At 8:45 AM this morning, I left a comment at JPC’s 1965 Gladiator CC, referring to my previous Gladiator CC: Now if only one of us had had the guts to pop the hood and gotten a shot of the 327. Shortly thereafter, I closed up my laptop and got in my truck to pick up some 4×4 posts for a staircase I’m (slooowly) building. And as I pull into the lot at Jerry’s, what awaits me but an almost identical truck. And this time, I did get shots of the AMC 327 V8, as well as a couple of other technical goodies.
Although we generally refrain from posting about two similar vehicles close together, this one seemed to want to break that rule, although I’m going to just stick to a few technical details that don’t overlap JPC’s excellent historical overview of the Gladiator. Starting with that Rambler 327.
As we can see, this is almost the identical truck to the one found in Indiana, with a few exceptions. Their shades of green are a bit different, but that might be fading or a re-spray.
One obvious difference is in the transmissions. The ’65 that JPC found has the four speed, which would be either a Warner T-18 or 98A. This one obviously has a three speed column shift, which would presumably make it the Warner T90. Glads rated over 5600 lbs GVWR came with the even tougher Warner T89 three speed. More on transmissions later.
My real interest was what lay under the hood, as I haven’t seen or shot an AMC gen1 V8 engine since starting CC. I was standing there admiring the patina and the logo, hoping the owner might appear. And right on cue, he did.
Tyson is a young guy, and very much into his Gladiator. And he gladly popped the hood, and we talked a bit about the rather circuitous route this engine took to being re-united in a Kaiser vehicle, where it had originally been designed.
David Potter had been an engineer at Kaiser where he had been involved on the early development of a V8 engine, which Kaiser cars badly lacked. But when Kaiser restructured after buying Willys Motors in 1953, and moving production to Toledo, the V8 engine project was cancelled, and Potter found employment at AMC. He used his experience to get the new AMC-Rambler V8 into production in 18 months, faster than it would have taken typically.
The stark reality is that both this Rambler V8 and Studebaker’s V8 from 1951 were heavily based on the design of the 1949 Cadillac V8, the seminal modern OHV V8. The Studebaker is perhaps the more faithful scaled-down “copy”, as the Rambler V8 had two main differences; the Hudson-typical “X-style” crankshaft gallery and Nash-style rocker arms. But the basic architecture is all-too similar to the Cadillac.
Which probably explains to some extent why both the Studebaker and Rambler V8s quickly developed a rep for being pretty tough and durable engines. One could do worse than copy the Cadillac; ask Ford, which very much looked the other way with their heavy and inefficient Y-Block, and which they had to replace as their top V8 offering after only four years, with the much better FE engine.
These Rambler V8s (also built in 250 and 287 CID versions) are reasonably light (about 600lbs) given the time of their birth before modern thin-wall casting was developed. That’s a bit more than a Chevy small block, but not all that much (25-50 lbs). But that was still a fair chunk of iron for the fairly light Rambler unibodies to carry on their front wheels and did nothing to enhance their tendency to mediocre handling. But in a Jeep truck, it’s a non issue.
Anyway, it’s a bit ironic that Kaiser Jeep would end up buying this engine from AMC, whose origins date back to its own Engineering Department. And that AMC would replace it with a Buick V8 in 1968, until it was replaced by AMC’s newer V8s after AMC bought Jeep.
I couldn’t help but gravitate to the transmission-transfer case in the bed. It’s obviously a Warner T18, hooked up to the Dana Model 20 transfer case. I’ve never had a better look at one; quite the chunky little combo. Bet it weighs a couple of hundred pounds too.
I assumed that Tyson might be planning to install this in his truck to replace the three-speed. Not so; in fact he just had his three-speed rebuilt using heavier-duty gears. This four-speed and transfer case is from a 1977 Gladiator he just parted and junked, sine no one wanted to buy it, even though it was running and in similar condition to his truck. Hard to believe…Anyone need a Glad tail gate?
I was a bit intrigued by the output cover to the right and a bit below the main output for the drive shaft. Its purpose was soon divined: it’s the PTO (Power Take Off), used to drive other implements.
Like this gnarly original winch on the front, by Koenig. No wimpy little 12 V motor drives it.
The winch’s worm gears are in the round case on the upper left, and a series of shafts and U-joints snake their way along the engine to the transfer case.
The case that transfers the drive from the PTO outlet on the right, and feeds it to the left, just under the driveshaft, is (sort of) visible here, the silver-gray thing.
It’s operated by these two controls here. If that winch won’t pull you out of the ditch, it will just rotate the earth closer to you.
Time to get back to my staircase project; oops, it’s already five. Where did the time go, once again? Down the CC rabbit hole….