Posted 2017-02-15 5:49 PM (#534101 - in reply to #534097) Subject: RE: The 1956 Daytona Fury Prototype from May 56 Hot Rod Magazine
It wasn't a head wind on the second run that fouled up the '56 Fury. After the first run at 143.596 MPH (and that was into the wind), during the second (the actual down wind jaunt) either the gas cap flew off or was otherwise defective which caused a vacuum in the tank and the resulting fuel starvation limited its speed to 129.119. The problem was corrected by the next day, but too late for the NASCAR sanction, and that same Fury made it's up wind run at 147.236 MPH, followed by a down wind dash of 149.124, averaging 148.180. I understand the corporate brass were somewhat put out as the 300B averaged only 139.373. It also gave rise to the legend that the 300B would lose to the Fury if the mighty Letter Car had just a hiccup. This may have led to the Ramchargers being told in 1960-61 when asking Plymouth for assistance (primarily a car) in preparing for the 1961 NHRA/AHRA drag season that it wasn't in the division's interests to be involved in drag racing. Supposedly Dodge, not having any such qualms, then surreptitiously supplied that white '61 Dart Pioneer 2-dr H/T. It also led to the ram-inducted 383s in the 1960 and 1961 model years being rated at 330 HP rather than at their more realistic 350+ as it simply wouldn't do for the lowly Dart and Plymouth having more horses than the max of 350 in single 4V carb 413 in cars other than the 300Fs and Gs.
Incidently, the Daytona performance kit for the Fury (2X4V carburetion, special air cleaners, aluminum intake manifold with spacers, a high-po cam with solid lifters, and manual choke) was available over dealer parts counters for a tidy $746.90.
'57 Chrysler 300C, '60 Fury SonoRamic Commando, '65 Sport Fury 426-S/4-speed, '65 Vette 327 CID/375 HP 4-speed
Posted 2017-02-15 9:32 PM (#534107 - in reply to #534091) Subject: Re: The 1956 Daytona Fury Prototype from May 56 Hot Rod Magazine
Location: Frederick, MD
Usually, spacers compensate for a difference in deck height. Or, they may have had to machine off a substantial portion of the Chrysler manifold and had to make spacers to transition the ports to match the Plymouth head.
Posted 2017-02-15 10:15 PM (#534109 - in reply to #534105) Subject: RE: The 1956 Daytona Fury Prototype from May 56 Hot Rod Magazine
I think the "streamlining" on that particular car was most likely done on an experimental basis and not for competition purposes, much as was done later to the 300C. In the case of the C, it did not exceed the speed of the B at Daytona so the Chrysler people used the simple expedient of modeling clay to smoothe out the wind catching overhang of the visored windshield and the hooded headlights. Thus modified, a C was able to hit a 145+ on Chrysler's test track. Of course, the Speed Weeks at Daytona were constantly subjected to extreme changes in wind and sand conditions, which led to more stable test and competition venues elsewhere.
I don't think you are aware of what went on at Daytona during the Speed Weeks of the 1950s. There was no Daytona International Speedway and the competition was held on the sands of the beach. NASCAR was very primitive then and actually permitted only true stock automobiles in its circuit races. In fact, the early NASCAR Daytona circuit races actually ran on the sand for the greater part of a lap and then turned onto a paved road that paralleled the beach, going off again onto the sand to complete the course. Daytona had served as a test site for speed runs as early as the 1900s and by the 1950s was used by the Automobile Manufacturers Association (AMA) in the early part of each year to showcase their new products. There were rather stringent standards (as well as rather devious efforts to circumvent them), but the intent supposedly was to have strictly production cars show their stuff. As I recall, one of these criteria was that a particular model had to be in production for 90 days prior to competition and I believe one Chrysler product, perhaps an Adventurer, was barred from competetion because of its late debut. Theoretically, the classes were based on the principal models of the time so '56 Vettes ran against '56 T-Birds, '56 Plymouths raced Chevys and Fords, etc., up to the "luxury" class. The races were single car timed runs and nothing like a drag race or circuit race. There were two events: the "Standing Mile" (or the top speed from a standing start to the end of a mile) and the "Flying Mile" (the speed reached from one mile marker to another after a specified acceleration distance). Back in the day, gearheads like me followed the competition closely and were fed info by writers such as the above augmented by my hero, "Uncle" Tom McCahill (a real Chrysler fan). If you don't think the '56 Speed Week results had any impact, you might be interested in the fact that Chrysler sold only 1103 B's compared to the 4485 (albeit cheaper) Furys. BTW, Karl Kiekhaefer almost went with the '56 Dodge D-500-1, but was commited to the B.
The spacers were to accomodate the gap between the 2X4V manifold of the 354 Hemi with its monster heads and the smaller "poly" heads of the 303 CID mill. It wasn't pretty, but it worked.
Posted 2017-02-16 9:48 AM (#534133 - in reply to #534091) Subject: Re: The 1956 Daytona Fury Prototype from May 56 Hot Rod Magazine
I always felt that my 58 Fury with a 350 and dual quads was underrated at "only" 305 HP when the same basic engine, same cam, same heads same carburetion and only 11 more cubes was rated at 345 HP in the 58 Adventurer.
Posted 2017-02-16 3:48 PM (#534168 - in reply to #534091) Subject: Re: The 1956 Daytona Fury Prototype from May 56 Hot Rod Magazine
Location: Eastern Iowa
Back in '65, while stationed at Ft. Wood, MO, I had my 56 Coronet Lancer D-500.
I distinctly recall that there was one of those hot rod Fury's running around town at that time.
I had to get a new camshaft for it and the Chrysler dealer there in Lebanon, MO flat refused to order one for me.
I had to go to the Plymouth dealer, Green Motors IIRC, in the same town in order to get a new cam and lifters for the car.
Taking that car w/me while I was in the military was one of the biggest automotive mistakes I have ever made!
I've been kicking myself ever since.
Posted 2017-02-16 7:26 PM (#534179 - in reply to #534109) Subject: RE: The 1956 Daytona Fury Prototype from May 56 Hot Rod Magazine
I don't think you are aware of what went on at Daytona during the Speed Weeks of the 1950s
Ouch! We are all brothers here.
Daytona and Bonneville were not about who could go the balls-out fastest. It's about competition. Stock cars don't race modified cars. I doubt Chrysler's PR guys lost much sleep over a prototype class car going faster. A little sister brand or not. It's apples to oranges.
Same goes for failed racecars. If a car went 5,000 MPH and then couldn't make the required return run... it doesn't quality for anything. Land speed racing is also about endurance. Your car has to back up it's first run and prove it wasn't a fluke.
I don't mean to challenge anyone's ego. We owe it to history to compare apples to apples and not exagerate what actually happened.
Posted 2017-02-17 12:05 AM (#534187 - in reply to #534179) Subject: RE: The 1956 Daytona Fury Prototype from May 56 Hot Rod Magazine
Mea culpa. The '56 Fury, as a marque, was the car that was eliminated from competition because it was not in production 90 days prior to the event. The Plymouth guys did a real rush job and modified the engine as I described which allowed it to compete in the prototype class where its unsanctioned performance average of 148.180 (after the fuel issue was resolved) would have beaten Bill Stroppe's Merc's record of 147.260. That's why Wally Parks and Ray Brock were so impressed. Brock so much so that he became a MoPar aficienado and did a really good job of preparing a '62 300 to the point at the '62 Winternationals where it lost by about a two-foot margin to a '62 Poncho -- an E.T. of 12.88 and a speed of 108.40 was not enough to overcome a late start and the 421 won at 13 flat at 107.78. You might be interested that there are a number of 2X4X Furys around, one of which I have actually seen, batwing aircleaners, manual choke, and all.
I must reiterate that the very staid Chrysler brass (and not the PR guys) was very much shaken by the performance of Plymouth which was supposed to be a "family car" or a reliable, but dumpy, fleet vehicle. This is evidenced by even "PR guy" Jim Wangers, who had his '58 "Black Fury" on the way, but who decided that Bunkie Knudson's "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday" approach held more promise than L.L. Colbert's premise that "a gentleman should never have to remove his hat to drive a Chrysler vehicle." Even as late as 1960, little brother Plymouth initially was not (repeat: NOT!) supposed to get any 383 as that engine was to be limited to the bigger Dodges and DeSotos only. Even after Dodge dropped the 383 in the Dart and an uproar from Plymouth engineers and dealers, did Plymouth get it. I also think it significant that Plymouths 361 SonoRamic Commando was listed as having 310 HP while the Dart 361 was 320 (Dodge was responsible for the manufacture of the 361 as well as the 383). It is a matter of record confirmed by information supplied a couple of the original Ramchargers that Plymouth indeed did not want to get involved with the greasy T-shirt boys while Dodge did. Albeit this was under the table -- Jim Thornton told me that their '61 Pioneer "just showed up one day" and that he had no idea how it came to be (I believe Jones Dodge supplied it). As to the 1960-1961 horsepwer ratings suffering from corporate politics, I got this info from Plymouth honchos who not only retired at very high company levels but who also had Plymouths in competion in that era. It took the presidency of Lynn Townsend in 1962 change that attitude.
I guess the reason I come out swinging at any disparagement of Plymouth's performance is because I really do believe it did not get the credit it deserved, while Ford and GM got more than they merited. Goats I especially abhor because I think they are the most overrated muscle cars of all time.
Posted 2017-02-17 1:31 AM (#534194 - in reply to #534187) Subject: Re: The 1956 Daytona Fury Prototype from May 56 Hot Rod Magazine
I've got this issue as well. Plymouth was a bread and butter brand and had a ton of pull at HotRod due to the fact that Plymouth bought a ton of HotRod advertising. More than any other MoPar brand. All I'm saying is a modified Plymouth wasn't really a threat to the Chrysler team. I spoke to Burt from the Chrysler Daytona race team and he completely dismissed ANY modified car. These guys had a purely stock mentality. People like Wally Parks hadn't been given any credit by the Chrysler factory guys in 1956. Although he sure deserved it. Yes, there was rivalry between divisions, but Parks car was a modified racecar and thereby an entirely different breed in the eyes of the stock class guys.
I'm kind of repeating myself here, but lines like "gave rise to the legend that the 300B would lose to the Fury if the mighty Letter Car had just a hiccup" are a little misleading.
Discussing brand loyalty is like discussing religion. Minds won't be changed. At any rate, I've owned a '56 Fury. Awesome car! Loved every minute of it. If I could find one '50s stocker though, it would be the '56 NASCAR track Furys. Now those are amazing cars too! We can agree on that one, right Joe?
Posted 2017-02-18 12:47 PM (#534268 - in reply to #534194) Subject: Re: The 1956 Daytona Fury Prototype from May 56 Hot Rod Magazine
Location: Lower Mainland BC
Sometimes curiosity returns results you don't want to hear. Blackie Pitt (with cars sometime owned by his brother Brownie) raced in 1954, 1955,1956 and 1958. In 1956, his success finishing in the Plymouths wasn't always great:
Detailed Results for Blackie Pitt in the 1956 NASCAR Grand National Series
Race Track Finish Points Car # Team Make Start Led Status
1 1 Nov 13, 1955 Hickory 26 /0 #5 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Buick 29 0 accident
2 2 Nov 20, 1955 Charlotte (Old) 15 /0 #88 Ernest Woods (Owner) Oldsmobile 23 0 Running
3 4 Dec 11, 1955 Palm Beach 8 /0 #88 Ernest Woods (Owner) Oldsmobile 15 0 Running
4 5 Jan 22, 1956 Arizona 17 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Oldsmobile 27 0 Running
5 6 Feb 26, 1956 Daytona B&R 57 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Oldsmobile 53 0 -
6 7 Mar 4, 1956 Palm Beach 24 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Oldsmobile 14 0 rear end
7 12 Apr 29, 1956 Richmond 8 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Plymouth 12 0 Running
8 13 May 5, 1956 Columbia 9 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Plymouth 17 0 Running
9 14 May 6, 1956 Concord 19 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Buick 10 0 hose
10 15 May 10, 1956 Greenville 22 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Plymouth 20 0 axle
11 17 May 13, 1956 Occoneechee 24 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Plymouth 20 0 rod
12 18 May 20, 1956 Martinsville 26 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Buick 31 0 hub
13 19 May 25, 1956 Lincoln 8 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Buick 9 0 Running
14 20 May 27, 1956 Charlotte (Old) 24 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Buick 12 0 radiator
15 22 May 30, 1956 New York Fairgrounds 24 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Buick 10 0 accident
16 25 Jun 10, 1956 Memphis-Arkansas 22 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Buick 28 0 a-frame
17 29 Jul 1, 1956 Weaverville 28 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Plymouth 28 0 accident
18 30 Jul 4, 1956 Raleigh 34 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Plymouth 24 0 engine
19 34 Jul 27, 1956 Shelby 15 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Plymouth 15 0 fan belt
20 36 Aug 3, 1956 Oklahoma 10 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Ford 12 0 fuel pump
21 44 Sep 3, 1956 Darlington 46 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Plymouth 63 0 rear end
22 46 Sep 12, 1956 Southern States 16 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Plymouth 20 0 Running
23 50 Sep 30, 1956 Occoneechee 11 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Plymouth 16 0 axle
24 51 Oct 7, 1956 Tennessee-Carolina 16 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Plymouth 17 0 engine
25 52 Oct 17, 1956 Charlotte (Old) 27 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Plymouth 14 0 engine
26 55 Nov 11, 1956 Hickory 21 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Plymouth 20 0 engine
27 56 Nov 18, 1956 Wilson 17 /0 #59 Brownie Pitt (Owner) Plymouth 17 0 Running
Posted 2017-02-23 9:21 AM (#534571 - in reply to #534091) Subject: RE: The 1956 Daytona Fury Prototype from May 56 Hot Rod Magazine
Location: Lower Mainland BC
Just pulling some pertinent info over from "Goes Racing" thread.
Hemidave posted this photo which shows that the ad hoc streamlining of the front of the 56 Fury wasn't done in clay but something covered in masking tape.
To which Sonoramic60 posted this reply"
Sonoramic60 - 2017-01-17 6:31 PM
That looks like the '56 Fury that was quite a sensation at the 1956 Speed Week at Daytona. It wasn't absolutely stock, but with two four-barrel carbs, a special cam, headers, and 10-1 compression it hit an unofficial 149.124 MPH, which was faster than all the rest of the cars there, including the 300B at 139.4. In fact, it was said at the time that even a stock optioned Fury would catch a 300 if the latter just hiccuped! Too bad Plymouth's brass wanted to project an image of a good family car as they never really publicized nor very intensely pursued the performance aspect. And "Fury" is such a great name for a performance car!
Posted 2017-02-23 9:43 AM (#534572 - in reply to #534571) Subject: RE: The 1956 Daytona Fury Prototype from May 56 Hot Rod Magazine
Location: Lower Mainland BC
Some more info:
"1956 Plymouth Fury: General Overview
The Plymouth Fury was produced by the Plymouth division of the Chrysler Corporation from 1956 to 1989.
The Fury was introduced as a sporty, premium-priced model designed to showcase the line, with the intent to draw consumers into showrooms.
The word “fury” denotes a type of anger, inspired by the Furies, mythological creatures in Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman mythology.
The Fury was a sub-series of the Plymouth Belvedere from 1956 through 1958. It was sold only as an off-white 2-door hardtop coupé with gold anodized aluminum trim in 1956, and 1957. The Fury had a special interior, bumper wing-guards and a V8 engine with twin 4-barrel carburetors.
The car was introduced in 1956 with a 303 V8 and had sharply peaked tail fins, a Cadillac-like logo, and typical ’50s styling.
Curtis Redgap wrote about the introduction of the FX Fury at the February Speed Weeks in Daytona:
“As expected the big 1956 Chrysler 300B blew everything else off the beach, including the stock models of the Chevrolet Corvette and Ford Thunderbird. It set a two way record of 139.373 miles an hour. … Then the driver, Mr. Phil Walters, took the Fury slowly down to the start of the timing lane. … It was screaming over the sand so fast, that to look at it was almost like a distorted picture. You couldn’t quite focus fully on it. It was moving like the wind! … With a resounding boom and a flash of gold, it was gone, the engine defiantly pounding out its deep belly staccato tune with bass notes better than any musical orchestra. The timers acted like they were in slow motion. Finally … the numbers rolled over. … 143.596 miles an hour! The fastest Plymouth ever built in history. And even faster than the 300B.
… Then the big Fury started back. … About 1/2 way through the run up, approaching the timing lane, the engine started to die. … It broke the timer at 129.119 miles an hour. … A defective fuel cap had caused a vacuum in the fuel tank and starved the engine for gas. The next day, with a new cap, and of course without NASCAR sanctioning, the big Fury roared through the timer on a third run at 147.236 miles an hour. On the return trip, it broke the lights at 149.124 miles an hour!"
“For collectors, the great gold-and-white rockets of 1956-1958 have appeal not only as the first but also as clearly the best Furys. Whether these high-strung machines are going to be permanently happy on unleaded gasoline is an unanswered question, but they’ll need lots of fuel in any case” (Auto Editors of Consumer Guide)."
Posted 2017-02-23 12:45 PM (#534580 - in reply to #534091) Subject: Re: The 1956 Daytona Fury Prototype from May 56 Hot Rod Magazine
Location: Ponder, TX
Maybe I’m the only one, but in my opinion, there were only three real Fury model years. ..’56, ’57 and ’58. The following year’s namesakes ranged from reputation-worthy to total embarrassment. Unique colors to make them visually memorable and unique equipment to make them performance memorable would have assured legendary status. As seen in the photo, they could have easily kept the string going in 1959 since it also had a unique beauty, but someone decided to try and capitalize on the Fury reputation.
Posted 2017-02-23 3:43 PM (#534583 - in reply to #534581) Subject: Re: The 1956 Daytona Fury Prototype from May 56 Hot Rod Magazine
I don't think the '60 SonoRamic Commandos were any slouches either. Al Eckstrand took the S/SA title at the 1960 NHRA Nationals and came very close to beating Jim Wangers in his '60 Royal Oak Bobcat for top stock eliminator.
What does hurt the post-'58 Furys, other than the '59 Sport Fury (to some extent, at least in their Golden Commando-equipped versions), is as Gary says in that they had lost their identity as a performance enthusiast's automobile. My '60 SonoRamic Fury is unique and does turn heads when I pop the hood, but those '56, '57, and '58 Furys were recognized as being special at first glance with hood down and on the street or highway. Later versions continued to offer tremendous performance, but only with available options and not a marque in itself. I guess that's why Plymouth put "SONORAMIC COMMANDO Power" tags on my '60 Fury and a "426" hood ornament on my '65 Sport Fury, just to make them a little different, but still rather run-of-the-mill, cars.
Posted 2017-02-26 2:13 AM (#534711 - in reply to #534091) Subject: Re: The 1956 Daytona Fury Prototype from May 56 Hot Rod Magazine
Location: Vancouver, BC
The statement, "a gentleman should never have to remove his hat to drive a Chrysler vehicle" was actually made by Colbert's predecessor, Kaufman Thuma (K.T.) Keller. He was the one who insisted on having loads of head room and a high trunk lid. He was noted for sitting in the mock ups of new cars and checking the headroom. He would put his hat on and bounce around while the stylists stood by with fingers crossed. If Keller's hat hit the roof, that roof had to be raised. Did the same with the trunk - placed two dairy milk containers and closed the trunk lid. If the lid did not close, the car was restyled so it would. Keller believed farmers hauled milk and produce to market in the trunks of their cars.
Keller was noted for his conservative views on car styling and engineering. He did not believe the car buying wanted the low, long, flowing styling of Chrysler's competition. He did not believe the car buying public wanted automatic transmissions. And nothing wrong with flathead sixes. The car buying public believed otherwise. By 1952 only Willys did not offer an automatic transmission, although they would for 1953. So, the market got Chrysler Corp cars that looked like last year's models with lots of headroom and trunk room and no automatic transmissions. Chrysler Corporation was #2 in the U.S. from 1936 to 1949, then briefly in 1951. By 1954 it was firmly entrenched in #3 spot, with sales down 40% from 1950. Chrysler had 25.11% of the US market in 1940, 18.01% in 1950 and 13.13% in 1954. Chrysler management realized by 1950 that Keller was wrong, but it takes a while to change directions. Sort of like steering the Titanic around an iceberg.
The decisions to have Chrysler, DeSoto and Dodge each have their own hemi engines was done under Keller, but the result was a range of powerful engines that were not cheap to produce. And that resulted in high prices for Chrysler Corp. cars due to lower production volumes for each engine.
L.L. (Tex) Colbert succeeded Keller in 1950 and it was Colbert that placed Virgil Exner as head of the new styling department in 1952. Chrysler was working on redoing the front and rear of the 1954 models for 1955. Exner convinced Chrysler management that a complete restyling was needed for 1955 if they hoped to compete with Ford and GM. It was also decided, after the major 1955 restyling project began, that Plymouth should get a V8 engine for 1955. But, as the new engine would be not ready until the 1956 model year, it was decided to use Dodge engines for 1955. Fortunately Chrysler Engineering had been doing work on automatic transmissions and Chrysler had Powerflite in production by the spring of 1953, although Plymouth would not offer it until the next year - the last American-built car to offer an automatic.
Management also decided to replace the three hemi engines with one corporate engine, the result being the B block for 1958 plus the RB for 1959. While all this was going on Chrysler made the decision to go with unibody construction for 1960. Coupled with that was the purchase of Briggs body and the decision each assembly plant would build their own bodies. With that decision made, it was necessary to close both the DeSoto plant on Wyoming Avenue and the Plymouth plant in Evansville, Indiana, as there was no room to expand either plant. Also, all assembly plants, engine plants, and other component plants would be placed in one group - the Automotive Manufacturing Group (AMG). Thus the R and RB engines were all built at the Trenton Engine plant south of Detroit under the AMG and not under Dodge Division control. Although the new A block Plymouth V8 engine was initially built by Plymouth at the Mound Road plant (a former Briggs asset), the plant and the engine production became part of AMG.
L.L. Colbert resigned as president in 1961 after taking heat for the 1962 models, falling sales and profits, and the problems with W.C. Newberg. Lynn Townsend succeeded Colbert as president, and the decision was made to replace Exner as head of styling. Thus in October, 1961, Elwood Engel became head of styling.
Posted 2017-02-26 7:38 AM (#534715 - in reply to #534091) Subject: Re: The 1956 Daytona Fury Prototype from May 56 Hot Rod Magazine
Location: Branson, MO
Good read Chrycoman, makes a lot of sense. Since Dad was a DeSoto-Plymouth dealer back then, I can relate to the chronological order of events you mentioned although at the time I was too young to realize all that was going on behind the scenes. I could only relate to the styling changes and sales numbers of Dad's dealership which fluctuated in line with the national or corporate sales.
Plymouth was the bread and butter line for Dad's business because of being located in a rural area in Beaverton, Michigan. DeSoto sales paled by comparison but he drove DeSotos and did sell a few. For the 1961 model, he only received one DeSoto before it was discontinued.
Posted 2017-02-27 2:56 AM (#534787 - in reply to #534091) Subject: Re: The 1956 Daytona Fury Prototype from May 56 Hot Rod Magazine
Location: Vancouver, BC
Prior to the hemi engines Chrysler had three engines shared between the four makes - 23" flathead six, 25" flathead six and a flathead eight. Never understood why Chrysler decided to go with four different V8 engines. Especially with Keller in charge. But it was not the only error Keller would make after WW II.
GM had five makes and each had their own engines, although Buick's 1930 Marquette used Oldsmobile's flathead six and Cadillac's 1934-1936 LaSalle used Oldsmobile's flathead eight. But GM made money due to the production volume. For example, GM's 1956 calendar year production compared to their Mopar competitors :
Chevrolet - 1,621,005 (Plymouth - 452,948)
Pontiac - 322,268 (Dodge - 205,727)
Oldsmobile - 432,903 (DeSoto - 104,090)
Buick - 535,364 (Chrysler - 96,356)
Cadillac - 140,873 (Imperial - 12,130 - used Chrysler V8 engines)
More Buick V8 engines were built than Dodge, DeSoto and Chrysler combined. Thus GM was not concerned about costs of engine production.
In the 1960's Chevrolet came out with an air-cooled six, a cast iron four, and started the 1970's with an aluminum four, Pontiac came out with a four cylinder engine (literally the right half of the V8 engine) and later an OHC six while Oldsmobile and Buick shared Buick's V6 and small V8 engines. In the 1970's with Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Buick all sharing bodies (Vega, Nova, plus the A, B and C bodies) and all using Chevrolet engines and/or their own. With that GM finally figured out the divisions should share all engines. Only Cadillac went its own way for a little longer. GM actually had four different 350-cid V8 engines in production as well as 400-cid and 455-cid. Problem was not just the cost of producing engines by then, but also the cost of getting all these engines meeting the emissions standards.
Ford had been building unique engines for Lincoln (V-12 until 1948, modified Ford Truck engines 1949-51, and its own ohv V8 starting 1952) but by the end of the 1950's Lincoln engines were optional in Mercury models and then Ford.
As Dave stated, it made sense to the marketing people, but not so much to the people who figured out where the bottomless pit sucking up millions of dollars was located.