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FHL - Fenton Holdings Limited


#21

1968 Fenton GT


('68 GT275)

Muscle cars, GTs, personal luxury, and outright excess was the name of the game in the 1960s and the Fenton GT was no exception. With such a market voracity for performance and comfort, it had no trouble finding buyers and the only logical move was to make it more powerful and more comfortable which is exactly what FHL did. A third generation was in development by 1963 and started with the engine since the aging Fenton small block V8 had reached the limits of its design without a major refresh.

The engineers began developing a new V8 largely based on the original small block design but a decreased deck height along with revised water jacket and crankcase allowed for a larger bore spacing and stroke with virtually no effect on the exterior dimensions. The new V8 also made weight reduction a priority and made extensive use of stamped and forged parts rather than cast as well as aluminium cylinder heads. Initially the engine was produced in two displacements - a 4.1L (250 cubic inches) and a 4.5L (275 cubic inches).


('68 GT275)

The platform itself also underwent a number of changes. The hoodline was extended and tail length increased to give the car more presence. Concordant, the bodywork was changed to be fully aluminium though the chassis itself remained to be steel. In addition - though the basic configuration remained the same - the suspension was fitted with an air ride self leveling system and the front was fitted with a sway bar to decrease body roll and oversteer. And for the first time ever, the Fenton GT seated more than 2 and gained a 2+2 seating arrangement.

Styling was also heavily updated. Though basic elements such as quintessential Fenton tripartite grill were retained, a fast sweeping look was adopted reminiscent of a fighter aircraft. FHL also made a point of updating the styling regularly throughout the model’s run to keep it on the edge.


('68 GT275)

The 3rd generation GT initially came in two variants. The GT250 had the 4.1L (250 cid) V8 and featured a luxurious white or red leather interior with AM/FM radio, power steering, 4-speed manual transmission, 15 inch mag wheels, and all around disc brakes. The upgraded GT275 model had the 4.5L (275 cid) V8 and featured and handcrafted wooden trimmed interior with specially embroidered seats and GT275 badging; it also included air conditioning as well as a limited slip differential. A 3-speed automatic transmission was an option for both makes.

Colors included:

  • Candy Gloss Red
  • Silver Moon
  • Midnight Metallic
  • Cream White
  • Ornamental Evergreen

The GT’s expense made it up market buy without exception but then it always was. In the late 1960s though, it fared well being positioned as a sporty, nimble alternative to the land yachts that dominated the luxury market such as the Lincoln Continental or Chrysler Imperial. Same as the similarly positioned Mercury Cougar or Oldsmobile 442, it was not a volume car and only moved around 10,500 units a year on average through its entire production run.

1970



('70 GT292)

In order to keep the GT in people’s minds, it’s styling and feature set was gradually updated throughout its run. In 1970, at the height of the muscle car craze, Fenton released new a variant with the V8 enlarged to 4.8L (292 cubic inches). The styling also acquired a more square look. The 4.5L V8 was also upgraded with a dual 4-barrel carburetor setup called the “DualQuad” in the pursuit of more power.

Being the new top of the line, the GT292 came an 8-track player and also had an optional 5-speed manual transmission.

1972



('72 GT275)

In keeping with the times, the styling slowing evolved to be more square. The GT was also not spared the excessive chrome bumpers of the 1970s in part due to new safety regulations mandating 5 mph crash bumpers. Updates to the engines delivered yet more power but more notably was the switch over to radial tires. The GT became Fenton’s second car, after the Twisp, to use radial tires. The new tires handled differently but also much better. This allowed the wheels to be upgraded to 16 inch while the overal tire size remained the same and the larger wheels allowed the brakes to be enlarged which improved braking performance.

The 1973 oil crisis alongside mandated catalytic converted for the 1975 model year brought Fenton’s incremental styling updates to a screeching halt however as they concentrated on compliance and fleet fuel economy. Sales dropped due to newfound concerns over fuel economy but the GT’s position in the market spared it the worst of the crisis and production continued without plan for replacement.

1975



('75 GT250)

1975 marked the last major styling update before the late 1970s happened.

Emissions regulations were a major hit to the GT’s performance. In an attempt to compensate, Fenton dropped the 4-speed manual in favor of the 5-speed but this did little. Regardless, as the oil shock from 1973 died down, sales rose. This was shortlived however. Although the GT’s low volume made it far less of a target for fleet detuning in order to meet CAFE regulations, the 1979 energy crisis again tanked interest in V8s and gas guzzlers.

The oil shock caused Fenton to drop the 4.8L V8 from the line for the 1980 model year but this was futile. Fenton’s preoccupation with more pressing matters meant the GT3 had overstayed its welcome in the market place and the GT3 ceased production after the 1980 model year without replacement. Fenton would later go on to revive the GT nameplate in 1990 but more pressing matters were at hand.

In retrospect the car was ultimately success and many lamented the (temporary) end of the GT line. But it was also the end of an era and the 137,000 GT3s produced remain a testament to the 1960s mystique of American muscle.


Specifications

  • Wheelbase: 2.46 m (97 in)
  • Length: 4.34 m (170.9 in)
  • Body style: 2 door coupe
  • Seats: 4 (2+2)
  • Transmission: 4-speed manual, 3-speed automatic, 5-speed manual
  • Engines: 4.1L V8 (8VAB-P250), 4.5L V8 (8VAB-P275), 4.8L V8 (8VAB-P292)
  • Layout: longitudinal front engine, rear wheel drive
  • 0-60 mph time: 7.0 s ('72 GT292 and 5-speed manual)
  • Top Speed: 215 km/hr (134 mph)
  • Fuel Economy: nope
    • Fine… 20.5 L/100km (11.5 US mpg) for '72 GT250

Engines

8VAB-P250
1968 - 1980

  • Cast iron block; aluminium heads; forged internals
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 93 mm (3.661 in) bore X 75.5 mm (2.972 in) stroke - 4101 cc - 250.3 cubic inches
  • Compression:
    • 9.2:1 compression (1968 - 1974)
    • 7.7:1 compression (1975 - 1980)
  • 4 barrel carburetor
  • Power:
    • 145.5 kW (195 hp) @ 4500 RPM (1968 - 1974)
    • 118.8 kW (159 hp) @ 4900 RPM (1975 - 1980)
  • Torque:
    • 337 Nm (249 lb-ft) @ 2700 RPM (1968 -1974)
    • 270 Nm (199 lb-ft) @ 2700 RPM (1975 - 1980)
  • 5000 RPM max (1968 - 1974); 5400 RPM (1975 - 1980)

8VAB-P275
1968 - 1980

  • Cast iron block; aluminium heads; forged internals
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 93 mm (3.661 in) bore X 82.8 mm (3.260 in) stroke - 4497 cc - 274.4 cubic inches
  • Compression:
    • 9.6:1 compression (1968 - 1974)
    • 8.0:1 compression (1975 - 1980)
  • Fuel System:
    • 4 barrel carburetor (1968 - 1969)
    • 2 X 4 barrel carburetor (1970 - 1980)
  • Power:
    • 156 kW (209 hp) @ 4500 RPM (1968 - 1969)
    • 167.9 kW (225 hp) @ 4500 RPM (1970 - 1974)
    • 137 kW (184 hp) @ 4900 RPM (1975 - 1980)
  • Torque:
    • 371 Nm (274 lb-ft) @ 2800 RPM (1968 -1969)
    • 379 Nm (280 lb-ft) @ 2700 RPM (1970 -1974)
    • 309 Nm (228lb-ft) @ 2700 RPM (1975 - 1980)
  • 5000 RPM max (1968 - 1974); 5200 RPM (1975 - 1980)

8VAB-P292
1970 - 1979

  • Cast iron block; aluminium heads; forged internals
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 93 mm (3.661 in) bore X 88 mm (2.972 in) stroke - 4782 cc - 291.8 cubic inches
  • Compression:
    • 9.6:1 compression (1970 - 1974)
    • 8.0:1 compression (1975 - 1979)
  • 2 X 4 barrel carburetor
  • Power:
    • 178.8 kW (240 hp) @ 4600 RPM (1970 - 1974)
    • 144.4 kW (194 hp) @ 4900 RPM (1975 - 1979)
  • Torque:
    • 404 Nm (249 lb-ft) @ 2700 RPM (1970 -1974)
    • 329 Nm (243 lb-ft) @ 2700 RPM (1975 - 1979)
  • 5200 RPM max

#22

Nice, the back half reminds me of a fancier Shelby GT500


#23

I hadn’t noticed myself but now that you say that, I can’t unsee it :smile:.

Come to think it of it, it must have something to do with my main influences and references for era correct styling while I was building this car being Ford Lincoln Mercury cars. Specifically the Cougar, Continental, and Galaxie / LTD. Some Buick and some Chrysler got in there as well but mostly just Ford brands.


#24

The 1969 Fenton LE


Nine months after FHL released the Everette Bellevue, a newcomer for the Fenton brand followed suit – the 1969 Fenton “Luxury Executive” car, abbreviated to “LE”. Fenton used the 1968 Everette Bellevue as a way to sort out the bugs in their new platform and once they were confident, the LE came to market determined to give the Oldsmobile Cutlass, Cadillac Eldorado, and Lincoln Mark III a run for their money.

Initially two trims were produced. The base trim offered the same 6.1L (370 cid) V8 that was optional on the Bellevue but unlike the Bellevue came with a much more refined interior and a trailing link rear suspension instead of the Bellevue’s solid axle thus giving the LE a fully independent suspension. The LE was also an exclusively 2-door model; it was never produced as a 4-door sedan.

The upgraded “Grand Luxury” or GL trim came with a with high performance version of the 6.5L (397 cid) V8 producing 307 hp and came standard with AM/FM radio, air conditioning, and even power windows. The standard transmission on both of the original trims was FHL’s Slipstream 3-speed automatic.

Being that he was now at the ripe old age of 70, the man himself, Charles Fenton Trunt, had announced his official retirement in early 1968 at the end of 1969. None other than Everette Haverford was named as his successor in the position of CEO. After his retirement was announced, Fenton was unaware that a third trim for the LE began development. Initially proposed by lead engineer Bill Waterson and backed by soon-to-be CEO Everette Haverford, a sport-tuned variant was conceived as an annual limited production model, the first of which would be a gift to Fenton in gratitude for his years of service to the company. The “Grand Sport” or “GS” trim debuted 7 June 1969, Fenton’s 70th birthday. (Trivia: There have been many false claims to it but the LE 397GS originally owned by Fenton himself is now in the possession of Jay Leno, officially confirmed by its chassis code S1FG-C6905-0001, which breaks down to S Body, Rev1, Fenton brand, GS designator, Lansing C Plant, 1969 May, S/N 1)

The GS was essentially the same as the GL, sharing an engine and most of its interior, but many of the standard features of the GL were made optional in order to save weight. In addition, the GS’s suspension was lowered and stiffened up for better handling as well as gaining a transmission not seen standard on any other FHL car until the late 1970s, a 5-speed manual, geared such and marketed as a “4 speed with overdrive”. Further goodies included Hurst floor shifter, ram-air hood scoop, and a special two-tone paint scheme with roof and trunk stripes. It also had improved aerodynamics and offered an optional limited-slip differential.

The car was no doubt expensive whichever trim was selected. But even despite this, it had no trouble hitting the sales figures originally intended for the troubled Fenton SE that proceeded it. The first year of availability, the LE sold 19,000 units not including the limited run of 1,999 publicly available GS trims, every one of which was snatched up by the public. The following year, 1970, the LE pushed 25,200 units, again not including the 2000 GS trims. After this, production of the standard trims continued steadily at about 27,000 units per year. The first year of surplus for the GS model was 1973 and its probably obvious why. Like the Bellevue, sales figures dropped off at an unhealthy rate after the 1973 Oil Crisis, but not nearly as badly as its sibling most likely due to its status as a luxury make. Production of the LE continued for 18 months longer than Bellevue, ultimately terminating midway through 1976, in part due to its profitability and again as a way of working out the bugs with its replacement which similarly shared a platform with an Everette make.

Also like its sibling, the LE was a willing participant in the horsepower wars. The 1970 model year brought 6.5L (397 cid) V8 as standard for the base trim and the 6.7L (407 cid) V8 became standard for the GL trim and optional for the GS. The 6.7L V8 ultimately became standard for all LE trims in 1971 with options on fuel systems instead. The LE’s wanton pursuit of bigger numbers however was like all other makes at the time, curtailed and reigned back in by energy crises and government regulation. The 1975 model year showed seriously impacted figures for the 407’s performance.

Apart from its luxury and performance, the LE was unusually committed to safety. This was brought in in part by Ralph Nader’s mention of the Everette Ellston as a car quintessentially unsafe for its occupants in his book Unsafe at Any Speed, very much due to its early, simplistic unibody construction which eschewed the frame in the center of the vehicle entirely causing it crumple horribly in crashes. While the book did not discredit the Ellston to near the same extent as the Corvair – and thus the Ellston remained a market boomer – FHL fought bad publicity over it nonetheless and made a commitment to safety going forward in order to nip it in the bud. The LE featured 3-point seat belts, bucket seats with head restraints, collapsing steering column, over-axle fuel tank with side filler, padded dashboard, driver / passenger / and rear view mirror, front and rear side markers, and strengthened center section.

The LE is now a coveted classic, like the Bellevue. It is part of the legend of American muscle and unlike many of its competitors, is remembered as one of the most safe and sane cars of its day. This is not to say that everything about the car was great however, such as its fuel economy which was atrocious at best. Its supreme luxury meant it was also an expensive car to upkeep. And finding one today with all its bells and whistles still working is nothing short of an act of god.

Regardless, its performance, style, and rarity are key attributes in its appeal and a fully restored GS trim in particular can fetch an $80,000 sale price without breaking a sweat and even more at auction.


Specifications:

  • Wheelbase: 2.87 m (113 in)
  • Length: 5.03 m (198 in)
  • Body style: 2 door coupe
  • Seats: 4
  • Transmission: 3-speed automatic, 5-speed manual (GS trim only)
  • Engines: 6.1L V8 (8VB-E370), 6.5L V8 (8VB-E/P397). 6.7L V8 (8VB-E/P407)
  • Layout: longitudinal front engine, rear wheel drive
  • 0-60 mph time: 7.39 s ('69 GS w/ limited slip and manual gearbox)
  • Quarter mile: 15.55 s ('69 GS w/ limited slip and manual gearbox)
  • Fuel Economy: Oh god. Pls no!
    • 27 L/100km (8.7 US mpg) - '69 GL trim (though the others aren’t much better)

Engines

8VB-E370
Base trim: 1969

  • All case 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
Base trim: 1970

  • All case 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 - 6063 cc - 370 cubic inches
  • 9.0:1 compression
  • 4 barrel carburetor
  • 196.1 kW (263 hp) @ 4000 RPM
  • 502.4 Nm (344 lb-ft) @ 2700 RPM
  • 4500 RPM max

8VB-P397
GS: 1969-1970
GL: 1969

  • All case 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 - 6063 cc - 370 cubic inches
  • 9.6:1 compression
  • 2 X 4 barrel carburetor
  • 228.9 kW (307 hp) @ 4300 RPM
  • 550.2 Nm (406 lb-ft) @ 2700 RPM
  • 4700 RPM max

8VB-E407
Base trim: 1971 - 1976 (end production)

  • All case 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
  • Compression:
    • 9.0:1 (1971 - 1974)
    • 7.4:1 (1975- 1976)
  • 4 barrel carburetor
  • Power:
    • 204.2 kW (274 hp) @ 4000 RPM (1971 - 1974)
    • 163.4 kW (219 hp) @ 4300 RPM (1975 - 1976)
  • Torque:
    • 502.4 Nm (344 lb-ft) @ 2700 RPM (1971 - 1974)
    • 414.5 Nm (306 lb-ft) @ 2300 RPM (1975 - 1976)
  • 4500 RPM max

8VB-P407
GS / GL: 1970 - 1976 (end production; optional on the GS in 1970)

  • All case 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
  • Compression:
    • 9.6:1 (1970 - 1974)
    • 7.9:1 (1975 - 1976)
  • 2 X 4 barrel carburetor
  • Power:
    • 233.8 kW (314 hp) @ 4300 RPM (1971 - 1974)
    • 186.4 kW (250 hp) @ 4500 RPM (1975 - 1976)
  • Torque:
    • 564.9 Nm (417 lb-ft) @ 2700 RPM (1971 - 1974)
    • 452.8 Nm (334 lb-ft) @ 2700 RPM (1975 - 1976)
  • 4700 RPM max

Generations [LORE, UE4] [RD 8 RESULTS, RD 9 OPEN]
#25

The 1968 Everette Ellston


By the late 1960s, the Ellston had become a dated design both stylistically and technologically and warranted replacement. Not only this, but the early marks had made Ralph Nader’s shit-list in Unsafe At Any Speed for a tendency to turn into paper balls in collisions. While the buying public had not seemed to care tremendously, it nonetheless contributed to slumping interest in nameplate. Furthermore, the arrival of such makes as the Ford Mustang and Plymouth Barracuda vitalized if not induced the public’s interest in sportier models, something the Ellston really was not. Consequently, the 2nd generation Ellston initially set out to be a pony car killer even despite it retaining its predecesor’s front wheel drive and basic sedan body style.

To do this, the straight-6 engine was pushed to its absolute limit of 2.7L (165 cubic inches) and given an aggressive cam, high compression pistons, and a 4-barrel carburetor. This allowed it to produce a respectable 146 hp which made the 1968 Ellston peppy if not necessarily fast. The 1968 models were initially offered also with surplus stock 4.3L (263 cid) Fenton small-block V8s while a V8 option based on the new small block design was in the works. Due to gasket and oil consumption issues thanks to the aluminium head on the 2nd gen V8, a cast iron head was being developed for use in FHL’s lower end makes.

Initially the trim offerings were the same as the previous generation, minus the coupe model since the Special had been moved into its own line. The 1968 Ellston came as either a 4-door sedan called the “Standard” or a 5-door wagon called the “Custom”. Colors included were:

  • Cream White
  • Candy Gloss Red
  • Sunshine Yellow
  • Olive Green
  • Desert Brown

Initially, the 1968 Ellston was more upgraded on the interior than its predecessor, offering standard AM/FM radio, cloth and leather trimmed finish, padded carpet, and bucket seats for the front passengers. This was part of its strategy to move it more up market and take on the pony cars. This strategy arguably backfired, though as the 2nd generation Ellston sold in lesser quantities than either its ancestor or other similar makes - only about 59,000 units the first and second year. The car barely broke even on its production costs and seemed to be trying for a role it was rather unsuited to fulfill. FHL had even considered canceling the line to focus exclusively on its larger makes such as the Bellevue, LE, and ZL.

(1973 styling refresh)

By 1971, FHL had realized the model’s deficiencies and repositioned it in their lineup with a number of changes. For the 1972 model year, the straight-6 engine was dropped and replaced with the V6 engine from its sibling the Twisp. This only marginally impacted the model’s performance while simultaneously boosted its fuel economy drastically and dropped production costs by a significant margin. In addition, an odd case of reversal on feature set occurred where the standard features, like the FM radio, became optional and many of the finer finishes of the car were reserved only to the upper trim Custom station wagon model. Sales figures for 1972 improved noticeably to 76,000 units.

The arrival of even more small makes on the market, like the Chevy Vega, AMC Gremlin, and Ford Pinto, prompted further revisions to the Ellston. In particular, foreign imports were growing as an expanding number of US buyers sought more fuel efficient and smaller models. The Ellston, being a smaller model, was well-suited to compete in such markets; after all, its ancestors used to own this market. For 1973, the styling was brought up to date but the car also received radial tires, a more refined 3.2L V6 engine, and a complete safety overhaul which allowed it to be marketed as one of the safest AND most fuel efficient makes around. Whether or not this is really what prompted its success is moot since the 1973 oil crisis left Americans scrambling for fuel efficiency. In 1973, the 2nd gen Ellston hit record sales of 114,000 units and sales figures for 1974 reached 194,000 with demand in fact outstripping production. Once the initial shock died down, sales naturally dropped but remained well above 100,000 for the remainder of its run until its final year 1977 when it finally dropped to 93,000.

The 1973 model year also brought Everette’s new designation scheme to the Ellston. The “Standard” trim was instead badged as the R trim followed by the cylinder count of its engine. Upgrade packages include the “Sport” package – designated the SR trim – which brought 4-point disk brakes as opposed to the base model’s front disks and drum rears, as well as improved interior; and the “Grand Sport” package – designated the GSR trim – which brought suspension improvements for better handling, as well as dual exhausts, and 15 inch alloy wheels. The “Custom” trim was renamed the E trim (short for “Estate”) and offered the same sort of upgrades as the R trim, thus giving the model the trim designations R / SR / GSR or E / SE / GSE.

Despite its focus on economy, the 2nd generation Ellston was nonetheless the target of harsh regulations on emissions, fuel economy, and safety. While its commitment to safety made this aspect much less of a concern, the requirements for unleaded fuel and catalytic converters heavily taxed the Ellston’s performance and late models struggled to even maintain the early models’ economy figures. The Ellston received gross detuning of its engines in the 1975 through 1977.

(1976 styling refresh seen here on a GSE8 wagon)

Most ultimately agree that the decision not to cancel the Ellston early in its run was prudent and crucial to FHL’s survival. Their larger models ultimately tanked in demand during the mid to late 1970s with the energy crises. The Ellston, while not even close to the most luxurious or even memorable model, was essential for FHL’s bottom line despite initial teething problems.

The rough start of the Ellston proved a valuable lesson it itself as well. Simple though crucial, it was obvious that you cannot be something you were never designed to be.


Specifications:

  • Wheelbase: 2.69 m (106 in)
  • Length: 4.62 m (182 in)
  • Body style: 4 door sedan, 5 door wagon
  • Seats: 5
  • Transmission: 4-speed manual, 3-speed automatic
  • Engines: 2.7L straight-6 (6LA-P165), 3.0L V6 (6VA-E183), 3.2L V6 (6VA-E196), 4.3L V8 (8VA-E263), 4.1L V8 (8VAB-E250)
  • Layout: longitudinal front engine, front wheel drive
  • Fuel economy: 16.8 L/100km (14 US mpg) - 1968 Ellston with 2.7L straight-6; 11.94 L/100km (19.7 US mpg) - 1973 Ellston with 3.2L V6

Engines

6LA-P165
(1968 - 1971)

  • All cast iron; forged internals
  • Direct acting OHC; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 80 mm (3.150 in) bore X 89.5 mm (3.524 in) stroke - 2699 cc - 164.7 cubic inches
  • 9.2:1 compression
  • 4 barrel carburetor
  • 108.6 kW (146 hp) @ 5500 RPM
  • 215.7 Nm (159 lb-ft) @ 2700 RPM
  • 5900 RPM max

6VA-E183
(1972)

  • 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-E196
(1973 - 1977)

  • All cast iron; cast internals with forged pistons
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 90 mm (3.543 in) bore X 84.4 mm (3.323 in) stroke - 3922 cc - 196.6 cubic inches
  • Compression
    • 8.9:1 (1973 - 1974)
    • 8.4:1 (1975 - 1977)
  • Power
    • 98.2 kW (132 hp) @ 4600 RPM (1973 - 1974)
    • 82.8 kW (111 hp) @ 4600 RPM (1975 - 1977)
  • Torque
    • 250.3 Nm (185 lb-ft) @ 2600 RPM (1973 - 1974)
    • 205.7 (152 lb-ft) @ 2400 RPM (1975 - 1977)
  • 5000 RPM max

8VA-E263
(1968)

  • 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 - 262.1 cubic inches
  • 7.2:1 compression
  • 4 barrel carburetor
  • 117.2 kW (157 hp) @ 4100 RPM
  • 301.6 Nm (222 lb-ft) @ 2300 RPM
  • 4500 RPM max

8VAB-E250
(1969-1977)

  • All cast iron; forged rods and pistons
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 93 mm (3.661 in) bore X 75.5 mm (2.972 in) stroke - 4101 cc - 250.3 cubic inches
  • Compression:
    • 8.5:1 (1969 - 1974)
    • 7.2:1 (1975 - 1977)
  • 4 barrel carburetor
  • Power
    • 127 kW (170 hp) @ 4500 RPM (1969 - 1974)
    • 95.5 kW (128 hp) @ 4600 RPM (1975 - 1977)
  • Torque
    • 312.0 Nm (230 lb-ft) @ 2300 RPM (1969 - 1974)
    • 251.8 Nm (186 lb-ft) @ 2400 RPM (1975 - 1977)
  • 4800 RPM max (1969 - 1974); 5000 RPM max (1975 - 1977)

Did all this while rather intoxicated so please let me know if stuff doesn’t make sense. Beer is good but it also makes it hard to think.


Generations [LORE, UE4] [RD 8 RESULTS, RD 9 OPEN]
#26

The 1975 Everette Bellevue


After the 1973 Oil Crisis tanked demand in the first generation S body cars, like the Bellevue, FHL made the decision to fast track the platform’s replacement. While the platform was in development at the time, the rush job that followed (as the 2nd generation was originally intended for the 1977 model year) resulted in some of the most legendarily bad cars in FHL’s history. The first marks of the 2nd gen Bellevue went on sale in March of 1975, 14 months ahead of schedule.

The time crunch resulted in a largely copied design from the original S body platform; that is – front engine, rear wheel drive, solid rear axle with double A arms in front, and not just similar but identical wheelbase. In fact whole sections of the chassis sheet metal were basically copied on the new platform. Where the new platform differed was in the details, such as cutting length out of the hood to allow for a larger passenger compartment, lighter weight construction using plastics wherever possible, and thicker pillars and stiffened frame rails to improve safety. The decision to fast track came after a rather large bit of preliminary safety research meaning that although little else changed, safer design was a priority even amidst the hacking and slashing to get the new platform off the ground. The second gen S body platform incorporated early crash box design, improved rollover protection, and had several standard safety features not seen on many makes until the 80s such as lap-sash belts for everyone except the rear middle passenger (who still had a lap belt), bucket seats in front, fog lamps, and optional 4-wheel disk brakes.

(1975 model)

Still, this did not change the limited tool set that FHL had to work with for making the new S body a more fuel efficient car. At the time, FHL was producing two flavors of V8, both woefully inefficient OHV designs and a V6 that, while efficient (despite being OHV), was simply not powerful to enough to lug around a near 2 tonne car. FHL ultimately decided to replace the 5.5L (335 cubic inch) base big block V8 with a 4.8L (292 cubic inch) small block V8 retrofitted with an a iron head. The 335 V8 was retained as the optional top trim engine. The results were predictable and the fuel economy gains for the 1975 and 1976 Bellevues were virtually nonexistent. On a good day with all the planets aligned, they might see 11 MPG, not helped by performance-robbing emissions control and detuning in order to use unleaded fuel.

This was yet further not helped by the rush job leading to a variety of issues on the 1975 and 1976 Bellevues such as shoddy wiring, rusting problems, poor interior fit and finish, and poor ergonomics due to little design review. Although sales were improved over 1974, this had more to do with the shock from the Oil Crisis dying down and less to do with any intrinsic benefits of the new models. '75 and '76 Bellevues were well known to be slothlike slow and built like Chinese gift bag toys.

(1978 model)

After the Fenton LE terminated production in 1976, the big block V8 option went away entirely and again the engine was downsized. While interest in larger cars had perked up, the recently passed CAFE regulations threatened to reign down heavy fines for automakers not delivering better fuel economy before 1980. The 4.8L (292 cubic inch) V8 was dropped in favor of the 4.1L and 4.5L (250 / 275 cubic inch) V8s instead, with the smaller one naturally being the base engine. This did improve fuel economy marginally, but was not the leaps and bounds needed to make the Bellevue a real bread winner. As a result, FHL began developing a new V6 engine based on their 90 degree V6 then in production, except this new one had overhead cams and fuel injection. But before this could come to market – which took years – FHL concentrated on resolving the legendarily bad build quality of the early S bodies.

For 1978, FHL went back to the drawing board on the interior with two priorities - 1) make it work / fit / feel / operate better and 2) keep it light. The redesigned interior got much better reviews and reception than the previous model years and was noted for being indeed of better quality than many other similar makes. it also offered different colors (which the first revision had not) namely white, red, and brown. The exterior of the car also received a refresh, not just for build quality issues but also to keep up with the times stylistically. Colors on the car throughout its run included:

  • Bronze
  • Sunshine Yellow
  • Olive Green
  • Cobalt blue

And even despite these revisions, the car did come out lighter and thus with improved economy.

The big year for the Bellevue was 1979 however, when it gained the aforementioned V6 engine. The new V6 was of a nearly identical 3.2L displacement as the V6 that preceded it, but with the overhead cam design and fuel injection, as well as the new three-way catalytic converters, it produced much more power, about 135 hp in its first revision. This, coupled with a similarly new 4-speed automatic transmission finally got the Bellevue’s MPG figures into the 20s for cruising and a somewhat low but nonetheless significantly improved 15 MPG combined. When the energy crisis hit that year, families who needed a larger car but also couldn’t cope with thirsty V8s increasingly bought Everette Bellevues and the cars sales perked up noticeably.

Production of the second generation Bellevue continued until it was replaced in 1983. Even despite the improvements made by the 1978 and later models, which by most contemporary accounts were actually very good cars, it is as the old saying goes - you only make a first impression once. The Bellevue nameplate was miserably tainted by the early model years being so abysmal. Thus, although the car lived on in spirit, the nameplate did not.


Specifications:

  • Wheelbase: 2.87 m (113 in)
  • Length: 4.8 m (189 in)
  • Body style: 4 door sedan
  • Seats: 5
  • Transmission: 3-speed automatic, 4-speed automatic
  • Engines: 5.5L V8 (8VB-E335), 4.8L V8 (8VAB-E292), 4.5L V8 (8VAB-E275), 4.1L V8 (8VAB-E250), 3.2L V6 (6VAB-W32J)
  • Layout: longitudinal front engine, rear wheel drive
  • 0-60 mph:
    • 11.7 seconds - 1975 model with 4.8L V8
    • 10.6 seconds - 1979 model with 3.2L V6
  • Fuel Economy:
    • 15.8 L/100km (15 US mpg) - 1979 model with 3.2L V6
    • 21 L/100km (11 US mpg) - 1975 model with 4.8L V8

Engines

8VB-E335
1975 - 1976 (optional)

  • 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
  • 7.4:1 compression
  • 4 barrel carburetor
  • 132.7 kW (177 hp) @ 4300 RPM
  • 338.1 Nm (249 lb-ft) @ 4300 RPM
  • 4700 RPM max

8VAB-E292
1975 - 1976 (base engine)

  • All cast iron; cast internals
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 93 mm (3.661 in) bore X 88 mm (3.465 in) stroke - 4782 cc - 291.8 cubic inches
  • 7.2:1 compression
  • 4 barrel carburetor
  • 118.2 kW (158 hp) @ 4500 RPM
  • 290.7 Nm (214 lb-ft) @ 2400 RPM
  • 4800 RPM max

8VAB-E275 (Pre 1979) – 8VAB-W45J (1979-)
1977 - 1982 (optional)

  • All cast iron; cast internals
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 93 mm (3.661 in) bore X 82.8 mm (3.256 in) stroke - 4497 cc - 274.4 cubic inches
  • Compression
    • 7.2:1 (1977 - 1978)
    • 7.3:1 (1978 - 1982)
  • Fuel system:
    • 4 barrel carburetor (1977 - 1978)
    • Throttle body fuel injection (1979-)
  • Power
    • 108.7 kW (146 hp) @ 4600 RPM (1977 - 1978)
    • 128.2 kW (172 hp) @ 4800 RPM (1979-)
  • Torque
    • 275.4 Nm (203 lb-ft) @ 2300 RPM (1977 - 1978)
    • 306.9 Nm (226 lb-ft) @ 2400 RPM (1979-)
  • 5000 RPM max (1977 - 1978); 5200 RPM (1979-)

8VAB-E250
1977 - 1978 (base engine)

  • All cast iron; cast internals
  • Cam in block OHV; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 93 mm (3.661 in) bore X 75.5 mm (2.972 in) stroke - 4103 cc - 250.4 cubic inches
  • 7.2:1 compression
  • 4 barrel carburetor
  • 95.5 kW (128 hp) @ 4600 RPM
  • 251.8 Nm (186 lb-ft) @ 2400 RPM
  • 5000 RPM max

6VAB-W32J
1979 - 1982 (base engine)

  • All cast iron; cast internals w/ hypereutectic pistons
  • Single overhead cam; 2 valves per cylinder
  • 88 mm bore X 88 mm stroke - 3211 cc
  • 7.5:1 compression
  • Throttle body fuel injection
  • 98.5 kW (132 hp) @ 5300 RPM
  • 225.4 Nm (166 lb-ft) @ 2300 RPM
  • 5700 RPM max

Generations [LORE, UE4] [RD 8 RESULTS, RD 9 OPEN]
#27

So Malaise that it almost hurts…


#28

Believe me. I am aware :smile:

The thing that I found the most hilarious about this thing was that the detuned V8s were so bad that the 3.2L V6 actually produced more power than the 4.1L V8. And it was so light that was as fast as any of the V8s even with the same 3-speed automatic. Give it a 4-speed and its lightyears better; still painfully fucking malaise but much much better.


#29

Yes, but why make it too good?
The manual transmissions in the Chevy Vega were sourced from Opel in Germany which had stopped making three speed transmissions long before that. But since Chevrolet badly wanted to offer a three speed, Opel had to make a three speed version of their gearbox only for the Vega…


#30

Whereas the Vega came out in 1970 (which even by that time 3-speed manuals were dated - not sure why GM did that), the Bellevue gets a 4-speed in 1979, which is when US manufacturers started making the switchover to 4-speed autos anyways, particularly in larger cars.

Also in 1979, the founder of the Everette brand is CEO of Fenton Holdings, so it seemed natural he would be taking the company in a more economy-focused direction. There is both historical and canonical precedent for it.