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Old 06 November 2016, 12:14 AM
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Roadsterboy Roadsterboy is offline
 
Join Date: 13 September 2007
Location: Illinois
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Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
Hijacking my own thread a bit, and in a direction that maybe belongs in Automobiles or Business, but there's another claim in that video sounds kind of ULish. A few minutes into the video Jay's guest claims that GM had a rule in the early 1960s that forbade putting big engines in small cars. It makes for a good story, painting John DeLorean as a rebel who broke the rules and put a big engine in the mid-sized Tempest and invented the muscle car. Except he doesn't really explain why they had that rule to begin with. Jay even asks him directly, but his response basically boils down to "Because the CEO said so." So, did GM really have that rule, and if so, why?
If I remember correctly, the rule stemmed in part from the voluntary ban on factory backed auto racing by the manufacturers, instituted by the AMA in 1957 - limiting capacity on some models would discourage GM's divisions from backing racing teams. The other factor was simply to try and keep the smaller A-body cars from siphoning sales from the larger model ranges, the idea being that if you wanted to buy a fast car from the factory you had to pony up and get the more expensive, big car (or a Corvette). I don't know why it was formally instituted with that particular generation of A-body cars (introduced in 1964), although my theory is, again, that they were a new design, much lighter than previous A-body cars, so they didn't want to lose B-body sales.

Bear in mind that, while Ford didn't have a set rule about engine sizes, they did the same thing with the Falcon/Comet and Mustang, which weren't available with anything bigger than a 289 V-8 till the later 60's. If you wanted a big block you had to get a Fairlane.
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