Pontiac OHC-6 engines

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1,935
Location
British Columbia, Canada
In the mid 1960s there was a lot of excitement about Pontiac's new Single Overhead Cam, OHC-6 engines. They were probably the standard engines in the Tempest and Firebird at the time. But I only ever saw one Firebird with OHC-6 trim on the hood.

That engine caused a lot of excitement as it seemed as though Detroit had turned a corner on building exciting engines. But that was followed by talk of the engines self destructing when they enthusiastically over-revved.

Does anyone have experience (positive or negative) with that engine?
 
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6,019
Location
Los Gatos, CA
I had a friend that had a 1st gen Firebird with the OHC 6. I don't remember her having trouble, but that was a loooong time ago.
But good post; I will keep up with it.
 
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248
Location
Phoenix, AZ USA
I recall that they leaked engine oil seriously at the main front plate that covered a lot AND served as anchors for the front engine mounts...but maybe that's just my poor memory.
 
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57
Location
PA
In the late 70's I almost bought a Firebird with that engine. Someone beat me to it but the seller had a friend with a 68 GTO for sale. Wanted it gone pronto, his ask was cheap. Couldn't get there fast enough to pick it up. Got insanely lucky on that one.
 
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1,808
Location
New England, USA
There is one in a wrecked and shot up car a mile or so in the woods behind our house. Years ago, I was hiking and came across it. I was curious as to the obviously 60's domestic w/ this aluminum OHC mill. At first I thought someone had done a swap, but then I researched what I had found. It is sadly returning to the earth on an abandoned farm road on state land...
 

ecotourist

Thread starter
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1,935
Location
British Columbia, Canada
There is one in a wrecked and shot up car a mile or so in the woods behind our house. Years ago, I was hiking and came across it. I was curious as to the obviously 60's domestic w/ this aluminum OHC mill. At first I thought someone had done a swap, but then I researched what I had found. It is sadly returning to the earth on an abandoned farm road on state land...
As far as I know only the valve cover was aluminum, it had a cast iron block and head.
 

ecotourist

Thread starter
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1,935
Location
British Columbia, Canada
Someone dumped one on my dirt road many years ago. I checked it out before I recycled it. Had a 4bbl intake and a timing belt.
I think they all had a timing belt. But it sounds like that was a high performance version, with the 4bbl.

It's a shame Pontiac didn't pursue the OHC idea. Kind of like the Corvair - the same basic set up as a Porsche 911 but also not followed up. But I suppose that was the era of cheap gas and big V8s.
 
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6,019
Location
Los Gatos, CA
GM had all sorts of cool engines back then inc a small 215cu all aluminum V8 that they sold off and was a mainstay for Rover for many years.
GM has been shooting itself in the backside for decades, they never learn.

I almost bought one of those Buicks but it sold just before I got there. I probably didn't have enough $$ anyways.
But the car, that beautiful pale blue color, was clean... I still remember seeing it with the For Sale sign...
 
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4,456
Location
Massachusetts
I've seen a few at shows. I think I saw one back in Jan when I was down at Mecum in Florida.
Jeep/Kaiser also had the Tornado OHC six which came out in 1962.
 
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2,806
Location
Lakeside, CA
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227
Location
YYC
The Pontiac SOHC inline 6 was a unique engine that had many features that where ahead of it's competitors like the SOHC valve train, the (limited) use of aluminium throughout the engine, and an timing belt. Compared to the Chevy straight 6 that it was based on, it would have been very modern. Unfortunately there wasn't really a market for a premium straight 6, as the domestic 6 cylinder engines of the day where all base model economy engines so the Pontiac SOHC 6 had a very short run.
 
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5,939
Location
Suburban Washington DC
Just like the 4 cylinder engines that preceded it in the compact Pontiacs and which were also available in high compression and 4 bbl carb versions, the demand just wasn't there for a six when a V8 didn't cost much more.
 
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9
Location
NJ
My older brother had a 1967 Firebird with that engine and three speed manual on the floor. It was a convertible, gold with a black top. Very sharp car. As a somewhat wild teenager, he blew it up by over-revving it. He replaced the engine with a Chevy 350 which should have been better, but he said it never ran as well as when it had the OHC-6. He eventually sold it and bought a new Chevy Vega. Too bad. Watching shows like Mecum Auto Auctions he wishes he still had it today.
 
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