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Bastrop Daily Enterprise - Bastrop, LA
  • Greg Zyla: Readers write on Tri-Powers, Nash-Kelvinator

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  • We’ve been receiving lots of mail recently, so let’s go to the mailbag.
    Loved your Tri-Power article
    Greg, I really enjoyed your “tri-power” article, which I found in yesterday’s Canton (Ohio) Repository. As one of your “older readers,” the first tri-power that came to my mind (before reading the article) was the ‘57 Olds J-2.
    I agree, the early ‘60s Pontiac Catalina/Ventura bubbletops were great (348 hp). Back in ‘61, my neighbor had a beautiful black ‘60 Impala bubbletop with a three-deuce 348 that he said ran 105 mph in the quarter-mile.
    My first new car was a ‘70 Plymouth Roadrunner with the three-deuce 440. When the secondary carbs opened up, that thing would explode forward. Plymouth referred to its tri-power motors as “six barrels,” while Dodge used the term “six pack.”
    Keep up the good work! Bob Wolf from Ohio.
    A: Thanks much, Bob, I forgot to mention the 348 Tri-Power in my article.
    Nash-Kelvinator enthusiast and artist, too
    Q: Hello, Greg. Your article in the Lisle (Ill.) Reporter on Nash-Kelvinator at the Indy 500 was very interesting. I love automotive stories especially pertaining to its history. I’m a big Indianapolis follower, as my first race was in 1961.
    Your readers might enjoy viewing my automotive photo art website at http:edooleydesign.com, where I have an art deco design of a 1936 Nash Ambassador, among the other vintage and racing pieces.
    Best regards, Ed Dooley, Naperville, Ill.
    A: Thanks much Ed. I received many letters on the Nash at the Indy 500, and I checked your photo art online and it is very good. Thus, I’m passing on your link to our readers for them to enjoy, too. Good luck.
    Pontiac “8-Lug,” not “8-spoke”
    Q: Greg, I read your article about tri-power engines with great interest. However, you said that Chevrolet “successfully ushered in the carb arrangement (tri-power) on the 67 Corvette.” Seems you forgot the 1958-61 Chevrolet 348 engines with “trips.”
    You also mentioned the “1960-61 Catalinas with the eight spoke wheels.” Greg, they were actually eight LUG wheels. They had no spokes but were a multi-finned drum. They indeed were beautiful, and available from ‘59 thru the mid-1960s.
    Also, the Olds J-2 tri-power option being discontinued in ‘58 was, as you mention, because the linkage was “not a progressive linkage setup.”
    Well, you are correct as none of those early tri-power setups from GM had progressive linkage. They were all vacuum-operated linkage; i.e., the end carbs only opened at a certain vacuum and then were instantly open. It was not a good setup.
    I will also agree with you that the 1964-66 GTOs were the cream of the crop as far as tri-power was concerned. Thus, you article was still a very good!
    Page 2 of 2 - Larry Davis, Cartech Books, author “Super Stock, Drag Racing the Family Sedan”
    A: Thanks much, Larry, and I recommend all my readers to check out Larry’s book on the Internet or at book stores nationwide. I did explain to Larry, who, by the way is now 70 years young, that I sure made a few “senior moment” flubs in my tri-power article, as he’s aware I know about the 8-Lugs and Chevy’s 348. I hate getting forgetful as my brain is filled with tires, intake manifolds, designs, engines and even my kids and family, too.
    Greg Zyla welcomes reader questions on old cars, auto nostalgia or old-time motorsports at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840 or at greg@gregzyla.com.

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