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New Volt should get 230 mpg in city, GM says - Page 26

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Posted by Bruce Richmond on August 15, 2009, 12:03 am

On Aug 13, 10:03pm, cl...@snyder.on.ca wrote:

There was a time when GM did try to be innovative.  Seems like
innovation didn't sell very well.

In 1957 or there abouts they introduced fuel injection.  Lots of
people know that the Corvette had it, but few know that it was also an
option on sedans at first.    Not sure what the problems were but it
soon only came on Corvettes, and not many of them.  BTW, Chrysler came
out with electronic fuel injection at the same time and had even less

1960 they came out with the Corvair to compete against the more
traditionally designed Falcon and Dart/Valient.  With a rear mounted
air cooled flat six it was a poor man's Porsche.  The frosting on the
cake was a twin turbo version!  But it didn't sell to the market for
which it had been intended, so they came out with the Chevy II which
was just like the competition.

The Corvair was doing OK at making its own market.  It was updated
with better suspension, transmission, styling and much more.  Then the
book "Unsafe At Any Speed" came out and the fact that it was different
became a liability.  So what was really a great little car got swept
under the carpet and allowed to die.

About 1962 Pontiac, Buick, Olds came out with a 215 cu in aluminum
V8.  It also had a turbo as a top of the line option and included
water injection so it could run more boost.  This engine was so light
I once picked up a complete engine by the exhaust manifolds an put it
in the trunk of my car.  It was later slipped into an MG Midget and
weighed less than the little 4 cylinder that came out.

But it didn't sell very well when for about the same money you could
get a 326 cu in lump of cast iron that made more power, to say nothing
of the 389.  I think it lasted about three years before getting
dropped.  Later they sold the plans and it resurfaced in the MGC-V8,
the Triumph TR8-V8, Land Rover and a bunch of other cars.  Far as I
know it is still being produced today.  But it didn't work for GM.

Early 60's Pontiac had an overhead cam inline six with a four barrel
carb.  It could hold its own against small V8s, was smoother and got
better gas mileage.  Not sure how long they were produced but it
wasn't long.  Again in the age of muscle cars and cheap gas it was the
answer to the question that few had asked.

In 1970 they came out with the Chevy Vega.  The inovation was a high
silicon content aluminum block that ran without cylinder liners.  This
technology had been developed and proven out in racing engines during
the 60's.  Another feature of the engine was that it would have an
open deck with free standing cylinders so that it could be die cast.
Needless to say they had problems and soon reverted to the "Iron

In 1984 Pontiac introduced the mid engined Fiero.  It was intended as
a little commuter, but like the Corvair attracted more attention as a
sporty car.  To better serve those interests things were upgraded
every year.  By 1988 it was a pretty decent little sports car.  And
that was the last year it was produced.  Not really sure why.  There
was some bad talk about its safety, not having the engine in front
like a "normal" car, and fires in the early ones.  The price was
climbing because of all the upgrades and it was maybe taking sales
from the Camaro/Firebird.  The sales may have dropped off some but
there still seemed to be quite a few sold.  Whatever the reason it
only lasted five model years.  I have a 1988 sitting outside and still
consider it a good little sporty car.

From the above you might start to see why GM became a bit gun shy
about innovation.

On the Volt, they started out showing it as a good looking sporty car
and hinted the price would be in the low 20's.  It has evolved into an
ugly lump at about twice that price.  I think it's going to bomb.


Posted by clare on August 15, 2009, 2:00 am

On Fri, 14 Aug 2009 17:03:42 -0700 (PDT), Bruce Richmond

Actually, it was only a single turbo - and not even intercooled - put
out a respectable 180HP from 2.7 liters though (for a few minutes at a

Like I said - innovative, effective, and financially viable????
 Not GM.

They made some good innovative cars that either did not sell well or
had too small a target audience, and they made some innovative cars
that were terrible, and they made some good innovative cars that sold
relatively well but were never profitable.

Good innovative good-selling and profitable they have never been able
to manage.\

You forgot the 1919? Chevy "copper cooled" engine too. Very
innovative, very poor drsign, and almost drove Chevrolet out of the
automotive business.

Posted by cjt on August 15, 2009, 2:18 am

clare@snyder.on.ca wrote:

I seem to recall reading that in the early 20th century, they went
around paying off city governments to rip up their trolley tracks.
THAT, it seems to me, is the kind of thing they were "good at."

Posted by Bruce Richmond on August 15, 2009, 4:28 am

On Aug 14, 10:00pm, cl...@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Cut me some slack here, I was working from memory ;)  A close friend
had a 110 hp and another friend had a 140 hp with four 1 barrel
carbs.  I only saw a 180 hp turbo once.

Well that electric starter idea Caddy had went over pretty well ;)

Thanks, I hadn't heard of that one.  Came out just a bit too late to
make it into "The Modern Automobile of 1916" that I read recently.
One that I liked in that book was the 1916 Woods Dual Power.


Posted by harry on August 16, 2009, 6:32 pm

I think Cadillac also invented the V8 engine as well as the starter
Were they part of GM at the time?

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