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Old 09-12-2007, 06:12 PM   #21
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I can remember 30 years ago Firebirds coming in with Camaro signs on one fender and Firebird on the other.

Fed, I'm not sure about the 403 being based on anything that the Chevy engines had. The small block chevy is completley diff. than any olds engine. Chevy started with the 265 in 56 and went to the 283 in 57 from there they have 302, 305 307 327 350 and up to a 400 with the siamesed cylinders. These were all small block engines. The Olds 403 was considered a big block and I just can't remember any thing in common with the chevy line up.

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Old 09-12-2007, 06:26 PM   #22
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Sarah -

How much does that sucker weigh?

"These walls are kind of funny. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. Enough time passes, gets so you depend on them"
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Old 09-12-2007, 07:04 PM   #23
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Actually the 403 was considered more of a "medium" block. It was a different block from the Olds 455. It was a smallblock in the sense that it was smaller than a Chevy, Olds, Ford, Chrysler, or Buick big-block, but it was still bigger than something like the Ford 302 block or the Chevy smallblock. It actually has its roots in the old 1949 Olds "Rocket" V-8, which I think started off as a 303 CID unit. By the dawn of the 70's, I think Olds only offered a 350 or 455, although what little need there was for a 6-cyl was served by the Chevy 250-inline 6. Once fuel economy became a concern, they started offering a tiny 260 CID version of the V-8, and the Buick 231 ultimately replaced the Chevy 250 inline 6. True big-blocks were dropped for 1977, and that's when the 403 version was released, to sort of fill in for them. And the cars were downsized enough that a 1977 big car with the 403 was probably quicker than its 1976 counterpart with a 455. However, the 403 would be short-lived. Fuel economy concerns started to surface again. The 403 was dropped for 1980. I think Pontiac stopped offering 400's and 403's in their Catalinas and Bonnevilles starting in 1979, but I could be wrong. And the 403 may have been dropped from the LeSabre and Delta 88 lineup that year, but it was still offered in the Ninety Eight and Electra. For 1980, a new displacement of the Olds "Rocket", the 307, was introduced. It became the standard engine on Electras and 98s, with the 350 still being optional. Then in 1981 they made a Buick 4.1 (252 CID) V-6 standard on those big car, with the 307 being the biggest option, unless you were masochistic enough to get a Diesel. Supposedly a 1981 Electra with the 4.1 was good for 0-60 in about 18.5 seconds! The last time a premium Buick or Olds had been that slow was probably in the 1940's!

As for weight, my Consumer Guide classic car book lists the 1975 Delta 88 Royale convertible at 4455 lb base weight. So yeah, it's a bit porky, but there were a lot of midsized cars back then breaking the two ton barrier!
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Old 09-12-2007, 07:11 PM   #24
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Oh yeah...just wanted to mention that the Olds 307 had nothing to do with the Chevy 307. The Chevy 307 was introduced around 1967 as a replacement for the 283. I've heard that it had a "softer" block than other Chevy blocks like the 283 and 327, perhaps to make it lighter? Anyway, it supposedly wasn't all that durable, and was never really offered in high hp configurations. I think it was just a 2-bbl with 200 hp gross/130 net. It was common in Novas, Camaros, Chevelles, and an occasional full-size. And pickups. It was phased out in 1973. The big cars had gotten too big for that engine in 1971, and for 1973 the midsized cars were really pushing it. And with the crude emissions controls, it was down to 115 hp that year, so there really wasn't much use for it. It was dropped and replaced, pretty much, by a wussed-down version of the 350. Then the 305 came out for 1975 or 1976.

The Olds 307 was on the Oldsmobile block, built from 1980-1990, and used a small 4-bbl carb. It had 150 hp its first year out, but was then cut to 140 until its end. There was a high-output 180 hp version used in the 1980's 442/Hurst.

GM tended to get confusing with a lot of those overlapping numbers, like having three 455's, two 400's, four 350's, two 307's, etc. In later years they caused some confusion by having a 4.3 V-6 AND a 4.3 V-8! Olds also had their own 4.3 V-8 (the 260) and a 4.3 V-6 (diesel only, and I think it was a 262 CID, basically their 350 with two cylinders lopped off)

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