Engine Of The Day: Pontiac OHC Six

Illustration for article titled Engine Of The Day: Pontiac OHC Six

How would the Malaise Era have played out for The General if he hadn't given up on Pontiac's high-performance SOHC inline six of the mid-1960s?

Pontiac, under the watch of John DeLorean (yes, that John DeLorean), took Chevrolet's 230-cubic-inch pushrod six-cylinder and developed an overhead-cam head and compatible block, with cam driven by a super-futuristic belt instead of the traditional chain. Tempests, LeManses, and Firebirds could be purchased with this engine for the 1966 through 1969 model years, and these cars surprised plenty of V8 drivers at the drag strip. The original 230 OHC for '66 made 165 horsepower, but by 1969 you could get a 250-cube "Sprint" with a Quadrajet, dual exhaust, and 250 factory horsepower. The Banshee was to have been powered by the lightweight Pontiac OHC; imagine whole legions of lightweight Pontiac sports cars with ever-more-powerful sixes dominating the world during the early 1970s! Sadly, The General was stuck with its smog-strangled V8s during that time, and we know how that worked out.


[High Performance Pontiac, Wikipedia, Hemmings Motor News. Image source: High Performance Pontiac]

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Murilee, you have created a dilemma for me. I can't decide which is more awesome, a Lemans with the OHC-6 or a Volvo 164 with the B30?