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ocnblu

What If? 1978 Edition

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Posted (edited)

WHAT IF:  GM had fully and properly engineered the Oldsmobile 5.7L diesel V8?  Where would diesel powered vehicles be in terms of sales percentage today?  I believe that Americans would have bought a lot more of them, which would have led to evolution of the technology for economy and performance.  Diesel power would have owned a very large percentage of the U.S. market to this day, as it has in Europe.

BUT... we all know how it was handled and were we are today.  What do you all think?

Delta88_sedan_brochure.jpg

Edited by ocnblu

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Can't argue against that. It may have also sped up turbo proliferation, as they were sorely needed on '70s-80s diesels. But GM had a ton of turbo experience already at that point.

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IF GM had gotten diesel right way back then, they would have also needed to follow up quickly with a turbocharged version.  Even the best running, problem free, Olds 5.7 diesel only has about 110 horsepower and is slower than heck  (this coming from a guy who drives a slow as heck 307).

They would have also needed to do the same to the transverse V6 diesel to bring it into more mainstream cars like the Cutlass Cierra and the eventual H-Bodies.

Even if the existing engine had worked perfectly, I think the actual performance was too bad for Americans. 

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20 hours ago, ocnblu said:

WHAT IF:  GM had fully and properly engineered the Oldsmobile 5.7L diesel V8?  Where would diesel powered vehicles be in terms of sales percentage today?  I believe that Americans would have bought a lot more of them, which would have led to evolution of the technology for economy and performance.  Diesel power would have owned a very large percentage of the U.S. market to this day, as it has in Europe.

BUT... we all know how it was handled and were we are today.  What do you all think?

It would not have changed anything. California was already against Diesel with their own emissions standards and the ability to clean up the auto's with California Emissions package would have still made it a niche power train. Europe is only now dealing with their acid rain and retention pond pollution problems from coal and diesel and as such are playing catchup to the US in trying to protect the planet and humans from toxic waste such as the Diesel produce.

I would NEVER want the US to have to deal with some of the sludge death horrors Europe has dealt with recently, from 2010 to 2014 these are some of the smaller spills that have damaged Europe.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/39618685/ns/world_news-europe/t/sludge-spill-just-eastern-europes-toxic-horrors/#.XS987OhKjuo

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/hungary-toxic-sludge-spill-reaches-danube.330264

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/08/devecser-hungary-eco-town

Toxic red mud flood of an alumina factory near Ajka, Hungary

Image: Poisoned perch on bank of Tisa River

Very happy Diesel did not get the blanket approval to poison the air and water of the US the way it has in Europe. 

Time to let Diesel die.

 

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1 hour ago, Drew Dowdell said:

...Olds 5.7 diesel only has about 110 horsepower and is slower than heck...
Even if the existing engine had worked perfectly, I think the actual performance was too bad for Americans. 

Remember; this is an era when the base motor Corvette had but 175/185 HP.

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21 hours ago, ocnblu said:

WHAT IF:  GM had fully and properly engineered the Oldsmobile 5.7L diesel V8?  Where would diesel powered vehicles be in terms of sales percentage today?  I believe that Americans would have bought a lot more of them, which would have led to evolution of the technology for economy and performance.  Diesel power would have owned a very large percentage of the U.S. market to this day, as it has in Europe.

BUT... we all know how it was handled and were we are today.  What do you all think?

Maybe, maybe not.  The Buick 231 V6 was already spreading throughout GM's car lines by 1978 with fewer pollution issues than any diesel engine at that time.  Properly engineering a diesel V8 would have more likely found its way into pickup trucks and that engine would have done much better in an S-10 than a 98 Regency.  A turbocharger added to the diesel would have been the next big thing.

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1 hour ago, balthazar said:

Remember; this is an era when the base motor Corvette had but 175/185 HP.

Fine, but the Corvette weighs a lot less than a Custom Cruiser or Fleetwood.

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Posted (edited)

It weighed more than a Cutlass V6 tho- by hundreds of pounds. 350-D might have been pretty close.

Point is, 110 HP in the midst of an era of top-to-bottom performance malaise is not as big a deal as hindsight would imply. Dad had a '77 Safari 301, with 135 HP, that I drove 1000s of miles. No speed demon, certainly heavier than a Cutlass diesel, but it was 'fine' for regular transportation duty. I don't think the diesel's performance killed it then - it was the unreliability. 

Edited by balthazar
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Then again- you read the text here and maybe I'm off in my assessment. 

Scan.jpeg

4.3L V6 diesel, 101 HP, 5-spd manual, plus basically aping Chrysler's Ram Induction 'math' of the 1960s.

Scan2.jpeg

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Again, they would have needed to follow these up with turbo versions in order to make the inroads that @ocnblu is looking for in his "what if?" 

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Yep- hence the many posts here stating such. As gas engines got their legs back under them, diesels would have had to keep pace.

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