Engine Of The Day: GM Iron Duke

Illustration for article titled Engine Of The Day: GM Iron Duke

Built in large- in fact, vast- quantities from 1977 through 1993, the 151-cubic-inch Iron Duke four-cylinder served The General well, though generally without much recognition.


Known variously as the Iron Duke, Pontiac 2.5, and Tech IV, this pushrod four was an available powerplant in just about every car and small truck built by Pontiac, Chevrolet, Buick, and Oldsmobile during the Late Malaise Era and beyond. From the Camaro to the Fiero, S-10 to Skyhawk; even some late AMCs got Iron Duke power. The Duke tended to be on the noisy side and was often derided for its behind-the-times cast-iron construction and pushrod valvetrain, but it was compact and reliable- in many cases, the most reliable component in the car- and got the job done.



OK, time for a UDMan story about a car equipped with this horrid little engine. I was in between IT jobs in 1988, and I took a job at a Subaru Dealer selling cars for 6 months. I was salesman of the month after only being on the job for 6 weeks.... but that's another story.

I convinced our used car manager that we needed good clean used domestic cars, for the Farmington Valley elderly residents, because they were still not convinced about the Subaru. So, on top of buying a 4 Cyl Fiero (Ha!), and a nearly new Taurus, he went and bought a 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser Station Wagon, with the Tech IV 4 Cylinder. Now imaging a 3 seat wagon, with all the power accessories (Seat, Windows, A/C!), Roof Rack, and of course an Automatic, with this engine powering it.

I took it for a couple of days........man it was slower than hell, and could never keep up with traffic on hills (unless I turned off the A/C!). The Sales Manager thought there was something wrong with it, becasue it was so slow. However, it was sold to a rather nice older couple who traded in.... are you ready for it?.... A Chevrolet Citation!