I do not think that Olds V8 is too bad. According to the review, it has gone over 250,000 miles, still has great compression, and does not burn a drop of oil. I have personally seen multiple similar instances of Olds V8's going distances like that, and much higher. They may be slow, but they last. That is worth a lot as far as I am concerned.
The 455 is in an entirely different league, but as was pointed out, another great Olds V8. That will be a nice conversion if the reviewer does the swap. The Olds V8's were always great runners, and Oldsmobile was great back when it was distinctly Oldsmobile. I miss those engines.
Not that it matters, but I don't think that locking the trans. in 1 would have damaged it. That's far better than letting it cycle between gears all the time, and I agree about using the TH400 tranny, it should last a long time.
I've not owned the Olds 260 but I've had a couple Olds 307s - also not that powerful, but very reliable. We've also had a Caprice with a '265', and a Thunderbird with a 255. To be honest I never found any of those cars to be so underpowered that it was really a problem. There seems to be a correlation between those low-powered, low-compression V-8s and long term reliability.
By the way, I don't know what having that Blazer towed professionally would have cost, but it probably wouldn't have been more than the value of a running, usable Olds, however sun-faded and gutless!
Sure there's a correlation, the 260 is the same block as the 350, less cubes and more steel to handle the stress. Virtually impossible to overheat the motor.
I would also recommend putting a 350 V8 in your Cutlass; I think the 350 was a much better motor for the Cutlass than the 260 V8.
Update here from original poster. I managed to get my hands on an LS1 V8/tranny combo from a wrecked 1996 Buick Roadmaster. Also I had the car professionally repainted a deep blue/purple color. 18" Rims. Dual Cat-back Exhaust.
This car went from lawn ornament to classic Muscle in a couple of months. It now screams when I step on the gas, and sounds and looks downright mean. I think the wife was about ready for a divorce with all the money I put into it, but she is pleased with the end result and loves the car. I always have to fight with her over who gets to drive it when we take it anywhere. Quite an improvement over the gutless wonder it used to be. I'm so glad I didn't sell it!
Ugh. I'd much rather have the low-stressed, smooth, cheap-to-operate original 260 V8 than the LS1. One wonders how much all that modernization cost..
To the poster of 7th Dec 2009, 06:23:
- The swap was worth it. The 260 Olds is good only when it's used as a boat anchor.
Yeah it was called the 'LT1' apparently: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buick_Roadmaster