<VV> Smog Heads -- 95 vs 110 vs horsepower vs "facts"

Tony Underwood tony.underwood at cox.net
Tue May 12 02:30:54 EDT 2009

At 12:52 PM 5/11/2009, Chris & Bill Strickland wrote:
>Well, it will probably be another year now before anyone asks for any
>clarity on the issues differentiating the 95 and 110 smog engines and
>the idea that there is any relationship between the pre-smog motors and
>the open chamber motors, even though they carry the same monikers.

Here's where I start some more shirt.    ;)   When in doubt, become a 
pirate and throw in an R...

All commentary is from MY viewpoint without benefit of considering 
ANY "official" resource as being canon, and thus the comments are of 
little value other than as personal reflection and opinion... except 
for instances when I DO quote actual facts... which is seldom.

Re:  Why the differentiation between two different sets of "95" and 
"110" heads?   ...When in fact after '67 they were the same head...

The question should be why those miserable open-chambered heads were 
ever considered for production in the first place.   They are 
BAD.   Sure, "smog regs"...

If that was the case, why didn't the 140 hp engines use that same chamber?

Re:   Horsepower ratings...

Once before, there was some commentary about how the hp ratings GM 
published were accurate.    Several times I've heard people mention 
that those figures wouldn't have been published if not accurate, such 
statements made by individuals whose credentials were heavy-duty and 
not subject to critical review.

Not long ago, relatively speaking, a car magazine did a test build of 
a bowtie 283 engine, blueprinted to the N'th degree with all numbers 
matching, according to precise GM specs to see how it actually would 
stack up to the advertised hp ratings of 195 as claimed by the General.

Nothing they could do would make that engine produce more than 180 or 
thereabouts, give or take a couple either way depending on which dyno 
pull was measured.   They did get it to make over 190 by supposedly 
using a bigger 2xbbl carb off a 389 Pontiac engine.

Another fudge on hp ratings was the Corvette engines in 1963, with 
the 327 FI engine being rated at 375 hp which flew in the face of 
reason for anyone who ever drove one... likewise the same engine with 
a carb that made lower advertised hp when in fact that carb'ed engine 
would outrun the fuelie engine every time, and did in dragstrip time 
slips repeatedly but the General was bound and determined to show 
that the FI engine was "better" to justify its higher 
cost.   Admittedly in a tight road course or a skid pad the carbed 
engine would stumble because of carb bowl slosh while the FI engine 
would not... but that was its only detriment.

Then there was that '65 396 square-port engine rated at 425 hp... but 
the following year it took a bit of a nosedive without any real 
changes to the engine itself.   Insurance?  Ditto the 'Vette's L88 
427... nobody ever admitted what it really made.    Likewise one of 
the biggest fudgers, Chrysler, with its 426 Hemi engine which was 
rated at 425 hp in the '64 and '65 model years, with a radical solid 
lift cam and mag cross-ram intake with two *large* carbs and 
seriously Sunoco-260 compression... yet in '66 the "street hemi" 
engine showed up with an inline iron intake with  a pair of 550 cfm 
AFBs and a hydraulic cam with 284 degrees of duration and 10-1 
pistons... yet offered the exact same advertised hp rating as the 
"serious" Hemi from before.    A factory dyno pull in late 1965 which 
wasn't advertised but was still conducted by Chrysler and on the R&D 
books showed a bone stock production 426 "street hemi" engine as 
making 463 hp.   An aftermarket dyno pull with the "angry" '64-'65 
426 Hemi engine showed 605 hp.   This was the same engine offered in 
the "across the river" Hurst built 1968 SS Barracudas and Darts 
produced for competition-only purposes.   These SS Barracudas to this 
day still hold SS/A-A dragrace records.    Incidentally, today you 
can buy a brand new street hemi 426 crate engine just like the one 
available in '66... its hp rating:   465hp.

Ma Mopar wasn't the only one fudging hp rating that evidently got 
pulled out of a hat.    The Dearborn Ironworks also told some outright lies.

Anybody who ever drove a late '60s blue oval with a 428 SCJ engine 
would scoff at the fantasy-moronic rating of 335 hp direct from the 
factory...  hogwash.    The SCJ was likely Ford's best street 
performance engine ever.   335hp?   It was busting 9" diffs left and 
right, twisting off u-joints and pretzelling driveshafts and 
embarrassing LT-1 Camaros on a regular basis... and certainly holding 
its own against its contemporaries like the 427 bowties and 440 
Magnum Mopars...  IF you could get it to hook up.

Then there's the ever-popular rant about the 290hp rating of the 302 
Z-28, which SO many people claimed would produce "around 400 hp"... 
??   If so, I outran my share with a 3700 lb 383 Plymouth B-body.  In 
fact, I was NEVER outrun by ANY Z-28 in that Plymouth, including that 
'70 LT-1 that was supposed to have ruled the cruise strip here in 
town.   After the 383 got replaced with the tweaked 426 it wasn't 
even a contest anymore... and I began breaking things like the SCJ's...

The 383 hi perf engine which used the same cam and heads as the 440 
hi-perf engine was rated at 335hp by Chrysler... in all years except 
'68 (its first year) when it was initially rated at 350hp... until a 
month later when published figures sneaked down to 335 for the hi 
perf variant and 330 for the grocery-getter w/4xbbl.   I wondered why 
they bothered because nobody bought into the figures, although 
listening to the 330hp variant with its smooth idle and then 
listening to the rumpetyrump of the "335" variant left no doubt as to 
which was which.

Buick and Olds both had big engines in 442's and GS's rated 
considerably below what they really made... while other more 
pedestrian offerings in the same cars would NEVER make what they 
claimed although their hotter cousins were beasts.    Likewise 
Pontiac in the early to mid '60s, when some damned strong 389s and 
even stronger 421s were running the streets with enough power to yank 
your ears back... again, if you could ever get it to hook.    How 
about a '63 Catalina with a 421 that Motor trend tested with cheater 
slicks that pulled a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds.   That's a 3800 lb 
car.  In 1963.   Brutal.

After a while, horsepower figures posted by manufacturers began to 
get completely meaningless other than as ID monickers to brand 
certain engines from their manufacturers... the ratings meant little.

Folks, that included Corvairs.  NO stock 110 ever managed to produce 
a true 110hp, nor did the 140hp make what it claimed.   Sure, tweak 
them and they will... but factory?   Nope.    Regardless of what the 
claims out of the box may have been, they just didn't do it.

It seemed to be that little engines had their ratings kicked up a 
bit... the Samson powerplants got their locks figuratively trimmed... 

So many different variations of a similar theme were tried by the 
manufacturers and marketed time and again, as if they were 
beta-testing cars...  Buick made a 340 for a year anna half, which 
had 11-1 compression, then it dropped to 10-1 and added 10ci.  Why 
add 10ci?  ...to make the Buick intermediate engine 350ci like the 
Olds and Chevy and Pontiac 350s... and avoid any confusion with 
Chrysler's 340 which actually didn't show up until the following 
year?   Then there's Ford... ??   Two 351 engines which shared almost 
nothing between them other than bore and stroke dimensions, the 
Windsor and the Cleveland.    ??

Chrysler made TWO different 383 engines... the one in 1961 was 
totally different than the rest which followed and shared NO parts 
between them other than cylinder heads, stamped covers and water 
pumps.    Ma Mopar also made her own 350... one year only... looked 
like a 383.    ??     Pontiac took the high ground in making ALL 
their V8 engines look like all their V8 engines... unless you knew 
tricks it was hard to tell one from the other... from the smallest up 
through the largest if its intake was missing.

Lots of stuff came out of Detroit looking for all the world like it 
was pure convenience... like the 307 Chevy which was a 283 with a 327 
crank... or the 302 Z engine which was a 327 with a 283 crank (for 
all intents and purposes).    There was also the Olds 307 to add to 
the confusion.   How about those 455s...?   How many different ones, 
again?   At least three.   And Pontiac's 428 to confuse the Ford 
fans?    The 396 got a .030 overbore to become a 
402...?   Why?   Clean up and bore out the reject blocks that 
evidently were stacked up around back?   Or did the General find 
himself with a big stockpile of "30-over" pistons?

Of course came more confusion when Chevrolet branded this bored 396 
as a "400" in some models... same as that siamese-cylinder smallblock 
400.   Go get a valve cover gasket for a "400" in a Monte-Carlo and 
it's pot luck.   Let's not go anywhere near the rest of the other 
400ci engines which got produced by damned near every maker after 
smog became fashionable...  Ford, Chevy, Buick, Pontiac, Chrysler, 
all made a 400.   AMC sneaked an extra inch in to make theirs a 
401...   splitters!

Chrysler made a 305 for Trans-Am racing... Chevy made a 305 to meet 
smog.  Pontiac made a 301 for some reason, soon to be replaced with 
that same Chevy 305 in Firebirds...  gone was Pontiac's venerable 
traditional V8... the way Pontiac itself is now gone, although the 
Pontiac 301 engine itself ended up in... (wait for 
it)  Buicks...?     Lots of Pontiacs after that got Chevy engines... 
Cadillacs got Olds engines...  Jeeps by Chrysler still got AMC 
engines built by Chrysler... convoluted vehicles which were rapidly 
on the way to losing their identity.

And nobody believed the hp ratings of hardly any of them until the 
smog crunch REALLY came along when everything took a nosedive and 
then nobody had any doubts about the mediocre output of even the 
larger engines...  which was flat out embarrassingly low.   190hp 
from a 454 Chevy?   Hell, it used to be assumed that in the heyday of 
the 454, they'd make that at idle ;).     (tongue-in-cheek)

Chevrolet bragging about their Z-28, making a road-burning 
220hp?   There are econoboxes today with 2 ltr 4-bangers doing better 
than that.

Smitty!   That Subaru WRX with its 2 ltr engine makes almost 300hp... 
compared to the 2.4 ltrs of the early 'Vair engine which was hard 
pressed to break 100.   Still makes nearly twice what the 'Vair turbo 
engines supposedly made unless tweaked a tad.   ;)   BTDT   Let's 
argue Subarus, Porsches, and Tatras if ya wanna.

...so, if anybody bothered to read all of this tripe I just spouted, 
you can see how silly some of the debates can get, concerning how 
much horsepower one engine can make over another, or how 110 and 95 
heads are different... sometimes... but not always... and usually 
only on thursdays...  or what determines a coupe from a sedan, or hot 
vs cold, or early vs late, or whether or not one person's opinion is 
worth getting pissed-off about.   Clashes of egos abound; nobody 

In a couple more years, it's all going to be moot anyway.    The only 
way to have a high performance (relatively speaking) car is 
eventually going to boil down to buying or resurrecting something old 
(if they don't get legislated into oblivion), or buying something 
from overseas and sneaking it into the USA and hiding it in a cave 
someplace and breaking it out after midnight for a quick pass down 
that back road under cover of darkness and far from the prying eyes 
of the Green Nazis.

That oughta start some shit...  ya think?

Again... this is mostly pure opinion sprinkled with enough facts to 
make it defendable from a bar room perspective.   And I don't 
drink.   You guys go ahead and argue... I'll be quiet and watch.

(been a while since I started a fight)


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