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Lost Factory Projects


#1

What’s up Folks!
Today Yours trully is gonna start a series where i’ll be discussing those cool factory projects that, for different reasons, were discontinued and/or cancelled during development. Some were even cancelled well into the prototyping stages. Some were left as design ideas. Some almost left the factory gates. What do they have in common? All of them ended up fading into obscurity in one form or another.

Today We’ll start with some interesting powertrain projects that were unceremoniously “shelved” by those picky execs who were overprotecting those “important” corporate budgets.

Behold…Oldsmobile’s retired W43 DOHC Big-Block Engine, which was slated to beat up FoMoCo’s all conquering “Cammer” 427 motor at the drags for the 1972 Season.
W43CARS-2-640x472

INFO: http://www.streetmusclemag.com/news/the-w43-oldsmobiles-dohc-455-v8-that-never-was/


#2

Yep, a classic example of Chevy refusing to accept that if they want the Corvette to be the fastest thing in the fleet, they need to make it that way, not hold everything else in General Motors back. Best thing they could do in every generation of Corvette is to tell their other divisions, “Go nuts, but tell us what you did. We’ll use that knowledge to make the Corvette better later.”

Instead, they insist that “Nothing shall ever touch our most holy creation, the Corvette.” I think it’s why I think I have a strong, deep-seated love for the Buick Grand National.


#3

Totally agree. If those picky accountants were far more enthusiastic about extreme performance, the almigthy 'Vette woluld be th absolute scourge of the Grand Touring Car world. Period.


#4

At any rate, the impending oil crisis would have scuppered a project with such a heavy emphasis on performance. Decades later, Oldsmobile introduced another quad-cam V8 for use in the Aurora, but it failed to save the brand from being axed.


#5

If I recall correctly, that one was used -specially prepared BTW- for those “new” naturally aspirated Indycars from the mid 90’s. Am I right?


#6

At the very least the Aurora V8 did give Oldsmobile several top speed records (thanks to the Aerotech prototypes) and IndyCar cred before GM put the kibosh on the entire brand… They seem to be a company of one-off great ideas; the Fouranado comes to mind.

But this W43 business is insane stuff. Imagine a 442 W-30, but with this nesting between the front wings… It would’ve buried the Chevelle 454, or at the very least give it a run for its money.

But when you’re fighting for the same market as Chevrolet, you must answer to them…


#7

Ever heard of the Ball-Stud HEMI?

So late 60s Chrysler was trying to design a new engine, cheaper than the current 426 hemi, but more performance than the RB big blocks (383 and 440).

And a reported 12 engines were created, with 3 being fully built/functioning. There’s the possibility that 3 still exist today. Those were ready for testing in early 1971/72

http://www.streetmusclemag.com/news/introducing-the-ball-stud-hemi-chryslers-mystery-mini-elephant/


(The A 279 section in the hot rod article.)


http://www.thehemi.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2980
(Backs up the ebay listing)

http://www.thehemi.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=628
(Back up of the ebay pics)

Oh, and if you have access to old back issues of Hot Rod Magazine, March 1986 has an article on the 444ci HEMI.

shameless plug: this is where I got the idea for my own 444ci hemi for my company lore


#8

Not the only example of one upmanship within a company. GM had a policy restricting the A body line to a displacement no larger than 330 cubic inches. John DeLorean disregarded this policy when developing the Pontiac GTO. Instead a 389 was used in the first car. Numerous restrictions were placed including a ban on multiple carburetors. (Interestingly enough the Corvette and the Corvair were conveniently exempt from this rule) The 1964 GTO was also supposed to have disc brakes and radial tires, but were killed by GM exec Ed Cole. Can’t have anything upstage the Corvette.

Another more modern example is the comparison of the Porsche 911 and the Cayman. The mid-engined layout of the Cayman brings potential for vastly improved handling and performance, at the cost of upstaging the rear-engined 911. As a result you got smaller engines and less power.


#9

Now that.s some crazy stuff right there. Yeah…those wacky engineers of yore were real geniuses with BALLS OF STEEL. -The germans did came close for a while but…-

It seems like the only major hurdle were those stubborn and rather pesky accountants which don’t know $%( about high performance and/or racing, just giving the freaking numbers.

Speking of such projects, it seems like the General was puttin’ the works on it once again. Here’s the famous 416 CID Chevrolet LS HEMI Motor. Check it out!