1978 grand prix 'ec 301'

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Thread: 1978 grand prix 'ec 301'

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    1978 grand prix 'ec 301'

    Check out this certified specious document of supercar history - December 1977 Motor Trends tests Pontiac's new "G body" - Grand Prix with high compression "EC" 301 V8 with 180hp! Improved handling, acceleration, soundproofing, decreased size and increased passenger room make for best Grand Prix yet!

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    Last edited by KingElvis; 10-23-2012 at 02:31 PM.
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    Re: 1978 grand prix 'ec 301'

    Great find but who the heck was Motor Trends. I've never heard of them.
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    Re: 1978 grand prix 'ec 301'

    In the real world, didn't this engine end up in the last second-gen Trans Ams (as the TA-4.9) and early 80s GPs?

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    Re: 1978 grand prix 'ec 301'

    Tone, you are correct sir. There was a performance 301 until 1980 on the G/P - I think the 3 way catalyst deal killed it in '81 - the turbo T/A didn't use the 3 way IIRC. The Buick Turbo was using the electronic spark control technology in '78 - it actually started in '77 with the 200hp 403 in the Toronado, although it didn't have a higher compression ratio.

    Pontiac's Grand Am "CA" (Can Am?) had the 'hot' 301 - an engineering idea car made the rounds in the magazines, scoring mid 16 ets with a 4speed transmission.

    When I had Paintshopped some '78 A bodies with 112" wheelbases - all of it subtracted from front overhang so length remains the same - I couldn't help but think they looked more 'normal' than the real things with their ponderous overhangs. I'll post some in their respective divisions discussion areas.
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    Re: 1978 grand prix 'ec 301'

    It is pretty impressive, or sad, to think of that particular car with its one hundred eighty horsepower as like the fastest car on the market



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    Re: 1978 grand prix 'ec 301'

    Quote Originally Posted by Smaart Aas Saabr View Post
    It is pretty impressive, or sad, to think of that particular car with its one hundred eighty horsepower as like the fastest car on the market
    Considering it weighed 34,800 lbs., I'd say that 301 was doing yeoman's work.

    I had a 1979 Bonneville with this mill. A bit of a stone and not much for MPGs either but the car was pretty nice, and when it rained I could hang the rear end out at will.
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    Re: 1978 grand prix 'ec 301'

    Quote Originally Posted by Tone View Post
    In the real world, didn't this engine end up in the last second-gen Trans Ams (as the TA-4.9) and early 80s GPs?
    I think the T/A 4 .9 was also available with a stick in '79 or '80.
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    Re: 1978 grand prix 'ec 301'

    Yes it was, the 4.9 was standard for the Formula and a credit delete for the Trans Am.

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    Re: 1978 grand prix 'ec 301'

    The E/C W-72 HO 301 was only offered in the real world for one model year- 1980. It used the same beefier block as the turbo engine, used the larger inlet air cleaner on the A-body cars and the shaker hood on the TA, sported a higher performance cam and used the same spark control system as the turbo motor. Pontiac only rated this engine at 155 HP and 240 torque but in reality is produced between 170 and 180 Hp like the 78 Can Am in this test. This engine was std equipment in the Grand Am coupe, the Grand Prix SJ and the TA and used better performing 2.93:1 rear gears in the A-body cars and a 3.08:1 in the TA. Most examples I have seen and the GP SJ I used to own came with the THM 350 transmission with firmer shift points. Other Grand Prix and Firebird models made due with a non E/C equipped 4 BBL 140 Hp 301 as an option (std on Formula).

    That Grand Prix SJ I had was an interesting car. I always thought of it as the predecessor to the 1983 Monte SS and Olds Hurst idea with it's HO engine, better rear gears, performance oriented suspension, dual exhaust outlets and sporty bucket seat interior. It performed so much better than my other 1980 GP LJ I had before it which used the 140 Hp 301, 2.14 rear gears and the weak 200 Metric transmission. With some carb tweaks, high flow catalytic converter and running a little more base timing I got her down to a 0-60 time of 8.5 seconds which back in 1980 was considered a performance car.

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    Re: 1978 grand prix 'ec 301'

    Key question: Did the W-72 actually have a higher compression ratio? In this counter-factual, the 301 continues on into the 1990's but with port fuel injection and 200hp (20th Anniversary GTO please!). Considering the L-69 305 rated 190hp, it doesn't seem too much of a stretch. As it says in the article, the 301 replaces the 200hp 455 with no loss in HP but 50% lower displacement.
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    Re: 1978 grand prix 'ec 301'

    Quote Originally Posted by KingElvis View Post
    Key question: Did the W-72 actually have a higher compression ratio? In this counter-factual, the 301 continues on into the 1990's but with port fuel injection and 200hp (20th Anniversary GTO please!). Considering the L-69 305 rated 190hp, it doesn't seem too much of a stretch. As it says in the article, the 301 replaces the 200hp 455 with no loss in HP but 50% lower displacement.

    The W-72 version of the 301 had the same 8.1:1 compression of the lesser engines. The extra power came from cam, timing and a different carb.

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    Re: 1978 grand prix 'ec 301'

    Quote Originally Posted by Neanderthal View Post
    Considering it weighed 34,800 lbs., I'd say that 301 was doing yeoman's work.
    And everyone says the Camaro needs to loose weight.....
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    Re: 1978 grand prix 'ec 301'

    It put out more power and was lighter then a SBC! Just like in 70 or 73, when the Ram Air V or SD455, was way better then a BBC!
    P.S. I believe the 301 EC was available in 1979 along with the 4 speed, in GP'S and Grand Am's! I bought a 78 Grand Am and I wish I would have waited for the 79, hindsight is always 20/20.
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    Last edited by ljtyphoon; 11-19-2012 at 04:25 PM. Reason: & to or , P.S.
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    Re: 1978 grand prix 'ec 301'

    Quote Originally Posted by KingElvis View Post
    Tone, you are correct sir. There was a performance 301 until 1980 on the G/P - I think the 3 way catalyst deal killed it in '81 - the turbo T/A didn't use the 3 way IIRC. The Buick Turbo was using the electronic spark control technology in '78 - it actually started in '77 with the 200hp 403 in the Toronado, although it didn't have a higher compression ratio.

    Pontiac's Grand Am "CA" (Can Am?) had the 'hot' 301 - an engineering idea car made the rounds in the magazines, scoring mid 16 ets with a 4speed transmission.

    When I had Paintshopped some '78 A bodies with 112" wheelbases - all of it subtracted from front overhang so length remains the same - I couldn't help but think they looked more 'normal' than the real things with their ponderous overhangs. I'll post some in their respective divisions discussion areas.
    I'm happy to read that you recall the Grand Am CA concept! I wrote Hi-Performance Pontiac magazine years ago and asked about it and they didn't have a clue. That silver concept car was, in my mind, a modern day GTO in that it was a 5-passenger, midsize, RWD, V8-powered Pontiac coupe with stick shift. IIRC, Pontiac pulled 190HP out of what was normally a 150HP 301 4bbl. It had a faux shaker that was actually an LED timer for 0-60 and quarter mile times. Pontiac would've been way ahead of its brother divisions offering midsize muscle years before the '83 Monte Carlo SS, the Buick Grand Nat'l, and the Olds 442.

    I was so impressed by this car that I sought out and bought a 1979 Grand Am coupe with the 301/4bbl with a 4 speed stick and Hurst shifter. My plan was to raid a Trans Am parts bin so I could add a functional shaker hood scoop, fender vents, 15"x8" snowflakes, chrome twin tip exhaust pipes, a rear deck spoiler, and either a T/A 6.6 or maybe a turbo 4.9. Sadly, it was damaged badly when it got towed so I only got to add the snowflakes.
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    Re: 1978 grand prix 'ec 301'

    Sadly there is/was/are very few "hi-po" parts for the 301 engine.
    Most of the external parts are 301 only specific from info on the Pontiac forums I frequent.
    The only common part possibly shared on other Pontiac v-8s is the camshaft/carb.

    Not to say somebody hasn't tried and knows how:
    http://www.301garage.com/
    Last edited by sonjaab; 11-26-2012 at 10:41 PM.

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