 cu.in V-6
1962-1963 215 cu. In. all aluminum V-8
1964-1967 225 cu in V-6
1964-1967 300cu. in. V-8 aluminum heads in 1964 only
1964-1966 425 cu in Nailhead (optional dual quads)
1965-1966 400 cu in Nailhead, this was really a 401 engine
1966-1967 340 cu in
1967-1969 400 cu in new design
1967-1969 430 cu in
1968-1980 350 cu in
1970-1976 455 cu in
1975-current 231 cu in V-6 (optional turbocharger or supercharger)
1982-1984 4.1 liter V-6
1982-1985 3.0 liter V-6
1989-1991 3.3 liter V-6

Other GM engines used in Buicks

1968-1974 250 cu in inline six by Chevrolet
1976 260 cu in Oldsmobile
1977-1980 350 cu in Oldsmobile
1977 350 cu in Chevrolet
1977-1979 403 cu in Oldsmobile
1978-1980 305 Chevrolet
1980-1985 2.8 liter Chevrolet V-6
1981-1990 307 cu in Oldsmobile
1981 265 cu in Pontiac
1986-1991 Quad four Oldsmobile 4 cylinder dual OHC
1982 1.8 liter Chevrolet 4 cylinder
1982-1986 1.8 liter OHC Pontiac 4 cylinder (optional turbocharger)
1987-1989 2.0 liter OHC Pontiac 4 cylinder (optional turbocharger)
1988-1991 3.1 Chevrolet V-6

The 1977 California emissions standards were the cause of the disappearance of the Buick built V-8 engines in California. Pontiac V-8 engines also failed to comply. Gone were both the 350 and the 455 Buick V-8s. Federal emissions standards weren’t as tough and the engines stayed around until 1980, both failed the 1981 federal standard.

Starting in 1977 GM started substituting engines the same way Ford and Chrysler had done for years. The engine manufacturer was determined by the size. When you opened the hood you never knew what to expect. The first 1977 Regal we got in with a 350 Chevrolet V-8 under the hood got quite a laugh from all of us. It was also a sad day as we all had a lot of pride with the Buick heritage.

Up to 1976 items were added to engines to reduce emissions. Starting in 1977 reduced emissions was considered when designing an engine. Reducing the bore while maintaining the same stroke was one way to accomplish this. A good example of this was the 403 Oldsmobile V-8. Introduced in 1977 it failed the 1980 emission test. For 1980 its replacement was the 350. The 350 failed the 1981 emissions test. Starting in 1981 was the 307. These three engines all have the same stroke, the pistons kept getting smaller. When this is done you loose low-end torque and the maximum horsepower is developed at a higher rpm. Fuel injection was not around for these engines and they were all gutless wonders. To get the desired acceleration you really had to put you foot into the throttle and as a consequence the gas mileage was bad.

Starting around 1985 with the technology, computer and fuel injection available, engines started to get back the torque and horsepower of yester year and meet the emission standards of today. The pick-up trucks need for high torque at a low rpm you see the V-10 by Ford and Chrysler. Turbochargers are common now as well as superchargers. In 1957 the Chevrolet Corvette with a 283 cubic inch engine produced 283 horsepower. One horsepower per cubic inch was impressive and had never been done before. Today that’s nothing. Take the Buick V-6 for example, 231 cubic inches, 285 horsepower and 30 miles per gallon. We have come a long way haven’t we.

Phil