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FHL - Fenton Holdings Limited


#1

These are the chronicles of the United States automaker FHL (Fenton Holdings Limited)

Fenton Holdings, Limited - (FHL) - est. 1922


(logo after 1967 reorganization of the C Fenton Trunt Company as FHL)

HQ:


Durand, Michigan (1922 - 1942)
Lansing, Michigan (1943 - )

Key People


Brands:


Origin


FHL started in 1922 originally under the name C Fenton Trunt Company after its founder and proprietor, Charles Fenton Trunt (1899 - 1975). Fenton, born States-side in 1899 and who preferred to go by his middle name, was the son of a Scottish immigrant and grew up on a farm in Durand, Michigan. Early on he was mechanically apt and became an expert at fixing farm equipment and motor cars, so much so he started a business out of it at age 23, the original C Fenton Trunt Company.

In spite of its humble beginnings, C Fenton Trunt Company became known in Southeast Michigan as one of the best repair services and grew quickly. Their proficiency particularly with engines and gearboxes soon got them a new sort of business in 1926 at the height of Prohibition in the United States; C Fenton Trunt Company began hot-rodding cars (ostensibly as a customs business) for use by moonshine runners. The subsequently created Fenton Customs division became a well-known and respected name in speakeasies across Michigan and Indiana.

After the end of Prohibition in 1933, Fenton Customs continued to hot-rod cars but also became sponsor and engine and transmission supplier for Indy 500 cars. Furthermore, the culmination of C Fenton Trunt Company’s experience repairs, hot-rodding, and racing engine manufacture led the C Fenton Trunt company to also become an industrial machine maker. Although business was sparse during the Great Depression, C Fenton Trunt company pressed forward.

When the United States entered World War II, the C Fenton Trunt company was called upon to aide the war effort as with virtually every other company. Their mechanical proficiency made them a natural choice to build aircraft and truck engines. The demands of the war necessitated new manufacture facilities and better access to raw materials which caused the company to move its headquarters in late 1942 to Lansing, Michigan, where its headquarters remain to this day.

With the war’s end in 1945, C Fenton Trunt Company naturally lost a sizeable chunk of its de facto business from wartime production. In the face of factories that were under capacity, they needed to once again diversify. Fenton himself made the bold decision to go head-to-head with the Big Three and started the Fenton Motorcars project in 1946. Thanks to postwar boom and the American appetite for cars in the 1950s and 1960s, this solidified C Fenton Trunt Company’s future prospects as one of the Big Four.

Logos


Vehicles & Engines Timeline


Link to Timeline

First Vehicle


1949 Fenton Grand Touring

The first ever production car by Fenton Motorcars was a 2-seater luxury sports coupe simply called the Grand Touring. The car gained immediate notoriety for its likeness to European sports models. Powered by either a 3.5L OHV V8 producing 123 hp or 4.0L OHV V12 producing 140 hp, the Grand Touring also became a prestige machine known for its smooth running and power delivery at nearly all speeds.

The Grand Touring also featured impeccably hand-stitched leather and cloth seats and door panels, hardwood trim and steering wheel, and even a radio. It also had a race-inspired fully independent suspension and a 4-speed manual gearbox, delivering responsive handling and modest but respectable performance when desired.

The Grand Touring was so well received for its comfort, good handling, performance, and styling that Fenton was initially unable to keep up with demand. In order to cut tooling costs, most of the Grand Touring’s production process was not automated in the beginning. To aide production, Fenton Motorcars invested heavily into automating the Grand Touring’s production and by 1952 they were finally able to keep with demands which had only grown. This furthered the Grand Touring’s acceptance into the market.

The car was placed among the ranks alongside makes like Ferrari, Mercedes, and Jaguar. Its success also drew the attention of Detroit, particularly automotive king General Motors who disliked Fenton’s competition against its flagship Cadillac line and the up-and-coming Chevrolet Corvette. GM approached C Fenton Trunt Company in 1953 with a proposal for buyout of the Fenton brand which they flatly declined as the Grand Touring was so profitable, a success C Fenton Trunt Company needed after its military contracts ended in 1946.

All in all, some 33,000 of these cars were produced before its replacement by a second generation in 1960.


#2

Really like the combination of American styling with a more European body, it’s been pulled off well.


#3

An early postwar American car with Euro inspiration? Sign me up!

By the way, that optional V12 was most likely created by fusing two 2.0L I6s together, which I suspect was common practice back then.


#4

Ehh, yes and no. luxury models like Packard and upper tier Cafillacs typically used purpose-built V12s and straight 8s. Straight 6s were, by the late 30s and 40s, a common man’s engine. More common was actually to turn a V8 into something else. That’s how we got engines like the Lincoln 72’ V12 which was if not derived from the Ford Flathead, then heavily influenced by it and the Buick and Chevy 90’ V6s which were each GM division’s respective V8s with 2 cylinders lopped off.


#5

From what I know it wasn’t too uncommon in Europe, I cba to explain right now so have a wikipedia quote (from the Triumph Stag article):

In common with several other manufacturers, notably Vauxhall and Lotus, a key aim of Triumph’s engineering strategy at the time was to create a family of in-line and V engines of different size around a common crankshaft. The various configurations possible would enable the production of four-, six-, and eight-cylinder power plants of capacity between 1.5 and 4 litres, sharing many parts, and hence offering economies of manufacturing scale and of mechanic training. A number of iterations of Triumph’s design went into production, notably a slant four-cylinder engine used in the later Triumph Dolomite and others. Sometimes described as two four-cylinder engines Siamesed together, it is more strictly correct to say that the later four-cylinder versions were the left half a Stag engine.


#6

I really like the old 1949 logo, but the post-1967 logo is too… radically different from the old one. In real life, that is a fast way to lose consumer trust. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


#7

You would be correct :grin:. But it’s so different because its the logo of a holding / parent company after a drastic reorganization, not the actual brand itself brand. FHL is to Fenton as GM is to Chevrolet or Fuji Heavy Industries is to Subaru. I am still working out the actual brand logo evolution.


#8

Durand eh? That’s kind of out there.:wink:


#9

Yup. Farm country indeed. Bit of a stretch but hey Flint wasn’t much of anything before carriage / car industry came around :wink:.

Anyways, back from holiday vacation. Can finally add some more here.

1958 Fenton Everette

It was apparent from the start that a one-off GT car was not going to sustain the C Fenton Trunt Company forever. Spurred by GM’s advances in 1953, Fenton began development of an all new car to diversify its offerings and gain broader market penetration in 1954. Fenton opted for something a lot less exclusive than its previous flagship luxury vehicle since there was only thing that matched the economic boom in Postwar America and that was the baby boom; new families with excess cash were an exploding market segment. Thus the car Fenton developed was a car for the every man, something as no-nonsense as Budweiser beer or pancakes for breakfast.

After a development period of three years, Fenton released the “Everette” in the second half of 1957 for the 1958 model year. It got its name from Fenton Trunt’s right-hand man in running the company, Everette Havorford, and came in three flavors:

The Standard: 4 door sedan

The Custom: 5 door wagon

The Special: 2 door coupe

The Standard and Custom came with a newly developed 2.3L straight-6 with two valves per cylinder driven directly by an overhead camshaft and producing a modest 83 hp. However, they could be optioned up to the 3.5L V8 from the Grand Touring which by this time was using a stroked out version displacing 3.7L. The Special came only with the 3.5L V8. The standard transmission for all makes was a 4-speed manual with an option for a 2-speed automatic. Other optional equipment included side mirrors and a radio.

As with their default engine, the Standard and Custom were similarly modest on the interior, featuring no-frills cloth seating, cloth-bound door panels, coarse carpet, and molded plastic trim with metallic accents. The Special came with a slightly upgraded interior with padded trim as well as leather seats. All around, it was a reserved car with a hint of luxury putting in line with the Pontiacs and Chryslers of the day. Probably the only thing of real note, that was different from other companies’ offerings at the time, was the drive layout; the Everette used a longitudinal front wheel drive configuration rather than the ubiquitous FR layout of other American cars.

The Everette got off to a slow start, selling only about 15,000 in its first five months of availability in 1957. However, sales steadily increased throughout 1958 reaching almost 70,000 by the end of the year and in 1959 and 1960, it was pushing around 100,000. When production ceased in 1961, it totaled at 354,000 Everettes produced. With the reputation of the Fenton nameplate and back-to-basics approach, the Everette became another hit, even in spite of some teething problems with the FWD layout and the somewhat anemic performance of the straight-6.

It was most likely the car’s modesty that earned it success over the similarly timed Ford Edsel. The Everette was not mean to be revolutionary and wasn’t aiming to be the epitome of affordable luxury like its counterpart. It was meant to be a basic, reliable, well-built family car on which would put Fenton in the minds of typical consumers. In addition its smaller size (being built on a 102.4 in wheelbase) meant it was better on gas an attractive to otherwise prospective buyers of AMCs and imports like the Beetle.

Specifications:

  • Wheelbase: 2.6 m (102.4 in)
  • Length: 4.4 m (173.2 in)
  • Body style: 2 door coupe, 4 door sedan, 5 door wagon
  • Seats: Standard / Custom - 6; Special - 5
  • Transmission: 4-speed manual, 2-speed automatic (optional)
  • Engines: 2.3L straight-6 (6LA-E140), 3.5L V8 (8VA-P212)
  • Layout: longitudinal front engine, front wheel drive
  • Fuel Economy: 13.1 L/100km (18 US mpg) with I6, 15.8 L/100km (15 US mpg) with V8

Engines

6LA-E140: (6 cylinder, inLine, A series - Eco cam, 140 cubic inch displacement)

  • All cast iron, cast internals
  • Direct acting OHC; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 78 mm (3.071 in) bore X 80 mm (3.150 in) stroke - 2292 cc - 139.9 cubic inches
  • 7.0:1 compression
  • 2 barrel carburetor
  • 62.5 kW (84 hp) @ 4400 RPM
  • 157 Nm (115.8 lb-ft) @ 2800 RPM
  • 5000 RPM max

8VA-P212: (8 cylinder, V, A series - street Performance cam, 212 cubic inch displacement)

  • All cast iron, forged internals
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 84 mm (3.307 in) bore X 80 mm (3.091 in) stroke - 3479 cc - 212.3 cubic inches
  • 7.4:1 compression
  • 2 barrel carburetor
  • 91.5 kW (123 hp) @ 3600 RPM
  • 257.7 Nm (190.1 lb-ft) @ 2600 RPM
  • 4100 RPM max

Generations [LORE, UE4] [FINAL RESULTS]
#10

1960 Fenton GT

By 1956, the original Grand Touring was beginning to show its age. A good buy in the early 50s, the 3.5L V8 was falling behind the offerings of even lower end brands with Chevrolet releasing their small block V8, Ford moving to an OHV design, and Chrysler putting forth the Hemi V8. This wasn’t to mention its styling which rapidly grew outdated in the frenzy of 1950s America. As a stopgap, the 3.5L was stroked to 3.7L which along with a new 2x2 barrel carb setup and raising of compression from 7.4 to 7.9:1 brought it to 143 hp, a tad more than the V12. The V12 was left untouched as the V8 moved more units and the configuration alone was the selling point, not so much its performance. However, this was only a stopgap and so in 1956, after considering the success of the car, a second generation was put in the works.

Released in 1960, the second generation Grand Touring (now simply badged as the GT) aimed to again be the supreme luxury sports vehicle and the flagship of the Fenton brand.

The GT2 came exclusively with the revised 3.7L V8 backed by a 4-speed manual. The V12 was dropped due to its much lower sales than V8 and to increase the car’s perceived availability since even the supreme American luxury makes of the time like Lincoln or Cadillac were using only V8s. In order to increase the car’s actual availability, several production-oriented design changes were made, the first being the use of a semi-trailing arm rear suspension instead of the old double A-arms in back and the second being the use of unitized construction. The unitized construction also served to reduce weight which increased performance. The GT2 hit 60 mph in 8.8 seconds and had a top speed of almost 125 mph. Other weight saving measures included an aluminium hood, trunk lid, and door panels.

Fenton also adopted a race inspired naming system with the car being officially badged as the GT225 V8 - Grand Touring, 225 cubic inches displacement, V8 engine.

The GT2 was made available in three colors with optional ornamental silver streaks on the rear quarter panel:

  • Candy Gloss Red
  • Midnight Metallic
  • Silver Moon

Interior offerings were very much the same which was to say “regal”: hand-stitched cloth and leader with real wood trim, carpet, and padded dash and door panels. A radio came standard but this time an option for a 7-inch turntable was also available as well as an option for air conditioning. Automotive journalists immediately latched onto the GT2, praising its superb construction and luxuries as well is its tight handling and responsive engine. Many compared it to a higher end Corvette (much to the dismay of GM) and again comparisons to European makes like Mercedes and Jaguar buoyed the GT’s prestige yet further. Sales figures agreed the assessments with its first year of availability outselling any prior year.

The horsepower wars of the 1960s and the attitude of keeping up with the Jones’s prompted a series of styling updates and increases in performance.

1962 Refresh


The 1962 refresh saw the 3.7L V8 bored out to 4.0L along with 3x2 barrel carburetor setup, 8.2:1 compression, and higher redline culminating in 168 hp and 7.7 second 0-60 mph time as well as higher top speed of 130 mph. It also brought front disc brakes which significantly improved braking performance.

The larger engine led this period of GT2s to be badged as the GT244 V8.

1964 Refresh


The 1964 refresh saw the 4.0L V8 bored and stroked to as large as the block would allow: 4.3L. This brought power output up to 182 hp which cut 0-60 time to 7.2 seconds and pushed top speed even further to 134 mph. The rear brakes were also upgraded to discs further improving braking performance.

The larger engine again led to this period of GT2s being badged as GT263 V8. Even though the actual engine displacement was 262.1 cubic inches, the likeness of the number to the Nazi Me262 jet fighter from WWII led marketing to round it up and call it the GT263.

Production of the GT263 continued until 1968 when it was replaced by a 3rd generation. As to be expected, sales figures were small but extremely good for such a high end make, the second generation pushing 31,000 units, almost as many as the GT1 and in a short life cycle.

Specifications:

  • Wheelbase: 2.21 m (87 in)
  • Length: 3.9 m (153 in)
  • Body style: 2 door coupe
  • Seats: 2
  • Transmission: 4-speed manual
  • Engine: 3.7L V8 (8VA-P225), 4.0L V8 (8VA-P244), 4.3L V8 (8VA-P263)
  • Layout: longitudinal front engine, rear wheel drive
  • 0-60 mph Time: 8.8 s (1960), 7.7 s (1962), 7.2 (1964)
  • Top Speed: 200 km/hr (124 mph) in 1960, 209 km/hr (130 mph) in 1962, 215 km/hr (134 mph) in 1964

Engines

8VA-P225:
1960 - 1962

  • All cast iron, forged internals
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 84 mm (3.307 in) bore X 83 mm (3.268 in) stroke - 3679 cc - 224.5 cubic inches
  • 7.9:1 compression
  • 2x2 barrel carburetor
  • 106.8 kW (143 hp) @ 3900 RPM
  • 279.1 Nm (206 lb-ft) @ 2700 RPM
  • 4300 RPM max

8VA-P244:
1962 - 1964

  • All cast iron, forged internals
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 87.5 mm (3.445 in) bore X 83 mm (3.268 in) stroke - 3992 cc - 243.6 cubic inches
  • 8.2:1 compression
  • 3x2 barrel carburetor
  • 125.1 kW (168 hp) @ 4100 RPM
  • 311.9 Nm (230 lb-ft) @ 2600 RPM
  • 4500 RPM max

8VA-P263:
1964 - 1968 (end GT2 production)

  • All cast iron, forged internals
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 90 mm (3.543 in) bore X 84.4 mm (3.323 in) stroke - 4295 cc - 262.1 cubic inches
  • 8.2:1 compression
  • 3x2 barrel carburetor
  • 136 kW (182 hp) @ 4100 RPM
  • 333.3 Nm (246 lb-ft) @ 2600 RPM
  • 4500 RPM max

#11

Now this is a proper classic grand tourer! I wonder how much more powerful the 4.3L V8 would be if it were fitted with a pair of 4-barrel carbs - it would make for a worthwhile aftermarket upgrade.


#12

Probably somewhere in Ford 289 territory. Maybe even up to 302 levels :smirk:.

On that note, lest we forget that Fenton is an American company, Ahoy! Land Yacht incoming!

1965 Fenton ZL

While the Grand Touring was a fine car, there was no avoiding its limited mass appeal due to its expense and size among other things. Americans of the 1960s wanted big cars and so in 1961, alongside the launch of Everette as a brand rather than a nameplate on a second generation platform, C Fenton Trunt Company began developing yet another clean sheet design. And this time they were really gunning for Lincoln and Cadillac. Fenton was aiming to make premium full size automobile whose comfort and drivability would be exceeded only by its presence. And so in late 1964, Fenton released the “Zenith Limousine” abbreviated and badged as the ZL for the 1965 model year. It came as either a:

  • 4 door sedan
    OR
  • 4 door convertible

The ZL was a quintessential 1960s American car. It was an enormous, V8 powered, rear wheel drive sedan with enough engine displacement for two cars anywhere else and the cushiest interior and suspension money could buy. At the heart of the ZL was Fenton’s all new “big block” OHV V8 with 5.5L - or 335 cubic inches - of displacement, 2 valves per cylinder and a 4 barrel carburetor. The new 5.5L V8 boasted 210 hp and 313 lb-ft of torque with 90% available across 80% of the rev range. This meant that when combined with the ZL’s 3-speed automatic transmission, it provided smooth, consistent power delivery matched only by a select few competitors.

The ZL’s new engine was not its only prestigious offerings however. Disc brakes on all four wheels provided the best in braking performance of the day and carefully designed progressive rate coil springs cushioned the ride to cloud-like levels. It came numerous premium safety features including driver and passenger side mirrors as well as a rear view, telescoping steering column, turn guide side headlights, and a baffled fuel tank placed over the rear axle rather than fully aft and with filler neck to the side of the vehicle.

On the interior, the ZL was somewhat more reserved than Fenton’s flagship, the GT, but was still plush nonetheless. It featured all leather bench seats front and back (though with only enough seat belts for 4) with a fold-down arm rest in the center of each. The door panels were fully leather-clad and padded and every other metallic surface was covered over with fabric velour apart form the floor which was naturally carpeted. The dash was near fully padded and the steering wheel was a sturdy molded plastic, designed to break apart if struck violently in keeping with safety. A radio was standard and air conditioning was optional. A good deal of effort was made to sound insulate the car as well making it exceptionally quiet.

Other options included a limited slip differential for dealing with mud and snow and power windows. The car came available in three colors:

  • Gloss black
  • Cream White
  • Silver Moon

By this time, the Fenton brand was beginning to get much more widespread recognition. This in combination with America’s thirst for gratuitous cars in the 1960s meant there was no where to go for the ZL but up. In its first 12 months of availability it pushed more units than the GT2 did in its entire lifetime, 37,000 units to be exact, even in spite of fierce competition from the Oldsmobile 98, Cadillac de Ville, Lincoln Continental, and Chrysler Imperial. The prestigious and yet underdog status of the Fenton brand versus the Big Three caused the Fenton ZL to become a summit car, the one a person buys after starting at the bottom and spending decades to get on top. Although the typically older age of a ZL buyer was somewhat disconcerting to marketing, it was ultimately of little concern given its steady sales. In fact, one of the biggest demographics that bought the car was middle aged, white collar men looking for a family car without compromise which might have missed the actual target but ricocheted and hit a different one that was just as good - and bigger.

The quality of the ZL was without question. Just as the Everette had put Fenton in the mind of an everyman, the ZL put Fenton in the minds of the white collar man who hadn’t quite got his kids out of the house yet. And although expensive, the car’s practicality made a much more justifiable expense than the GT which buoyed perception and sales.

Specifications:

  • Wheelbase: 3.3 m (130 in)
  • Length: 5.6 m (221 in)
  • Body style: 4 door sedan, 4 door convertible
  • Seats: 6, belts for 4
  • Transmission: 3-speed automatic
  • Engine: 5.5L V8 (8VB-E335)
  • Layout: longitudinal front engine, rear wheel drive
  • 0-60 mph Time: 12.1 s
  • Fuel Economy: 24.8 L/100km (9.5 US mpg)

Engines

8VB-E335: (aka the Fenton Big Block 335)

  • All cast iron, forged internals
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 99 mm (3.898 in) bore X 89.3 mm (3.516 in) stroke - 5497 cc - 335.4 cubic inches
  • 9.0:1 compression
  • 4 barrel carburetor
  • 156.7 kW (208 hp) @ 3900 RPM
  • 425.5 Nm (313 lb-ft) @ 2600 RPM
  • 4300 RPM max

PS: If any of you are wondering, I intentionally included the other objects in the garage shots. It made it seem like “Holy shit, this is Grandpa’s car! Its so nice! Don’t touch; don’t even breathe on it!”


#13

Liking the unique take on the rear even if it’s not conventionally pretty, so to say :slight_smile:


#14

1962 Everette Ellston

Once interest in the Fenton Everette percolated up, C Fenton Trunt Company wasted no time in developing a successor. As with the GT1, the first generation’s styling and offerings quickly grew dated in 1950s America; replacement was mandatory to stay competitive. However, the individual success of the car and its drastic difference from the GT (i.e. being a pedestrian car) led Fenton to separate off the second generation as its own brand. The newly created “Everette” brand would be C Fenton Trunt Company’s entry level offering while Fenton would be the prestigious high dollar offering - price bracketing, just like the Big Three. The first car badged as an Everette brand rather than nameplate was called the Ellston, unveiled in late 1961 for the 1962 model year.

The Everette Ellston was more of a design revision of the Fenton Everette with focuses on weight reduction, manufacturing improvements, and better design flexibility, namely the ability to use drastically different body work while still maintaining the same basic chassis and suspension. It would be Fenton’s first true car platform, dubbed the E Body internally (E for Fenton Everette), and would serve as the basis for the Everette Ellston and the Fenton SE which would follow several months later. Ellstons and SEs can be identified by the by the “E2XX” code in their VINs; 2 refers the platform generation, the first X is the brand - F for Fenton and E for Everette - and the second X is the model and/or body style.

As with the Fenton Everette that preceeded it, the Everette Ellston came in three flavors:

The Standard: 4 door sedan (E2ES)

The Custom: 5 door wagon (E2EW)

The Special: 2 door coupe (E2EC)

As before, the Standard and Custom came stock with the 2.3L straight-6 and could be optioned up to a V8 while the Special came only with the Fenton small block V8. A revision in the head design allowed for improved compression and lower valvetrain friction which brought the engine up to 90 hp. The Special now used a detuned version of the 3.7L V8 from the GT which used on a single 2 barrel carburetor. The FWD configuration was retained for all trims but a new 3-speed automatic transmission option became available in addition to the standard 4-speed manual and 2-speed automatic.1963 brought a larger 2.5L straight-6 producing x hp as the standard engine and 1964 brought the larger 4.0L small block V8, again detuned. The Ellston finally got a version of the 4.3L V8 in 1966.

Color options were:

  • Cream White
  • Candy Gloss Red
  • Mint Sparkle
  • Robin’s Egg

In the interior, the Ellston was also essentially the same as the car that preceded it but was improved in fit and finish. A radio was optional but again the selling point of the car was its functionality and economics, not its luxuries. It was a straight forward car that stood compete against other small economy cars like the Chevy Corvair and Ford Falcon. And compete it did. The Ellston picked up in sales right where the previous generation left off, pushing 94,000 units in the first year and 149,000 the next.

Like its competitors, the Ellston was attractive for being an affordable small call that at the same time didn’t feel small. Sales continued strong in the 100,000s per year right up to the Ellston was replaced by a third generation in 1968. In total, 876,000 Ellstons were made.

Specifications:

  • Wheelbase: 2.6 m (102.4 in)
  • Length: 4.35 m (171.3 in)
  • Body style: 2 door coupe, 4 door sedan, 5 door wagon
  • Seats: Standard / Custom - 6; Special - 5
  • Transmission: 4-speed manual, 2-speed automatic, 3-speed automatic
  • Engines: 2.3L straight-6 (6LA-E140), 2.5L straight-6 (6LA-E152), 3.7L V8 (8VA-E225), 4.0L V8 (8VA-E244), 4.3L V8 (8VA-E263)
  • Layout: longitudinal front engine, front wheel drive
  • Fuel Economy: 14.7 L/100km (16 US mpg) with I6; 16.44 L/100km (14.3 US mpg) with V8

Engines

6LA-E140:
1961 - 1963

  • All cast iron; cast internals
  • Direct acting OHC; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 78 mm (3.071 in) bore X 80 mm (3.150 in) stroke - 2292 cc - 139.9 cubic inches
  • 7.3:1 compression
  • 2 barrel carburetor
  • 67.1 kW (90 hp) @ 4900 RPM
  • 161 Nm (118.7 lb-ft) @ 3200 RPM
  • 5400 RPM max

6LA-E152:
1963 - 1968 (end Ellston production)

  • All cast iron; cast interals w/ forged pistons
  • Direct acting OHC; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 80 mm (3.150 in) bore X 82.8 mm (3.260 in) stroke - 2497 cc - 152.4 cubic inches
  • 7.1:1 compression
  • 2 barrel carburetor
  • 75.4 kW (101 hp) @ 5100 RPM
  • 174 Nm (128 lb-ft) @ 2700 RPM
  • 5500 RPM max

8VA-E225
1961 - 1964

  • All cast iron; cast internals
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 84 mm (3.307 in) bore X 83 mm (3.268 in) stroke - 3679 cc - 224.5 cubic inches
  • 7.2:1 compression
  • 2 barrel carburetor
  • 92.7 kW (124 hp) @ 3900 RPM
  • 258.2 (190 lb-ft) @ 2600 RPM
  • 4400 RPM max

8VA-E244
1964 - 1966

  • All cast iron; cast internals
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 87.5 mm (3.445 in) bore X 83 mm (3.268 in) stroke - 3992 cc - 243.6 cubic inches
  • 7.3:1 compression
  • 4 barrel carburetor
  • 104.5 kW (140 hp) @ 3900 RPM
  • 258.2 Nm (209 lb-ft) @ 2600 RPM
  • 4400 RPM max

8VA-E263
1966 - 1968 (end Ellston production)

  • All cast iron; cast internals
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 90 mm (3.543 in) bore X 84.4 mm (3.323 in) stroke - 4295 cc - 243.6 cubic inches
  • 7.2:1 compression
  • 4 barrel carburetor
  • 117.2 kW (157 hp) @ 4100 RPM
  • 301.6 Nm (222.4 lb-ft) @ 2300 RPM
  • 4500 RPM max

Everette brand logo - 1961:


#15

1962 Fenton SE

The flexibility of the E Body platform that Fenton was developing for the 1962 Everette Ellston presented the possibility of cultivating many different markets with low overhead. Thus C Fenton Trunt Company reasoned that it would be low risk and high reward to concurrently develop a new offering for their flagship brand. The car they envisioned was crisp, premium speedster, lesser in luxury and cost than the GT but exceeding even the best Ellston in these factors. It would be a mid market family sport coupe that could blast through winding mountain roads and weave in and out of cars on congested streets with confidence and ease, a car for the executive that needed to be places. To achieve this, Fenton bored and stroked the Ellston’s standard 2.3L straight-6 to 2.5L (152 cubic inches), gave it a tune up plus a four barrel carburetor, and let loose its full fury with a live solid rear axle. A few months after the Ellston in 1962, Fenton debuted their “Sports Executive” car, the 1962 Fenton SE152 L6.

The RWD SE brought to the table 4 seats, a 126 hp engine, a 4 speed manual, and futuristic fastback styling that was slightly ahead of its time. The car was able to achieve 60 mph in 10 seconds flat and handled corners with remarkable precision, helped by its tight suspension and stiff front roll bar. To maintain the car’s handling characteristics, the heavier Fenton small block V8 was not available in the SE. Instead, an option for a triple sidedraft carburetor setup which raised output to 136 hp was offered. The 2.5L engine were well received by critics for its quick throttle response and respectable power-to-weight ratio in the SE, complimented for being a refreshing, peppy 6-cylinder engine among many others of the era that were lethargic at best.

On the interior, the SE offered all leather bench seats with bucket-like depressions to help keep passengers and drivers from sliding about when the car took corners. The door trims were leather as well and the dash was cloth-clad and featured small ornamental wood inserts. The steering wheel was a modest but ergonomic form fitting wire core plastic. Lap belts came standard and a radio was optional. There was also an option for remotely adjustable side mirrors (simply a joystick and cable arrangement on the door) and wooden steering wheel. In keeping with other American coupes of the time, the car was of the so called “hardtop” design or in other words lacking a B pillar; only the roof was supported only by the front and rear pillars.

Colors available were:

  • Ornamental Evergreen
  • Candy Gloss Red
  • Cream White
  • Gloss Black

Despite its refinements however, the SE face planted in the marketplace. Initially, sales started off reasonably with 13,700 units sold in first year which was less than what C Fenton Trunt Company had hoped but on track to achieve their hope of selling 20,000 per year on average until replacement. Sales only dwindled though with just 9,500 being sold the following year and 7,300 the year after that, 1964. Ex post facto, numerous reasons have been offered as to why the SE did so miserably. Some naive opinions blame high upkeep costs and reliability issues but only the former is a valid claim and moot in any case given the car’s similarity in cost to other midsize sport sedans such as the Pontiac Tempest Le Mans or Studebaker Avanti. The simple truth is that the SE confused buyers; was it a cheap GT or an expensive Ellston Special?

This was not helped by the car only having 4 seats and a somewhat gritty ride. Luxury and sports buyers purchased the more expensive but more comfortable and better performing GT and premium family buyers gravitated towards the more practical, more driveable, and more comfortable Ellston and Ellston Special. And with the Ellston and GT, they got a V8s out of it. With the emerging performance infatuation in the 1960s, marketing continually hoped sales would turn around but they never did. Especially after the introduction of the 2 door Ellston as its own line as the 1965.5 Everette Special, sales of the SE dropped to GT levels and Fenton finally ceased production midway through 1965.

The lesson Fenton learned from SE was basic though crucial: Never compete against yourself. The SE was driven out of the market by Fenton’s own products, with the GT outperforming it and the Ellston so significantly undercutting it. It couldn’t quite fit the bill of either demographic. In total 33,600 SEs were built and despite the car’s failure in 1960s America, it later gained a cult following in the 1990s and 2000s for being much like an American version of the Mercedes 280 / 300SL or BMW 2002.

Specifications:

  • Wheelbase: 2.6 m (102.4 in)
  • Length: 4.4 m (173.2 in)
  • Body style: 2 door coupe
  • Seats: 4
  • Transmission: 4-speed manual
  • Engines: 2.5L straight-6 (6LA-P152), 2.5L high output straight-6 (6LA-P152HO)
  • Layout: longitudinal front engine, rear wheel drive
  • 0-60 mph time: 10.0 s (standard engine), 9.7 s (HO engine)
  • Top speed: 175 km/hr (109 mph)

Engines:

6LA-P152:

  • All cast iron; cast internals w/ forged pistons
  • Direct acting OHC; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 80 mm (3.150 in) bore X 82.8 (3.260 in) stroke - 2497 cc - 152.4 cubic inches
  • 7.6:1 compression
  • 4 barrel carburetor
  • 93.9 kW (126 hp) @ 5400 RPM
  • 187.2 Nm (138 lb-ft) @ 3400 RPM
  • 5800 RPM max

6LA-P152HO:

  • All cast iron; cast internals w/ forged pistons
  • Direct acting OHC; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 80 mm (3.150 in) bore X 82.8 (3.260 in) stroke - 2497 cc - 152.4 cubic inches
  • 8.4:1 compression
  • 3x2 barrel sidedraft carburetor
  • 101.4 kW (136 hp) @ 5400 RPM
  • 199.5 Nm (147 lb-ft) @ 3500 RPM
  • 5800 RPM max

Personally my favorite car so far. If I could have any car here, this would be the one.


#16

This is looking pretty fresh. Nice work


#17

Yeah, the artsy shots look :ok_hand:


#18

Yeah, I am still getting used to how much more flexible the UE4 fixture system is and just taking more time to play around with things as a result. Like with the SE, I finally realized how I can recreate the early 1960s rake grills commonly seen on Buicks and Dodges, so I did and turned out to be the perfect look for it.


#19

Well its been a month since my last design. Time to get this rolling again. First off, a bit of history.

1967:
A tumultuous year for the United States. Race riots rampaged across the nation as the civil rights movement hit its climax. Gender boundaries were smashed as more women joined the workforce and ran in the Boston Marathon for the first time ever, effecting anything but peaceful protest from traditionalists. NASA suffered a major setback on its goal to put men on the Moon before 1970 after Apollo 1 caught fire on the launch pad killing all three of its crew. And the Vietnam War raged on at its absolute worst with President Lyndon Johnson sending yet more troops into a war that was already lost. The turmoil struck C Fenton Trunt Company as well.

Apart from the strikes and riots, the company underwent a drastic reorganization to stave off anti-trust lawsuits over the diversity of its businesses. It began spinning off certain divisions (same as GM at the time) and restructured the hierarchy into a holding company scheme. C Fenton Trunt Company was renamed to its modern-day name, Fenton Holdings Limited, and the Fenton Motorcars division was forked into the Fenton Division and the Everette Division, giving more brand autonomy. The Machine and Tool Division was turned into subsidiary CFTool & Die; and its Repair and Parts Services division was turned into subsidiary Trunt Repair & Parts.

All this is just a long way of saying, this is why its now called FHL.

1968:

Murmurs and whispers in Detroit suggested Ford and GM were finally taking wind of the imports and were getting set to fight back. FHL’s own business analysts were taking note of the foothold that overseas makes like Volkswagen, Honda, Toyota, and Datsun were gaining. Thus, in order to stay competitive not just with the Big Three but also the imports, FHL set to work developing their own subcompact to be sold under the Everette brand. This was the origin of…


The 1971 Everette Twisp

The Twisp was FHL / Everette’s answer to the imports as well as the Ford Pinto, Chevrolet Vega, and AMC Gremlin. Same as AMC had done with the Gremlin, the Twisp was not a clean sheet design. This was because of FHL’s lack of the shear resources of Ford or GM coupled with the fact that they had just released the brand new S Body platform in 1968 at the beginning of the Twisp’s development. Instead, the new “T Body” was derived from FHL’s hugely successful E Body. It was essentially an E Body with about 23 cm (9 inches) cut out of the wheelbase. Most of the shortening came out of the front end in order to keep the passenger compartment roomy which created a problem for mounting a power plant; the Fenton straight-6 engine was too long to fit and a V8 engine was nowhere near economical enough as well as somewhat heavy and overpowered for such a small car. Because of the aforementioned monetary restrictions, developing a brand new engine was too risky of an endeavor and so Everette had to get creative.

The solution was to adapt an engine via literally hacking and slashing. One proposal was for an inline-4 derived from the straight-6 but the straight-6 was still in production so this would require new tooling. This was less preferable compared to the second option of creating a rather unconventional (and nearly unheard of in the US at the time) V6 engine from the old gen-1 4.0L (244 cubic inch) small block V8, which had been out of production for several years and its tooling sitting about unused. The second option was used and the Fenton 90’ V6 was born of an old 4.0L V8 with two cylinders chopped out. This engine would later prove invaluable :wink:.

The Twisp retained the E Body’s default FWD configuration but used struts in the front rather than double A-arms in order to save space and weight. It rode on 13-inch wheels and was FHL’s first car to use radial tires which helped significantly with handling and fuel economy. With the new 3.0L (183 cubic inch) V6 producing 112 hp and a 4 speed manual gearbox, the Twisp was able to achieve 24 MPG combined and 28 MPG highway, on par with the Chevy Vega and Ford Pinto and a damn sight better than other American cars of the era.

On the interior, the Twisp was spartan but roomy being able to reasonably seat four adults. It offered simple cloth seats, rubber floor mats, and zero frills plastic trim pieces which although austere was noted for being utilitarian and hard to ruin. The Twisp gained a good reputation as a commuter car and solid low dollar buy.

(1975 model seen here with the downsized 2.6L engine (159 cubic inch) due to US emissions regulations and the 1973 oil crisis)

The Twisp came in several unique colors:

  • Sunflower Yellow
  • Electric Lime
  • Firebird Orange

As well as FHL’s standard gloss red, white, and black. It was also notable as Everette’s first car to use the R / SR / GSR badging scheme. The base model was the Twisp R6 - for “Road, 6-cylinder” - and the upgraded trim was called the Twisp SR6 - for “Sport & Road, 6-cylinder” - which came with upgraded interior and a cammed 3.0L V6 which produced 136 hp. The final trim was the GSR6 - for “Grand Sport & Road, 6-cylinder” - which added the option roof / hood stripes and mag wheels as standard, and 4 wheel disc brakes (the default was front disc / rear drum).


(1975 refresh)

In its first two years, the Twisp was hugely successful and sold 412,000 units which prompted FHL and Everette the further invest in the car’s development. A pony car version called the TSR (Trans-american Sport & Road) was made for the 1973 model year that was RWD with sport tuned handling and features (more on this car some other time). The Twisp sold even better when the '73 oil crisis struck thanks to its fuel economy but even this wasn’t enough to stave off the coming storm.

US Federal emissions regulations mandated the use of catalytic converters in 1975 and the later CAFE regulations demanded fleet average fuel economy of 18 MPG by 1978. FHL and Everette had little choice but to comply which was unfortunate given that these mandates were somewhat at odds with each other. Catalytic converters required unleaded fuel which brought engine detuning and consequent drops in fuel economy. And thus began the steady detuning and downsizing fleet wide with not even the Twisp being spared. A smaller 2.6L V6 was developed for 1975 which replaced the 3.0L. The Twisp managed to maintain a 21 MPG combined with the biggest hit on the highway economy which dropped to 23 MPG. This was not enough though and an even smaller 2.4L (146 cubic inch) V6 replaced the 2.6L in the base model for 1977.


(1975 refresh)

Even despite the hits taken thanks to new regulations, the Twisp remained a popular model right up to its replacement in 1979, particularly in 1974 and 1975 where demand outstripped production. Its V6 engine was noted for being rough running and prone to electrical failures due to the vibration but this thralled in comparison to the issues faced by the Chevy Vega. While not often remembered fondly, it served its purpose as an economy car and in total, 2.38 million Twisps were made and is widly regarded as the reason FHL survived the 1970s.

Specifications:

  • Wheelbase: 2.39 m (94 in)
  • Length: 4.22 m (166.1 in)
  • Body style: 2 door coupe
  • Seats: 4
  • Transmission: 4-speed manual, 3-speed automatic
  • Engines: 3.0L V6 (6VA-E/P183), 2.6L V6 (6VA-E159), 2.4L V6 (6VA-E146)
  • Layout: longitudinal front engine, front wheel drive
  • Fuel economy: 9.8 L/100km (24 US mpg) 1971-1974, 11.2 L/100km (21 US mpg) 1975-1976, 10.7 L/100km (22 US mpg) 1977-1978

Engines

6VA-E183
R6: 1971 - 1974

  • All cast iron; cast internals
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 87.5 mm (3.445 in) bore X 83 mm (3.268 in) stroke - 2994 cc - 182.7 cubic inches
  • 8.5:1 compression
  • 4 barrel carburetor
  • 84.4 kW (113 hp) @ 4300 RPM
  • 227 Nm (167.4 lb-ft) @ 2600 RPM
  • 4800 RPM max

6VA-P183
SR / GSR6: 1971 - 1974

  • All cast iron; cast internals
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 87.5 mm (3.445 in) bore X 83 mm (3.268 in) stroke - 2994 cc - 182.7 cubic inches
  • 8.5:1 compression
  • 4 barrel carburetor
  • 102.4 kW (137 hp) @ 4600 RPM
  • 238.0 Nm (176 lb-ft) @ 2800 RPM
  • 5100 RPM max

6VA-E159
R6: 1975 - 1976
SR / GSR6: 1975 - 1978 (end production)

  • All cast iron; cast internals
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 84 mm (3.307 in) bore X 78.5 mm (3.091 in) stroke - 2609 cc - 159.2 cubic inches
  • 7.1:1 compression
  • 4 barrel carburetor
  • 61.2 kW (82 hp) @ 4500 RPM
  • 159 Nm (117 lb-ft) @ 2400 RPM
  • 5000 RPM max

6VA-E146
R6: 1977 - 1978

  • All cast iron; cast internals
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 84 mm (3.307 in) bore X 72 mm (2.835 in) stroke - 2395 cc - 146.2 cubic inches
  • 7.1:1 compression
  • 4 barrel carburetor
  • 56 kW (75 hp) @ 4400 RPM
  • 148 Nm (109 lb-ft) @ 2800 RPM
  • 5000 RPM max

Also, to help keep all of this stuff straight, I started building a timeline in Google Sheets

I will figure out all the 1960s stuff in due time but I wanted to challenge myself by making this little guy. Its easy to make cars when you have no care about anything but horsepower but making a saleable shitbox… that takes effort.


#20

1968 Everette Bellevue

While the Everette Ellston was well engineered to compete with other budget and small family cars of the day like the Chevy II and Plymouth Valiant, it was limited in profitability and appeal to broader markets. The buying trends of mid 1960s America revolved around “bigger is better” and with the muscle car craze brought on by the Pontiac GTO, Fenton and Everette were unfit to fully compete. In late 1964 after the smashing success of the aforementioned GTO, Fenton began work on a new mid to large size platform for a line of premium / luxury sedans and muscle cars. The first of the new “S bodies” to debut was the 1968 Everette Bellevue, an upmarket family sedan coming to market in late 1967 and aimed at buyers who would otherwise go for a Pontiac Tempest or Dodge Coronet.

The Bellevue base “Executive” trim came with Fenton’s big block 5.5L (335 cid) V8 producing 213 HP, dual exhausts, rear wheel drive, 3-speed automatic gearbox, 5 seats, and a enough trunk space for a Mafia outfit. In order to appeal to more than just typical family buyers, it also came in an upgraded “Premier” trim which featured the new and larger 6.1L (370 cid) V8, 15 inch mag wheels, larger brakes, and heavy duty suspension.

The Bellevue’s sporty looks and premium interior at a fair price point gained it instant success. Drivers and critics applauded its ample but not absurd power, its leather seats and vinyl leather door panels, smooth engine, and effortless power steering. The Bellevue was also offered with optional air conditioning, AM radio or premium AM / FM radio, limited slip differential, and 4-speed manual gearbox. The “Premier” trim came with special “Premier” badged interior with additional accents and front bucket seats rather than the standard bench with fold-down center armrest.

In addition to its interior and driving options, the Bellevue also featured some of the latest in safety technology such as collapsing steering column, padded dashboard, and standard rear view, driver, and passenger side mirrors, and over-axle fuel tank.

Being part of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Bellevue naturally participated in the “horsepower wars.” The 1969 model year brought the 6.1L (370 cid) engine as an option to the base trim and the “Premier” trim gained an even larger 6.5L (397 cid) V8 as an option. The 1972 model year brought a larger still 6.7L (407 cid) V8 as the optional engine for the “Premier”. The 1973 oil crisis brought an end to the runaway engine displacements however and also put a major damper on sales of the Bellevue. Originally slated for replacement after the 1976 model year, the diminished sales and government mandates lead to its rushed and premature replacement by an updated platform after the 1974 model year.

Right up until the trouble caused by OPEC, however, the Bellevue was a great hit as mentioned before. Its first year it sold 141,000 units and produced 187,000 on average in 1969 through 1972. After this, its sales figures slumped enormously down to 102,000 in 1973 and just 61,000 in 1974.

Although the 2-door Everette Special is more desirable, the Bellevue is now a collectible, particularly 1969, 70, 71 Premier makes with the optional 6.5L (397 cid) V8 since these were the only three years in which this variant of the Fenton big block V8 was ever produced. They are popularly converted to pro-touring classics, sleepers, and gasser drag cars or simply restored to factory-original condition. As with its competitors, it is now part of the legend of 1960s American muscle.

Specifications:

  • Wheelbase: 2.87 m (113 in)
  • Length: 5.0 m (196.9 in)
  • Body style: 4 door sedan
  • Seats: Executive; 6, Premier; 5
  • Transmission: 3-speed automatic, 4-speed manual
  • Engines: 5.5L V8 (8VB-E335), 6.1L V8 (8VB-E70), 6.5L V8 (8VB-E397), 6.7L V8 (8VB-E407)
  • Layout: longitudinal front engine, rear wheel drive
  • 0-60 mph time: 8.1 s ('72 Premier with 407 V8 and manual gearbox)
  • Quarter Mile: 16.02 s ('72 Premier with 407 V8 and manual gearbox)
  • Fuel Economy: nope.
    • Okay actually though: ~24 L/100km (9.5ish US mpg)

Engines

8VB-E335
Executive: 1968 - 1974 (end production)

  • All cast iron, forged internals
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 99 mm (3.898 in) bore X 89.3 mm (3.516 in) stroke - 5497 cc - 335.4 cubic inches
  • 9.0:1 compression
  • 4 barrel carburetor
  • 158.8 kW (213 hp) @ 3900 RPM
  • 418 Nm (309 lb-ft) @ 2500 RPM
  • 4300 RPM max

8VB-E370
Executive option: 1969 - 1974 (end production)
Premier: 1968 - 1974 (end production)

  • All cast iron, forged internals
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 99 mm (3.898 in) bore X 98.5 mm (3.878 in) stroke - 6063 cc - 370 cubic inches
  • 9.0:1 compression
  • 4 barrel carburetor
  • 182.4 kW (245 hp) @ 4000 RPM
  • 466.5 Nm (344 lb-ft) @ 2700 RPM
  • 4500 RPM max

8VB-E397
Premier (option): 1969 - 1971

  • All cast iron, forged internals
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 102.5 mm (4.035 in) bore X 98.5 mm (3.878 in) stroke - 6502 cc - 396.8 cubic inches
  • 9.0:1 compression
  • 4 barrel carburetor
  • 196.1 kW (263 hp) @ 4000 RPM
  • 502.4 Nm (371 lb-ft) @ 2700 RPM
  • 4500 RPM max

8VB-E407
Premier (option): 1972 - 1974 (end production)

  • All cast iron, forged internals
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 102.5 mm (4.035 in) bore X 101 mm (3.976 in) stroke - 6667 cc - 406.8 cubic inches
  • 9.0:1 compression
  • 4 barrel carburetor
  • 204.2 kW (274 hp) @ 4100 RPM
  • 520 Nm (384 lb-ft) @ 3100 RPM
  • 4500 RPM max

Epoch Industries - lore and model lineup thread (1867 onwards)