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trinacriabob

The venerable 3800 V6 engine

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Yeah, it was some sort of THM tranny...not sure if it was a full-scale THM 350 or not behind a 231 V6.

It wasn't a complete slug though--I was kind of surprised that it had as much spunk as it did. And it rode like a big Buick should, so there ya go.

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FWIR, Buick had the only 6 cyl full size model in '76..Ford and Chevy had dropped their full size 6 cyl models a few years before...with the '77 downsizing, several of the B-bodies had standard 6 cyl versions.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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I had the downsized '83 Caprice with a 3.8..... I got out run by a VW Rabbit diesel of similar vintage. However, it got extremely good fuel economy on the highway for a full size car of that era, and with the size fuel tank it had, that gave it an excellent cruising range. Considering who originally bought it, my Great-Grandfather, it was perfect for him. Not in any hurry to get anywhere and wanting the best fuel economy he could get in a full size car.

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FWIR, Buick had the only 6 cyl full size model in '76..Ford and Chevy had dropped their full size 6 cyl models a few years before...with the '77 downsizing, several of the B-bodies had standard 6 cyl versions.

Checked this WRT to Chevy and its correct. Partial reasoning, perhaps, is that by '75, only the Impala & Caprice lines were left, the last Bel Air is '74. Even then the brochure says the 350 was standard in the '74 Bel Air. Frankly I'm surprised to learn this, as I never put it past Chevy to stuff a 6 in cars way to large for one (then).

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Checked this WRT to Chevy and its correct. Partial reasoning, perhaps, is that by '75, only the Impala & Caprice lines were left, the last Bel Air is '74. Even then the brochure says the 350 was standard in the '74 Bel Air. Frankly I'm surprised to learn this, as I never put it past Chevy to stuff a 6 in cars way to large for one (then).

I guess the sales were so low they phased them out after '73...also, apparently, a manual transmission (3 on the tree) was standard on many B-bodies in '71, but very few were ordered as such..a '71 Biscayne or Bel Air w/ 6cyl and 3 on the tree would be a fascinating find. I've also read the manual was standard in '71 in the Catalina and 88 (with 350s?).

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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For Pontiac at least, the THM became standard in March of '71, IIRC.

In '71, 174 Catalinas had the manual, 30 of those being Cat Safaris.

There were 116 manual GPs, 4 manual Bonnevilles, and 2 manual Grand Villes (!!).

IMO, column-shift manuals in these cars would be a major detriment. Interesting historically, yes; but a downer to drive.

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I always thought it would be kinda funky to have a '77-'78 Impala sports coupe with the 250 inline six. And the F41 suspension option! :)

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By that time(actually just later) they started to use 200cid then 229 90* small block V6's.

You could buy a same sized 77 Chevelle w/250cid I6. Lowest priced car made in America. I know I almost did with my Dads class A discount it would've run about $2800 new with F41 package, 3 on the tree and radio&hubcap delete the dealer didn't want it on the lot w/o

hubcaps and was gonna throw in some nice wheel covers.

Edited by 67impss

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Wheee! Three on the tree!

I could shift my '55 Chevy (six + 3 speed) without using the clutch--just ease up on the accelerator when taking it out of gear, and speed the engine a little when shifting into the next. I got good enough that I could do it up and down. Probably more of a testament to decent synchros in the tranny than to any skill on my part... :)

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Nope in fact when done wrong you burn the synchros friction surface out quicker that is all skill Sir

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When I get my next car, I will miss the 3800 (Series II supercharged) in my 99 Park Avenue Ultra..... except the premium unleaded requirement. The 231 v6 is easily the best GM pushrod v6 they have ever made. (The pushrod V8s were never bad, excluding the V8-6-4 in '81-'82). The biggest reason is simple: torque. In newer cars with the modern DOHC v6s, which engine is closest to that venerable 231? The new 3.6 perhaps?

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The list left off te Series III SC engine the 260 HP version.

Today the 3.6 would be the direct 90 degree replacment but it is hard to compare the two engines.

The 3.8/3800 engine was like the LS v8. It went farther and did more than was ever expected by everyone including GM. But Time did finally catch up to it.

Dome years they were great and some versions from some years are better left forgotten.

Back in the 70's the 3.8 was like a Vega. It did do a lot of things wrong but it kept on running most of the time. I remember a guy in School that has an Omega with one. It had a bad timing chain that he refused to fix. It sounded like a Diesel but the damn thing never broke. Others like to spin bearings from some years. But over all it had a good run.

I think the hallmark of this engine was not that it was a perfect engine but the fact it was very adaptable to so many versions and vehicles over the years. Turbo's, Supercharged, Compact cars, Cadillac used em you name it they were used in ways most V6 engines never would have been used.

Even Honda had one in the SUV they got from Isuzu.

I look forward to seeing GM put this kind of effort into new engines that will advance things even farther now. Just seeing what they have done with the Eco makes me wonder what all we will see in the new V6 engines.

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On 10/13/2009 at 12:16 AM, regfootball said:

my 77 buick century coupe (regal body) had the 3.8. and the whopping 105hp or whatever.

i ran pretty well actually. it was indeed slow, but it not in an attention grabbing slow sort of way.

and it got good mpg.

there was a ton of unused room under the hood. so much so that kitty used to sleep up in the engine compartment on hot days. one day i took off and kitty came out on the pavement bouncing a few hundred yards from home.

the lack of power was great from a winter driving standpoint. you never put yourself in a dangerous position. and compared to our 77 electra with the nose heavy v8, my century had very neutral handling. i bet it was 50/50 or close to it. i actually used to go out driving during snow storms because it was so controllable in the white stuff.

never had another rwd car that was tame like that in snow.

the 3800 was a good match in that car.

I remember you once posted a photo of this car.  In the snow.  Light metallic blue + white top, IIRC.  It had the sloped front end instead of the formal Regal vertical front end.  You should post it again.

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I'm sure the narrow tires that it would have been running at the time also helped in the snow too. One of the downsides of the "performance" all-seasons we run on all cars these days is the relatively terrible snow performance. 

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10 hours ago, trinacriabob said:

I remember you once posted a photo of this car.  In the snow.  Light metallic blue + white top, IIRC.  It had the sloped front end instead of the formal Regal vertical front end.  You should post it again.

whoa, now i must see where i have that.  it was pale minty green..... it had the slotted century grille.

 

ok, this was the body style and the grille design...

 

image.png

this was the color?

 

image.png

Edited by regfootball
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20 hours ago, regfootball said:

whoa, now i must see where i have that.  it was pale minty green..... it had the slotted century grille.

 

ok, this was the body style and the grille design...

 

image.png 

this was the color?

 

image.png

Wow, the top one was a '77 color? I remember that, in '75, Olds carried it as Persimmon Metallic and it looked fantastic on the Cutlass Supreme/Salon coupes with opera windows, landau vinyl tops, and color keyed rally wheels.  My dad bought one the next year, though.

What a hoot as to photo 2.  Love that inconspicuous V6 badge.  Just think how nifty these '75 to '77 coupes would have been if the base V6 engine had already been converted over to an "even firing" offset crankshaft configuration.  The niftiest of these were a few levels up, in the upmarket cloth 60-40 seat in the Regal and in the bucket seat S/R Regal (very rare) with the trestle shifter.  I only wish that these cars offered the Olds 260 V8.  Olds shared it with Pontiac in the (Grand)LeMans, but not with Buick for their mid-sizes.

Thank you, reg.

Edited by trinacriabob

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I remember visits to the wrecker in the mid 80's to find replacements for our rusted out 77 Cutlass Supreme coupe doors.. at least one of them was replaced with a Regal door IIRC.

 

 

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mine was the green color in the bottom photo.  wish i would have had those wheels!

Edited by regfootball
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That is a really good looking green Regal.  Tin top, sport mirrors, the colour combo, plus one of the best looking OEM wheels ever, the Buick Road Wheel.  Where did we go wrong?  The '76-'77 GM A and A-Special cars were like the summit and it was downhill from there.

Edited by ocnblu
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2 hours ago, ocnblu said:

That is a really good looking Regal.  Tin top, sport mirrors, the colour combo, plus one of the best looking OEM wheels ever, the Buick Road Wheel.  Where did we go wrong?  The '76-'77 GM A and A-Special cars were like the summit and it was downhill from there.

The numbers speak for themselves.  The overwhelming sales figures for those cars spoke to what Americans liked ... at that point in time.

GM's mess ups in the '80s (think V-8-6-4, CCC that wasn't totally debugged, and general sloppiness) didn't help them even though their cars got much better by the next decade.  On top of that, throw in that it then became cool to drive European and Asian cars (reinforced by both media and peer pressure) and the pendulum swung further away from cars like GM coupes.  Since I've never been disappointed by any of the domestic (GM) cars I've bought, I will keep driving them and lament the slow disappearance of the memorable ones I teethed on.

Edited by trinacriabob
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