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Where the name "Iron Duke" came from... by TopNotch
Started on: 06-22-2010 10:27 AM
Replies: 16
Last post by: Frizlefrak on 06-23-2010 06:05 PM
TopNotch
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Report this Post06-22-2010 10:27 AM Click Here to See the Profile for TopNotchClick Here to visit TopNotch's HomePageSend a Private Message to TopNotchDirect Link to This Post
If you try to find the answer online, you get conflicting answers.
However, I have a memory in my mind of a Pontiac TV ad from the late 70's that used the name "Iron Duke" to describe their "new 2.5 liter 4-cylinder engine". I never found anything to substantiate that until now. Below is an ad for the 1977 Pontiac Sunbird from Road and Track Magazine:

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sspeedstreet
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Report this Post06-22-2010 12:49 PM Click Here to See the Profile for sspeedstreetClick Here to Email sspeedstreetSend a Private Message to sspeedstreetDirect Link to This Post
I always assumed it had to do with the earlier Vega aluminum L4 motor. They had such a bad reputation for poor durability GM had to make sure the public knew the aluminum design was gone.
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zigaroo
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Report this Post06-22-2010 06:20 PM Click Here to See the Profile for zigarooSend a Private Message to zigarooDirect Link to This Post
This is a great find, and those are some awesome wheels. I miss ads like this.
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skuzzbomer
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Report this Post06-22-2010 07:05 PM Click Here to See the Profile for skuzzbomerSend a Private Message to skuzzbomerDirect Link to This Post
Why in the world was the auto mandatory in California? Wouldn't that decrease fuel economy compared to the 4speed ?
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Oreif
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Report this Post06-22-2010 07:11 PM Click Here to See the Profile for OreifClick Here to visit Oreif's HomePageClick Here to Email OreifSend a Private Message to OreifDirect Link to This Post
The "Iron Duke" moniker is because of the aluminum Vega engine had such bad press that Pontiac wanted to make sure eveyone knew it was a stronger engine.

Those Sunbirds were fun to drive. They were a great little car back then. (had one) The V-6 was a 3.8L. The Chevy version was called a Monza and had a Spyder version with a 305 V-8.
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jscott1
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Report this Post06-22-2010 07:35 PM Click Here to See the Profile for jscott1Send a Private Message to jscott1Direct Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by skuzzbomer:

Why in the world was the auto mandatory in California? Wouldn't that decrease fuel economy compared to the 4speed ?


Too hard back then to control emissions with a manual. Today the engine computers are much smarter, but back then you could out drive the computer and force the engine to do bad stuff and pollute more. I remember the 350V8 was never offered in the 3rd gen Firebird so I opted for the 305V8 instead.
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fastblack
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Report this Post06-22-2010 11:46 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fastblackSend a Private Message to fastblackDirect Link to This Post
"this new sunbird can not only haul, it can haul."

I really like that car! I'm betting it's a bit hard to find though.
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Frizlefrak
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Report this Post06-22-2010 11:58 PM Click Here to See the Profile for FrizlefrakClick Here to Email FrizlefrakSend a Private Message to FrizlefrakDirect Link to This Post
I had the Olds Starfire GT version. Mine was a silver 1976 Starfire with black GT stripes. 3.8l V6 and 4 speed....ran pretty good for it's time. It liked to eat clutches, but that could have been my 16 year old heavy right foot causing that as well. I'd love to find a zero rust Monza/Skyhawk/Starfire/Sunbird today. Wish I had kept mine.

Great find......+ for you.

Wow....I even found an old pic on my hard drive.



A scanned Polaroid of the car circa 1982 or so. I sold it the following year

[This message has been edited by Frizlefrak (edited 06-23-2010).]

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billpapps
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Report this Post06-23-2010 12:46 AM Click Here to See the Profile for billpappsSend a Private Message to billpappsDirect Link to This Post
My 1980 Sunbird Formula Sport Coupe. 406 SBC 700r4 (I love the 700r4 1st gear) with a 3200/3600 Boss hog lockup stall with 342 gears.
Car is Mattel black now.

Sorry no Dukes here.


Engine been on a dyno. But I will not say the HP to many non believers.
And I can't back it up. I never ran a Q. but 1/8 times are Just a tick under 5 secs.
Fast enough that they pulled me off the track. Because of No cage.

[This message has been edited by billpapps (edited 06-23-2010).]

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Oreif
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Report this Post06-23-2010 06:10 AM Click Here to See the Profile for OreifClick Here to visit Oreif's HomePageClick Here to Email OreifSend a Private Message to OreifDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by jscott1:


I remember the 350V8 was never offered in the 3rd gen Firebird so I opted for the 305V8 instead.


Yes it was. Starting in 1987 you could get a 350 in a Firebird or Trans Am. The Firebird model was called a "Formula 350"
http://www.thirdgen.org/1987-pontiac-firebird


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hyperv6
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Report this Post06-23-2010 07:06 AM Click Here to See the Profile for hyperv6Send a Private Message to hyperv6Direct Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Oreif:

The "Iron Duke" moniker is because of the aluminum Vega engine had such bad press that Pontiac wanted to make sure eveyone knew it was a stronger engine.

Those Sunbirds were fun to drive. They were a great little car back then. (had one) The V-6 was a 3.8L. The Chevy version was called a Monza and had a Spyder version with a 305 V-8.


Chevy also offered a Monza with a 350 V8 in this car for California and high alt cars. I remember seeing them and many people wanted them and had to go to California to or out west to find one. It had the bigger engine for emissions as the 305 was not certified by CARB.

The Spyder was only an option trim package It could be had with the V6 too in only 4 colors. There was a cool Mirage edition with road race flairs but it was very rare back then and even more so now.

The Monza was to orginally have the Wankle Rotory engine. GM never could solve the issues with the Emission and reliability problems that also hurt the early Mazda versions too. WIth the death of the Rotory GM had to fit the other engines to this car. AMC also was to buy Rotorys from GM for the Pacer. That is why they got the inline 6 that had to go way up under the dash as they had no other engine.

These cars had their issues but were better than many of the car in the 70's. The real issue was most cars were crap so this was just better crap than most of the others. Many just rusted away.

I always liked this hatch and wished it had been lighter and built better.

These cars made some cool IMSA road race cars and won many races.
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hyperv6
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Report this Post06-23-2010 07:09 AM Click Here to See the Profile for hyperv6Send a Private Message to hyperv6Direct Link to This Post

hyperv6

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Member since Mar 2003
 
quote
Originally posted by jscott1:


Too hard back then to control emissions with a manual. Today the engine computers are much smarter, but back then you could out drive the computer and force the engine to do bad stuff and pollute more. I remember the 350V8 was never offered in the 3rd gen Firebird so I opted for the 305V8 instead.


You are correct on the 4 speed part and also the fact the 305 just had issues getting past the CARB board in Cali. Funny thing was later the Turbo TA was built in Cali and could only be sold in 49 states as California only approved a 305 non turbo V8 for California. The Vette also had a limited 305 offering in California.

The Emissions certification deales were very odd.

And yes the Thrd Gen did getr a 350 TPI later on as stated above.

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Report this Post06-23-2010 08:36 AM Click Here to See the Profile for billpappsSend a Private Message to billpappsDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by hyperv6:


Chevy also offered a Monza with a 350 V8 in this car for California and high alt cars. I remember seeing them and many people wanted them and had to go to California to or out west to find one. It had the bigger engine for emissions as the 305 was not certified by CARB.

The Spyder was only an option trim package It could be had with the V6 too in only 4 colors. There was a cool Mirage edition with road race flairs but it was very rare back then and even more so now.

The Monza was to orginally have the Wankle Rotory engine. GM never could solve the issues with the Emission and reliability problems that also hurt the early Mazda versions too. WIth the death of the Rotory GM had to fit the other engines to this car. AMC also was to buy Rotorys from GM for the Pacer. That is why they got the inline 6 that had to go way up under the dash as they had no other engine.

These cars had their issues but were better than many of the car in the 70's. The real issue was most cars were crap so this was just better crap than most of the others. Many just rusted away.

I always liked this hatch and wished it had been lighter and built better.

These cars made some cool IMSA road race cars and won many races.



Will, all one thing I like the notchback :P
There was no IMSA kits for the Coupe.

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Report this Post06-23-2010 10:23 AM Click Here to See the Profile for css9450Click Here to Email css9450Send a Private Message to css9450Direct Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Frizlefrak:

I'd love to find a zero rust Monza/Skyhawk/Starfire/Sunbird today.



I would to! Those cars were once everywhere and now are virtually extinct.

I remember a friend who had a Monza with the small V8 in it. He took it on a trip to Upper Michigan some years ago, where he hit a gigantic pothole which collapsed part of the car's frame or unibody, to the point it was sagging so badly in the middle it couldn't be driven. He wound up having it towed to the junkyard and he took the bus home, but not before burying his tools and whatever else he couldn't carry way back in the woods for retrieval later.

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Report this Post06-23-2010 05:33 PM Click Here to See the Profile for OreifClick Here to visit Oreif's HomePageClick Here to Email OreifSend a Private Message to OreifDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Frizlefrak:
I'd love to find a zero rust Monza/Skyhawk/Starfire/Sunbird today. Wish I had kept mine.



So which one are you bidding on????

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymot...&hash=item335e5c928f

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymot...&hash=item19bd376477

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymot...&hash=item3f00d74770
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silver 85 sc
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Report this Post06-23-2010 05:52 PM Click Here to See the Profile for silver 85 scClick Here to Email silver 85 scSend a Private Message to silver 85 scDirect Link to This Post
My understanding was that the Duke was designed for the Pontiac Astre, however the 140 ohc Vega engine did it's damage and the Sunbird got the new engine. And I would believe any story on the Iron part. the 140s had a cast iron head over an aluminum alloy block with some kind of silica cylinder lining. I put 3 in my Astre in less than 3 years. it seamed that at 70,000 miles they would blow. All three of mine blew the 3rd cylinder to bits.

On a side note the 350 in the Monza was almost scary to drive and the 305 combination was a close 2nd. You could brake the tires loose in any gear and it seamed at any speed. Don't tell my wife she hates my crazy car stories. I wish I still had those cars. Here is my list as follows
1 Astre 140 auto
4 Sunbirds (2) 2.5's (1)3.8 even fire (1) 3.8 odd fire autos
1 Starfire 3.8 4spd
1 Monza 2.5 4spd
A buddy I worked with had the 350 and a guy I went to school with had the 305 both autos both factory.
Rich
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Frizlefrak
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Report this Post06-23-2010 06:05 PM Click Here to See the Profile for FrizlefrakClick Here to Email FrizlefrakSend a Private Message to FrizlefrakDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Oreif:


So which one are you bidding on????

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymot...&hash=item335e5c928f

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymot...&hash=item19bd376477

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymot...&hash=item3f00d74770


I probably should have been more specific. The first two have the single round headlight and are later cars.....I would be looking for the square quad headlight front end '76-'78. The third listing has two of the same plus a town coupe, which wasn't my favorite. I'd also want a factory A/C and auto car, and they're a little harder to come by.

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