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Pontiac of the Month

Pedja's 1968 Firebird

2019 March
of the Month

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Frosty

The Down and Out GM Iron Duke

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http://autoweek.com/article/car-life/cut-down-engine-week-gm-iron-duke

Here is another one of those "clickbait" filler articles. This time about the Iron Duke 4-cylinder engine. I had one of these engines in my transitional 1981 Pontiac Phoenix (the Pontiac version of the Chevy Citation).  I say transitional since I purchased this car as a daily driver between the wreck of my '84 Trans Am and the purchase of my '86 Trans Am.

The mechanics and people who knew these motors would often refer to them as the Iron Puke because the acceleration was terrible in these cars and the car did not get out of its own shadow. A V6 was much preferred in these cars over the Iron Puke. Mind you, these "X" cars were GM's first attempt to convert to FWD, so there were a lot of bugs in the entire platform, including rust and the famous "X" brake problem. 

Bottom line, I'd rather have a 301 Pontiac V8 engine over this one.

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Of course the V6 or V8 would be preferred, but actually the Duke, esp used in the H body rearwheel platform, was a dependable workhorse.  Matched with a 4 spd stick, upped the performance level somewhat.  Gas mileage in the mid 30's per gallon proved to be an awesome grocery getter, kids 1st car ect.   The Duke was also used heavily in marine applications.

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Sadly there is little or no demand for these motors and that is why they are still in the junkyards. In the lighter H-body and H-body special cars, this motor was fine. However, in the heavier X-body FWD they were sluggish. This may have more to do with CAFE tuning that the motor itself.

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They were not bad in the S series trucks especially in a stripped down 2wd with a stick shift.

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