Oldsmobile's engine line-up for '67 will
be practically unchanged from '66. The standard 4-4-2 engine will still rate 350 HP with
the single Quadrajet carb. As you know, Olds brought out a cold air package for the 4-4-2
last summer, consisting of an air box around the Tri-Carb system fed through long flexible
rubber tubes from scoops behind the grille. The package also included a hotter hydro cam
and stiffer valve springs, (Similar to Pontiac's Ram Air package for the GTO.) Olds rated
this combination 360 HP in '66, and approximately 50 cars were built to qualify the stuff
as "stock" under NHRA rules. The idea is to offer this package as optional
factory-installed equipment on any '67 4-4-2. The final decision hasn't been made as this
is written; but chances took good, especially since Pontiac is offering their Ram Air
engine for factory installation this year. The Olds people are serious about being fully
competitive with the GTO.
Oldsmobile is offering another interesting option on all
their V-8 engines, called "Climate Control". This is not strictly a performance
item; but we think you're going to see a lot more of this on future American cars. All it
is, in effect, is a system of air mixing valves in the air cleaner housing to mix hot air
with the warm (or cool) underhood air to try to maintain temperature of around 100 degree
F. at the carburetor inlet at all times. The hot air is taken from a muff around the
exhaust manifold. The air butterfly valves are operated by vacuum diaphragms, controlled
by a bimetal thermostat (by bleeding manifold vacuum across the diaphragm).
One of the chief benefits of the system is that you get hot
air into the carburetor within seconds after a cold start. This prevents dangerous icing,
and allows the choke to come off much sooner, which saves gas and engine oil dilution. But
another important advantage is that the carburetor doesn't need to be calibrated to give
smooth performance on a cold engine. It can be jetted considerably leaner overall because
the engine is always drawing warm air. This not only saves gas, but the output of
smog-producing unburned hydrocarbons is greatly reduced. (Another example of smog problems
influencing the design of modern engines.) And, of course, it would be no trick to rig
this system to use cold air from outside the engine compartment through some scoop system.
In other words, mix hot and cold air instead of hot and warm air. Then the system could be
calibrated to maintain, say, 80 or 90 degree F. at the carb inlet year around - whereas
now this can go to 120 or 130 degrees on hot days. This would represent a difference of 10
or 15 horses on a strong engine. Then it becomes a definite performance item. We
think this development will start a trend to inlet air temperature control on
high-performance American cars. Future smog laws will force it, if nothing else.
Another interesting Olds option for '67 is their
"Turnpike" package for the F-85 Cutlass Supreme. It's designed for smooth, easy
cruising at speeds up to 90 MPH on today's superhighways. The combination consists of a
special 400-cubic-inch two-barrel engine with low-overlap cam, three-speed TurboHydramatic
transmission, and 2.41 axle gears. The three-speed automatic is necessary to get enough
acceleration for passing in the kickdown gear with the 2.41 axle ratio. They say the
performance is brisk enough to suit anybody - and gas mileage is said to be over 20 miles
per gallon at 70 miles per hour! To our knowledge, this is the first time any company has
offered an equipment package aimed specifically at smooth, economical highspeed highway
cruising. Hats off to Oldsmobile for another first!
We might also mention that Olds is, now making their own
rear axles and limited-slip differentials. (They have bought axles from Buick and Pontiac
for years.) The new axles are much beefier and longer-lasting (with no, increase in
weight), and the limited-slip unit features a unique S-shaped load spring and
electro-chemical etching of clutch plates to give more constant friction and consistent
performance over the full life of the unit. Incidentally, there are two sizes of axles,
for the F-85's and big cars, and you can order the big car axle (called "Aplus"
option) as optional equipment on 44-2's, if you want to go racing. However, so far the
strongest gear ratio available for the big axle is 3.91, where you can get 4.33's for the
F85 axle. This will be taken care of soon.
Oldsmobile will be right in the thick of the performance
picture in 1967. The 4-4-2 is currently just about the hottest combination in C/Stock on