Oldsmobile V8 engine

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Oldsmobile V8
Rocket v8.jpg
1949 303 cu. in. Rocket
Manufacturer Oldsmobile division of General Motors
Also calledRocket V8
Production1949–1990 Lansing Assembly
(engine block and heads)
Saginaw Metal Casting Operations
Configuration 90° V8
Block materialCast iron
Head materialCast iron
Valvetrain Overhead valve
Fuel type Gasoline
Cooling system Water-cooled
Predecessor Oldsmobile Straight-8 engine

The Oldsmobile V8, also referred to as the Rocket, is series of engines that was produced by Oldsmobile from 1949 to 1990. The Rocket, along with the 1949 Cadillac V8, were the first post-war OHV crossflow cylinder head V8 engines produced by General Motors. Like all other GM divisions, Olds continued building its own V8 engine family for decades, adopting the corporate Chevrolet 350 small-block and Cadillac Northstar engine only in the 1990s. All Oldsmobile V8s were manufactured at plants in Lansing, Michigan while the engine block and cylinder heads were cast at Saginaw Metal Casting Operations.


All Oldsmobile V8s use a 90° bank angle, and most share a common stroke dimension: 3.4375 in (87.31 mm) for early Rockets, 3.6875 in (93.66 mm) for later Generation 1 engines, and 3.385 in (86.0 mm) for Generation 2 starting in 1964. The 260 cu in (4.3 l), 307 cu in (5.0 l), 330 cu in (5.4 l), 350 cu in (5.7 l) and 403 cu in (6.6 l) engines are commonly called small-blocks. [1] 400 cu in (6.6 l), 425 cu in (7.0 l), and 455 cu in (7.5 l) [1] V8s have a higher deck height (10.625 in (27.0 cm)versus9.33 in (23.7 cm)) to accommodate a 4.25 in (108 mm) stroke crank to increase displacement. These taller-deck models are commonly called "big-blocks", and are 1 in (2.5 cm) taller and 1.5 in (3.8 cm) wider than their "small-block" counterparts. [1]

The Rocket V8 was the subject of many first and lasts in the automotive industry. It was the first mass-produced OHV V8, in 1949.

The factory painted "small-blocks" gold or blue (flat black on the late model 307 cu in (5.0 l)), [1] while "big-blocks" could be red, green, blue, or bronze. [1]

As is the case with all pre-1972 American passenger car engines, published horsepower and torque figures for those years were SAE "Gross," as opposed to 1972 and later SAE Net ratings (which are indicative of what actual production engines produce in their "as installed" state - with all engine accessories, full air cleaner assembly, and complete production exhaust system in place).

Generation I

First generation
Displacement 303 cu in (5.0 L)
324 cu in (5.3 L)
371 cu in (6.1 L)
394 cu in (6.5 L)
Cylinder bore 3.750 in (95.3 mm)
3.875 in (98.4 mm)
4.000 in (101.6 mm)
4.125 in (104.8 mm)
Piston stroke 3.4375 in (87.3 mm)
3.6875 in (93.7 mm)

The first generation of Oldsmobile V8s ranged from 1949-1964. Each engine in this generation is quite similar with the same size block and heads.


An Oldsmobile Rocket V8 303 c.i. (5L) gasoline engine Oldsmobile Rocket V-8 303 c.i (5L) on display.jpg
An Oldsmobile Rocket V8 303 c.i. (5L) gasoline engine

The 303-cubic-inch (5.0 L) engine had hydraulic lifters, an oversquare bore:stroke ratio, a counterweighted forged crankshaft, aluminum pistons, floating wristpins, and a dual-plane intake manifold. The 303 was produced from 1949-1953. Bore was 3.75 in (95 mm) and stroke was 3.4375 in (87.31 mm). Cadillac used a distantly related engine which appeared in three different sizes through to the 1962 model year; though the Oldsmobile and Cadillac motors were not physically related, many lessons learned by one division were incorporated into the other's design, and the result were two engines known for their excellent power-to-weight ratio, fuel economy, and smooth, strong, reliable running.

The original Oldsmobile V8 was to have been marketed as "Kettering Power" after chief engineer Charles Kettering, but company policy prohibited the use of his name. Instead, influenced by the Space Race between the United States and the USSR, the legendary Rocket was born, available in Oldsmobile's 88, Super 88, and 98 models. The engine proved so popular, the division's 88 models were popularly called Rocket 88s.

The 303 was available from 1949 through 1953. In 1949 through 1951 the 2-barrel carburetor 303 produced 135 hp (101 kW) and 253 lb⋅ft (343 N⋅m), over 33% more power than the extremely popular and widely produced 100 hp (75 kW) 1949 Ford Flathead V8. 1952 88 and Super 88 V8s used a 4-barrel carburetor for 160 hp (120 kW) and 265 lb⋅ft (359 N⋅m), while 4-barrel 1953 versions upped the compression from 7.5:1 to 8.0:1 for 165 hp (123 kW) and 275 lb⋅ft (373 N⋅m).



324 ci V8 (1954-1956) 324ci Oldsmobile Rocket V8 engine, 1954-56.jpg
324 ci V8 (1954-1956)

The 324 cu in (5.3 L) version was produced from 1954 until 1956. Bore was increased to 3.875 in (98.4 mm) (same as the later 283 Chevy) and stroke remained the same at 3.4375 in (87.31 mm). Two-barrel carburetion was standard; all high performance 324s came with four-barrel carburetors. The 324 was shared with GMC trucks.

The 1954 88 and Super 88 V8s used an 8.25:1 compression ratio for 170 and 185 hp (127 and 138 kW) and 295 and 300 lb⋅ft (400 and 407 N⋅m), respectively.

The 1955 model upped the compression to 8.5:1 for 185 hp (138 kW) and 320 lb⋅ft (430 N⋅m) in the 88 and 202 hp (151 kW) and 332 lb⋅ft (450 N⋅m) in the Super 88 and 98. For engines built during the first part of 1955, the 324 skirted pistons had a reputation for failing due to the cast aluminum skirt separating from its steel interior brace. This problem did not appear until the engine had over 50,000 miles (80,000 km) on it. By late 1956, many Olds dealers learned about the problem. Compression was up again in 1956 for 230 hp (170 kW) and 340 lb⋅ft (460 N⋅m) in the 88 and 240 hp (180 kW) and 350 lb⋅ft (470 N⋅m) in the Super 88 and 98.



371 ci V8 (1957-1960) 18Aaan17 - Oldsmobile.jpg
371 ci V8 (1957-1960)

Making its debut in 1957 as standard equipment on all Olds models, [2] the 371 was produced through 1960. Bore was up to 4.0 in (100 mm) and stroke was increased to 3.6875 in (93.66 mm) for 371 cu in (6.1 L). 1959 and 1960 371s used green painted valve covers. 4-barrel models used 9.25:1 compression in 1957 and 10:1 in 1958 for 277 hp (207 kW) and 400 lb⋅ft (540 N⋅m) and 305 hp (227 kW) and 410 lb⋅ft (560 N⋅m) respectively. A 1958 2-barrel version produced an impressive 265 hp (198 kW) and 390 lb⋅ft (530 N⋅m), but had problems with early camshaft failures due to the high preload valve spring forces. Following the Automobile Manufacturer Association ban on factory supported racing, power ratings went down for the 1959 and 1960 88 models: 270 hp (200 kW) and 390 lb⋅ft (530 N⋅m) for 1959 and 240 hp (180 kW) and 375 lb⋅ft (508 N⋅m) for 1960. It was no longer available in cars in 1961. [3]

This engine was used in GMC heavy trucks as the "370" of 232 gross HP at 4200 RPM and torque 355 gross lbs-ft at 2600 RPM from 1957 to 1959.It had hardened valve seats and other features for heavy duty usage.[ citation needed ]


J-2 Golden Rocket

Introduced in the middle of the 1957 model year, [4] the 1957 and 1958 J-2 Golden Rocket had three two-barrel (twin choke) carburetors with a vacuum-operated linkage. Only the center carburetor was mechanically connected to the throttle pedal, and it was the only one equipped with a choke. When the center carburetor was opened to 60° or more engine vacuum drawn from the windshield wiper pump would simultaneously open the front and rear carburetors. These carburetors did not open progressively; they were either open or closed. The J-2 engine also had a slightly thinner head gasket, raising compression to 10.0:1. It was advertised with gross power and torque ratings of 312 hp (233 kW) at 4600 rpm and 415 lb⋅ft (563 N⋅m) at 2800 rpm. Oldsmobile charged $83 for the J-2 option with the three-speed manual (or in the 98), [5] $314 dollars with the automatic. [6]

In practice, owners who did not regularly drive hard enough to engage the front and rear carburetors experienced problems with the linkage and carburetor throats becoming clogged, and some J-2-equipped cars had the front and rear carburetors removed and blocked off. Moreover, correct tuning was a continual headache. The package was expensive to produce, and Oldsmobile discontinued it after 1958.


Bore was up to 4.125 in (104.8 mm) for the largest first-generation Rocket, the 394 cu in (6.5 L). 394s were produced from 1959–1964 and were available on many Olds models. Most 394s used 2-barrel carburetors, but special high-compression 4-barrel versions were available starting in 1961.

Power for the base engine was up to 315 hp (235 kW), even though compression was down a quarter point, to 9.75:1. [7]

The 394 replaced the 371 in Super 88 and 98 cars for 1959 and 1960 and a detuned version was used in the 88 for 1961 and the Dynamic 88 for 1962-1964.


Sky Rocket

The 1961 through 1963 Sky Rocket (and 1964 Rocket) was a high-compression, four-barrel 394 cu in (6.5 L) engine. The 10:1 compression 1961 model produced 325 hp (242 kW) and 435 lb⋅ft (590 N⋅m), while the 10.25:1 1962-1964 version upped power to 330 hp (250 kW) and 440 lb⋅ft (600 N⋅m). A special 1963 10.5:1 version was also produced with 345 hp (257 kW).



The high-compression four-barrel 394 cu. in. 1964 Starfire produced 345 hp (257 kW) and 440 lb⋅ft (600 N⋅m) for the 1963-4 Starfire and 98 Custom-Sports Coupe. It was optional on 1964 98s and Super 88s.

Aluminum 215

From 1961-1963, Oldsmobile manufactured its own version of the Buick-designed, all-aluminum 215 cubic inch V8 engine for the F-85 compact. Known variously as the Rockette, Cutlass, and Turbo-Rocket by Oldsmobile (and as Fireball and Skylark by Buick), [8] it was a compact, lightweight engine measuring 28 in (71 cm) long, 26 in (66 cm) wide, and 27 in (69 cm) high (same as the small-block Chevy), [9] with a dry weight of only 320 lb (150 kg). [10] The Oldsmobile engine was very similar to the Buick engine, but not identical: it had larger wedge combustion chambers with flat-topped (rather than domed) pistons, six bolts rather than five per cylinder, and slightly larger intake valves; the valves were actuated by shaft-mounted rocker arms like the Buick and Pontiac versions, but the shafts and rockers were unique to Oldsmobile. With an 8.75:1 compression ratio and a 2-barrel carburetor, the Olds 215 had the same rated hp, 155 hp (116 kW) at 4800 rpm, as the Buick 215, with 220 ft⋅lbf (300 N⋅m) of torque at 2400 rpm. With a 4-barrel carburetor and 10.25:1 compression, the Olds 215 made 185 hp (138 kW) at 4800 rpm and 230 lb⋅ft (310 N⋅m) at 3200 rpm with a manual transmission. With a 4-barrel carburetor and 10.75:1 compression, the Olds 215 made 195 hp (145 kW) at 4800 rpm and 235 lb⋅ft (319 N⋅m) at 3200 rpm with an automatic. The Buick version was rated at 200 hp with an 11:1 compression ratio.

The Buick version of the 215 V8 went on to become the well known Rover V8, which still remains in limited production, utilizing the Buick-style pistons, heads, and valve train gear.

The Oldsmobile engine block formed the basis of the Repco 3-liter engine used by Brabham to win the 1966 and 1967 Formula One world championships. The early Repco engines produced up to 300 bhp (220 kW), and featured new SOHC cylinder heads and iron cylinder liners. The 1967 and later versions of the Repco engine had proprietary engine blocks.

In the mid-1980s, hot rodders discovered the 215 could be stretched to as much as 305 cu in (5 l), using the Buick 300 crankshaft, new cylinder sleeves, and an assortment of non-GM parts. [11] It could also be fitted with high-compression cylinder heads from the Morgan +8. Using the 5 liter Rover block and crankshaft, a maximum displacement of 317.8 cu in (5,208 cc) is theoretically possible. [12]


Oldsmobile Turbo-Rocket V8 in a 1962 Jetfire. The turbocharger, painted red, is clearly visible. 1962 Oldsmobile Jetfire (27224201910).jpg
Oldsmobile Turbo-Rocket V8 in a 1962 Jetfire. The turbocharger, painted red, is clearly visible.

In 1962 and 1963 Oldsmobile built a turbocharged version of the 215, designated Turbo-Rocket. The turbocharger fitted to the V8 engine was a small-diameter Garrett T5 model with integral wastegate, manufactured by Garrett AiResearch, and produced a maximum of 5  psi (34  kPa) boost at 2200 rpm. The engine had 10.25:1 compression and a single-barrel carburetor. It was rated at 215 hp (160 kW) at 4600 rpm and 300 lb⋅ft (410 N⋅m) at 3200 rpm. In development, the high compression ratio combined with the charged load created problems with spark knock on hard throttle applications, which led Olds to develop and utilize a novel water-injection system that sprayed metered amounts of distilled water and methyl alcohol (dubbed "Turbo-Rocket Fluid") into the intake manifold air-stream to cool the intake charge. If the fluid reservoir was empty, a complex double-float and valve assembly in the Turbo-Rocket Fluid path would set a second butterfly (positioned between the throttle butterfly and the turbocharger) into the closed position, limiting the amount of boost pressure. Unfortunately, many customers did not keep the reservoir filled, or had mechanical problems with the turbocharger system which resulted in many of the turbo-charger installations being removed and a conventional 4 barrel carburetor and manifold installed in its place.

The Turbo-Rocket V8 was offered exclusively on the Oldsmobile Jetfire, a special version of the Cutlass compact hardtop coupe, which is noteworthy as it is one of the world's first (in fact the second) turbocharged passenger car ever offered for public sale. The Chevrolet Corvair Spyder Turbo, likewise a forced induction i.e turbo-powered car, predated the Oldsmobile Jetfire Turbo, however by only a few weeks[ citation needed ], thus being the world's very first turbocharged commercially sold vehicle.

Generation II

Second generation
Displacement Small-block:
260 cu in (4.3 L)
307 cu in (5.0 L)
330 cu in (5.4 L)
350 cu in (5.7 L)
403 cu in (6.6 L)
400 cu in (6.6 L)
425 cu in (7.0 L)
455 cu in (7.5 L)
Cylinder bore Small-block:
3.500 in (88.9 mm)
3.800 in (96.5 mm)
3.938 in (100.0 mm)
4.057 in (103.0 mm)
4.351 in (110.5 mm)
3.870 in (98.3 mm)
4.000 in (101.6 mm)
4.126 in (104.8 mm)
Piston stroke Small-block:
3.385 in (86.0 mm)
3.975 in (101.0 mm)
4.250 in (108.0 mm)

The second generation of Oldsmobile V8s was produced from 1964-1990. Most of these engines were very similar, using the same bore centers and a 9.33 in (237 mm) deck height, raised on "big-block" versions to 10.625 in (269.9 mm). Big-block and Diesel versions also increased the 2.5 in (64 mm) main bearing journal to 3.0 in (76 mm) for increased strength. All generation-2 small-block Olds V8s used a stroke of 3.385 in (86.0 mm). The big-block engines initially used a forged crankshaft with a stroke of 3.975" for the 1965-1967 425 and 400 CID versions; starting in 1968, both the 400 cu in (6.6 L) and the 455 cu in (7.5 L) big blocks used a stroke of 4.25 in (108 mm), with crankshaft material changed to cast iron except in a few rare cases.

These were wedge-head engines with a unique combustion chamber that resulted from a valve angle of only 6°. This was much flatter than the 23° of the small-block Chevrolet and 20° of the Ford small-block wedge heads. This very open and flat chamber was fuel efficient and had lower than average emissions output. It was the only GM engine to meet US emission standards using a carburetor all the way up to 1990.


The first second-generation Oldmobile V8 330 cu in (5.4 L) "Jetfire Rocket" introduced in 1964 and produced through 1967. It was released one year earlier than the tall deck 425, and debuted the standard 3.385 in (86.0 mm) stroke; bore was 3.938 in (100.0 mm). 330s were painted gold and had forged steel crankshafts. The 4 barrel versions had a larger diameter harmonic damper, the 2 barrel only a balancer hub without the rubberized outer ring.


The 400 cu in (6.6 L) version was the second tall-deck "big-block" Olds. Two distinct versions of the 400 CID engine were made:

A 1969 "Ram Rod 400" with the W-30 package 1969 Oldsmobile Ram Rod 400 engine in 442 W30.jpg
A 1969 "Ram Rod 400" with the W-30 package
"Early 400s" used the same forged steel crankshaft as the 425, while "later 400s" used the same cast iron crankshaft of the 455, with rare exceptions; some 1968 and later Olds 400/455s were produced with forged steel crankshafts. These rare cranks can be readily spotted by the "J" shaped notch in the OD of the rear flange; cast iron cranks have a "C" shaped notch. All 1965-1969 Olds 400s were painted bronze.

4-4-2 Rocket

The 1966-1967 4-4-2 400 cu in (6.6 L) V8 was a short stroke engine which featured B and C cast large-valve cylinder heads and hydraulic lifters of larger diameter, as well as push-rods of different length and diameter than the standard Olds Rocket V8. It was rated at 350 horsepower (261 kW) and 440 N⋅m (325 lb⋅ft) of torque with a Rochester 4-barrel, and 360 hp (268 kW) with the L69 tri 2-barrel option in 1966. A nominal 360 hp was claimed in 1967 when equipped with a W30 camshaft, 4-barrel, and outside air induction, 502 of which were factory produced. They were all painted Bronze and had V and G stamped on the cylinder heads.


The 425 cu in (7.0 L) big-block was the first tall-deck "big block," produced from 1965 through 1967. It is arguably the best engine Olds made in the muscle car era, although it never made it into a "muscle car". It used a 4.126 in (104.8 mm) bore and 3.975 in (101.0 mm) stroke. Most 425s were painted red, though the 1966 and 1967 Toronado units were light blue. All 425 engines were fitted with forged steel crankshafts with harmonic balancers.

Super Rocket

The standard 1965-1967 425 cu in (7.0 L) was called the Super Rocket, and was the most powerful engine option for the Oldsmobile 88 and 98 of 1965-1967. Compression ratios of 9.0:1 at 310 hp (230 kW) or 10.25:1 at 360 hp (270 kW) were available in the U.S.


A special 1965-1967 425 cu in (7.0 L) V8 was the Starfire engine. The main distinguishing features of this engine were a slightly different camshaft profile from the standard ultra high compression engine and factory dual exhaust. This engine was only available in the Oldsmobile Starfire and a performance economy model called the Jetstar I. It shared the same compression ratio of the Toronado Rocket at 10.5:1. It also used the .921 in lifter bore size of the Toronado Rocket.

Toronado Rocket

The 1966 Toronado's 425 V8, the first post-war front-wheel drive V8 application. 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado engine.jpg
The 1966 Toronado's 425 V8, the first post-war front-wheel drive V8 application.

An Ultra High Compression Toronado Rocket version of the 425 cu in (7.0 L) V8 was made for the 1966 Toronado. It had the same 0.921 in (23.4 mm)-diameter lifters of the first-generation Oldsmobile engines, rather than the standard 0.842 in (21.4 mm), which let engineers increase the camshaft's ramp speed for more power, 385 hp (287 kW), without sacrificing idle or reliability. Unlike all other 425s, this version was painted slate blue metallic.


An early (1968) red-painted Rocket 455 in a Delmont 88 Oldsmobile Rocket 455 V8 engine in a 1968 Delmont 88.jpg
An early (1968) red-painted Rocket 455 in a Delmont 88

The 425's stroke was lengthened to 4.25 in (108 mm) to achieve a 455 cu in (7.5 L) to create the Rocket 455 for 1968. It kept the retired 425's 4.126 in (104.8 mm) bore to produce between 275 and 400 hp (205 and 298 kW; 279 and 406 PS). Initially the paint was red, except for metallic blue in the Toronado applications; 1970-1976 versions were metallic blue at first, then nonmetallic blue. The "Rocket" name disappeared from the air cleaner identification decal after 1974. Although production of the 455 ended in 1976, a small number were produced through 1978 for power equipment use, such as motorhomes, boats and irrigation equipment. [13]



Produced from 1968–1980, the Rocket 350 was entirely different from the other GM divisions' 350s. It used a very oversquare 4.057 in (103.0 mm) bore and Oldsmobile small-block standard 3.385 in (86.0 mm) stroke for 350 cu in (5.7 L). Output ranged from 160-325 hp (119-242 kW). 1968-1974 350s were painted gold; 1975-1976 350s were metallic blue like the 455; 1977-1980 models were painted GM Corporate Blue. The "Rocket" name disappeared from the air cleaner decal in 1975, the same year that the catalytic converter was added to the emissions control system.

The Oldsmobile 350s made from 1968-1976 have heavy castings, beefier crankshafts, and better flowing heads.[ citation needed ] The 1977-1980 350s have lighter castings, including a thinner block with large "windows" in the main bearing bulkheads,[ citation needed ] and have crack-prone cylinder head castings[ citation needed ] manufactured by Pontiac Motor Division (castings are marked "PMD"; these heads were also used on the 260),[ citation needed ] and a lightened crankshaft.[ citation needed ] Some later versions[ which? ] of this 350 were produced with an analog electronic port fuel injection system, introduced in the Cadillac Seville of 1976.[ citation needed ]



Oldsmobile's own L34350-cubic-inch (5.7 L) V8 was used in the 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass "S", 1979 Hurst/Olds models and 1980 "4-4-2". The L34 used a 4-barrel carburetor and produced 160–170 hp (120–130 kW) and 275 ft⋅lbf (373 N⋅m).


The 455 big block Olds V8 was replaced in 1977 with the 403 cu in (6.6 L) small block, which used a 4.351 in (110.5 mm) bore, the largest ever used in a small-block V8, with the Olds small-block standard deck and 3.385 in (86.0 mm) stroke. The bore was so wide that the cylinder walls were siamesed, as in the Chevrolet 400 V8, with no space for coolant to flow between the cylinders. This sometimes led to overheating problems.[ citation needed ] Some very early 403s were painted metallic blue like the 455, but most were painted GM Corporate Blue.[ citation needed ]

The Olds 403 was used by Buick and Pontiac in addition to Oldsmobile until its discontinuation after 1979. Output was 185 hp (138 kW) and 320 lb⋅ft (430 N⋅m). Uniquely in the 1977 Toronado, the 403 engine was fitted with a crank triggered ignition system.[ citation needed ] Parts peculiar to this system include a toothed disc between the harmonic balancer and the crank pulley, the "adjacent sensor" (an early form of crankshaft position sensor), a special distributor, an engine temperature sensor, and a rudimentary computer mounted inside the car, under the dashboard.



A smaller 260 cu in (4.3 L) V8 was created for the new Oldsmobile Omega in 1975 by decreasing the bore to 3.5 in (89 mm). [16] It produced 110 hp (82 kW) net and 205 lb⋅ft (278 N⋅m). SAE gross power was 150 hp. [17] The 260 V8 received VIN code "F" and had a sales code of LV8. [17] This was the first engine to use the smaller Rochester Dualjet two-barrel carburetor, the only carburetor used on the 260.[ citation needed ] Production of the 260 V8 ended in 1982 when the 307 became the only gasoline V8 in Oldsmobile's line. The 260 was designed for economy, and was the first engine option above the 3.8 L Buick V6, which was standard fitment in many Oldsmobile models by the late 1970s. While the 260s were not very powerful compared to the larger 350 and 403 V8s, fuel economy was almost as good as the base V6.[ citation needed ] Compared to the V6, the 260 was also smoother-running, and far more durable.[ citation needed ] Most 260s were coupled to the Turbo Hydramatic 200 transmission,[ citation needed ] but a 5-speed manual transmission was also available in some vehicles.



A slightly larger 307 cu in (5.0 L) version was introduced in 1980. It uses a 3.8 in (97 mm) bore (in common with the Buick 231 V6 and 350 V8) with a 3.385 in (86.0 mm) stroke. Some early 307s were painted GM Corporate blue, but most were painted satin black. It was used in most Oldsmobile models, as well as those from Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and Pontiac. Every 307 used a four-barrel carburetor, which was a variant of the Rochester Quadrajet, usually the CCC (Computer Command Control) Quadrajet.

The output of the 307 cu in (5.0 L) wasn't particularly high in terms of horsepower. For example, the stock (non-high-output, VIN "Y") 307 cu in (5.0 L) in the 1983 Oldsmobile 98 was a mere 140 hp (100 kW), although in that year a high-output model (VIN "9") was available producing a nominal 180 hp (130 kW), at approximately 245 lb⋅ft (332 N⋅m) torque. The final 1990 configuration was rated at 140 hp (100 kW) at 3200 rpm and 255 lb⋅ft (346 N⋅m) of torque at 2000 rpm. The combination of good low-RPM torque, the Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, and the THM-200-4R three speed plus overdrive automatic transmission having a lockup torque converter allowed for fairly good performance, and fuel economy considered reasonable for the era, even in the larger and heavier model cars. The engine is also known for its reliability, smoothness and quietness.



Oldsmobile used the popular LV2, a 307-cubic-inch (5.0 L) engine, commonly known by the VIN code "Y", from 1980-1990. It was used by every domestic GM automobile marque except for GMC and Saturn. In 1985, roller lifters, floating piston wrist pins, and swirl port intake runners were added. The 307 "Y" produced 148 hp (110 kW) and 250 lb⋅ft (340 N⋅m) in 1980-1984 models and 140 hp (100 kW) and 250 lb⋅ft (340 N⋅m) in 1985-1990s. All LV2s feature a 4-barrel carburetor.

Y-version applications:


The LG8 was a modern 307 cu in (5.0 L)High-Output derivative of the LV2 produced from 1983 to 1987. Performance modifications included a "hot" camshaft (in reality, just a camshaft used in various applications during the '70s with .440"/.440" lift and 196°/208° duration at .050"), stiffer valve springs, a larger vibration damper (same as all '73-'79 350s, 403s, and 455s), a Y-pipe dual-outlet exhaust system, and richer secondary metering rods in the carburetor. It was offered in the Hurst/Olds version of the Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais and in the 4-4-2 version of the Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon. Output for 1983-1985 was 180 hp (130 kW) and 245 lb⋅ft (332 N⋅m). Revisions to the engine for 1986 included roller lifters with a slightly smaller camshaft (.435"/.438" lift and 194°/210° duration at .050"), new heads with smaller, swirl-port intake runners, floating piston pins, and larger piston dishes for lower compression (8.0:1 v. 8.4:1). These changes increased torque to 250 lb⋅ft (340 N⋅m) but lowered power to 170 hp (130 kW), while lowering the RPM at which peak power and torque was achieved.


Generation 3

1990 Oldsmobile V8 engine on display at the R. E. Olds Transportation Museum R. E. Olds Transportation Museum July 2018 09 (1990 Oldsmobile V8 engine).jpg
1990 Oldsmobile V8 engine on display at the R. E. Olds Transportation Museum

The Generation II V8 ended production in 1990. The company later introduced a new vehicle, the Oldsmobile Aurora, with a new generation V8. Based on the Cadillac Northstar engine, this, called Aurora, was a DOHC design.

From the 1950s through the late 1970s, each GM division had its own V8 engine family. Many were shared among other divisions, but each design was unique:

GM later standardized on the later generations of the Chevrolet design:

See also

Related Research Articles

Oldsmobile Former entry-level luxury division of General Motors

Oldsmobile was a brand of American automobiles produced for most of its existence by General Motors. Originally established as "Olds Motor Vehicle Company" by Ransom E. Olds in 1897, it produced over 35 million vehicles, including at least 14 million built at its Lansing, Michigan factory alone. During its time as a division of General Motors, Oldsmobile slotted into the middle of GM's five divisions, and was noted for its groundbreaking technology and designs.

Buick Skylark Series of passenger automobiles produced by Buick

The Buick Skylark is a passenger car produced by Buick. The model was made in six production runs, during 46 years, over which the car's design varied dramatically due to changing technology, tastes, and new standards implemented over the years. It was named for the species of bird called skylark.

Oldsmobile Cutlass American car model

The Oldsmobile Cutlass was a range of automobiles produced by General Motors' Oldsmobile division between 1961 and 1999. At its introduction, the Cutlass was Oldsmobile's entry-level model; it began as a unibody compact car, but saw its greatest success as a body-on-frame intermediate. The Cutlass was named after the type of sword, which was common during the Age of Sail.

Oldsmobile 88 American full-size car built by Oldsmobile

The Oldsmobile 88 is a full-size car that was sold and produced by Oldsmobile from 1949 until 1999. From 1950 to 1974, the 88 was the division's most profitable line, particularly the entry level models such as the 88 and Dynamic 88. The 88 series was also an image leader for Oldsmobile, particularly in the early years (1949–51), when it was one of the best performing automobiles, thanks to its relatively small size, light weight, and advanced overhead-valve high-compression V8 engine. This engine, originally designed for the larger C-bodied and more luxurious 98 series, also replaced the straight-8 on the smaller B-bodied 78. With the large, high performance V8, the Oldsmobile 88 is considered by some to be the first muscle car, although this title is disputed.

Oldsmobile Toronado Motor vehicle

The Oldsmobile Toronado is a personal luxury car manufactured and marketed by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors from 1966 to 1992 over four generations. The Toronado was noted for its transaxle version of GM's Turbo-Hydramatic transmission, making it the first U.S.-produced front-wheel drive automobile since the demise of the Cord in 1937.

Pontiac Tempest Automobile manufactured by Pontiac

The Pontiac Tempest is an automobile that was produced by Pontiac from 1960 to 1970, and again from 1987 to 1991.

Chevrolet big-block engine American V-8 car engine

The Chevrolet "big block" engine is a term for a series of large displacement 90° overhead valve V8s that were developed and produced by the Chevrolet Division of General Motors from the 1950s until 2009.

Chevrolet small-block engine Car engine

The Chevrolet small-block engine is a series of V8 automobile engines produced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors between 1954 and 2003, using the same basic engine block. Referred to as a "small-block" for its size relative to the physically much larger Chevrolet big-block engines, The small block family spanned from 262 cu in (4.3 L) to 400 cu in (6.6 L) in displacement. Engineer Ed Cole is credited with leading the design for this engine. The engine block and cylinder heads were cast at Saginaw Metal Casting Operations in Saginaw, Michigan.

Oldsmobile Starfire Motor vehicle

The Oldsmobile Starfire is an automobile nameplate used by Oldsmobile, produced in three non-contiguous generations beginning in 1954. The Starfire nameplate made its debut with the 1954–1956 Ninety-Eight series convertibles. For 1957 only, all Ninety-Eight series models were named "Starfire 98".

Iron Duke engine Motor vehicle engine

The Iron Duke engine is a 151 cu in (2.5 L) Straight-4 piston engine built by the Pontiac Motor Division of General Motors from 1977 to 1993. Thereafter GM's 2.2 L OHV 4-cylinder replaced it across the entire lineup of vehicles that offered it. Although its original purpose was to serve as Pontiac's new economy car engine, it was later adapted for use in a wide variety of applications across GM's lineup in the 1980s.

General Motors 60° V6 engine Motor vehicle engine

The General Motors 60° V6 engine family was a series of 60° V6 engines which were produced for both longitudinal and transverse applications. All of these engines are 12-valve cam-in-block or overhead valve engines, except for the LQ1; which uses 24 valves driven by dual overhead cams. These engines vary in displacement between 2.5 and 3.4 litres and have a cast-iron block and either cast-iron or aluminum heads. Production of these engines began in 1980 and ended in 2005 in the U.S., with production continued in China until 2010. This engine family was the basis for the GM High Value engine family. These engines have also been referred to as the X engines due to their first usage in the X-body cars.

The Chevrolet straight-six engine was an inline-6 engine made in three versions between 1929 and 1988 by the Chevrolet Division of General Motors. It replaced the Chevrolet Straight-4 engine171-cubic-inch (2,802.2 cc) inline-four as the maker's sole engine from 1929 through 1954, and was the company's base engine starting in 1955 when it added the small block V8 to the lineup. It was completely phased out in North America by 1990; in Brazil, GM held on to its fuel-injected version through the 1998 model year. It was replaced by more recently developed V6 and four-cylinder engines. Chevrolet did not offer another inline-six until the 2002 General Motors Atlas engine's debut in the Chevrolet TrailBlazer.

Pontiac V8 engine Motor vehicle engine

The Pontiac V8 engine is a family of overhead valve 90° V8 engines manufactured by the Pontiac Division of General Motors Corporation between 1955 and 1981. The engine featured a cast iron block and head and 2 valves per cylinder. Engine block and cylinder heads were cast at Saginaw Metal Casting Operations then assembled at Tonawanda Engine before delivery to Pontiac Assembly for installation.

Oldsmobile 442 Motor vehicle

The Oldsmobile 4-4-2 is a muscle car produced by Oldsmobile between the 1964 and 1987 model years. Introduced as an option package for US-sold F-85 and Cutlass models, it became a model in its own right from 1968 to 1971, spawned the Hurst/Olds in 1968, then reverted to an option through the mid-1970s. The name was revived in the 1980s on the rear-wheel drive Cutlass Supreme and early 1990s as an option package for the new front-wheel drive Cutlass Calais.

Buick V6 engine Motor vehicle engine

The Buick V6, popularly referred to as the 3800 in its later incarnations, originally 198 cu in (3.2 L) and initially marketed as Fireball at its introduction in 1962, was a large V6 engine used by General Motors. The block is made of cast iron and all use two-valve-per-cylinder iron heads, actuated by pushrods. The engine, originally designed and manufactured in the United States, was also produced in later versions in Australia. It was the first six-cylinder engine designed exclusively for Buick products since the Buick straight-six was discontinued in 1930.

Oldsmobile Diesel engine Motor vehicle engine

Oldsmobile produced three versions of a diesel engine between 1978 and 1985: a 350 cu in (5.7 L) V8 in 1978-85, a 261 cu in (4.3 L) V8 in 1979, and a 263 cu in (4.3 L) V6 from 1982 until 1985. The engines powered front and rear-wheel drive vehicles; the 4.3-litre V6 was adapted to both transverse and inline front-wheel drive applications. Sales peaked in 1981 at approximately 310,000 units, which represented 60% of the total U.S. passenger vehicle diesel market. However, this success was short-lived as the V8 diesel engine suffered severe reliability issues. While Oldsmobile had appropriately strengthened the block, they left the head bolt design and pattern unchanged to enable them to use the same tooling as for the gasoline engines. Catastrophic head bolt failures were thus legion, as diesel engines have compression ratios that are as much as three times higher than a gasoline engine. The sales and reliability woes were compounded by a decline in gas prices as well as fuel quality issues including large volumes of diesel fuel containing water or foreign particles.

Buick V8 engine Motor vehicle engine

The Buick V8 is a family of V8 engines produced by the Buick division of General Motors between 1953 and 1981. The first version replaced the Buick straight-eight. Displacements vary from 215 cu in (3.5 L) to 455 cu in (7.5 L) for its last big block in 1976. All are naturally aspirated OHV pushrod engines, except for an optional turbocharged version of the short-lived 215 used in the 1962-63 Oldsmobile Cutlass.

Quad 4 engine Motor vehicle engine

The Quad 4s is a family of principally DOHC inline four-cylinder engines produced by General Motors' Oldsmobile division between 1987 and 2002; a single SOHC version was built between 1992 and 1994.

Cadillac V8 engine Motor vehicle engine

The term Cadillac V8 may refer to any of a number of V8 engines produced by the Cadillac Division of General Motors since it pioneered the first such mass-produced engine in 1914.

General Motors 122 engine Motor vehicle engine

The 122 engine was designed by Chevrolet and was used in a wide array of General Motors vehicles. The 122 was similar to the first two generations of the General Motors 60° V6 engine; sharing cylinder bore diameters and some parts. The 122 was available in the US beginning in 1982 for the GM J platform compact cars and S-series trucks.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Hot Rod, 3/86, p.54.
  2. Flory, J. "Kelly", Jr. American Cars 1946-1959 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Coy, 2008), p.833.
  3. Flory, J. "Kelly", Jr. American Cars 1960-1972 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Coy, 2004), p.118.
  4. Flory, American Cars 1946-1959 p.833.
  5. Flory, American Cars 1946-1959, p.834.
  6. The optional heater-defroster cost $85 that year, the optional base radio $96. Flory, American Cars 1946-1959, p.834.
  7. Flory, American Cars 1946-1959, p.990.
  8. Depending on carburetion or use of turbocharger. Flory, J. "Kelly", Jr. American Cars 1960-1972 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Coy, 2004), pp.205 & 246.
  9. Baechtel, John. "Alternative Engines: Part 2--Buick V8", in Hot Rod Magazine, 11/84, p.67.
  10. Baechtel, p.67.
  11. Davis, Marlan. "Affordable Aluminum V8's [sic]", in Hot Rod Magazine, March 1985, pp.84-9 & 121.
  12. Davis, p.87.
  13. Barry, Bob; Padavano, Joe. "Engines". Oldsjunction.Classicoldsmobile.com. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  14. "1968 Oldsmobile 442 performance specs". myclassicgarage.com. Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  15. "Oldsmobile 442". oldsmobilesforever.com. Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  16. Chevedden, John; Kowalke, Ron (2012). Standard Catalog of Oldsmobile 1897–1997. Iola, WI: Krause Publications. p. 130. ISBN   978-1-4402-3235-0.
  17. 1 2 Chevedden and Kowalke, pp. 128, 131, 135