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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Viking, Calkins Motor Company


The Eugene Guard
April 10, 1929

Viking on Horse, Harry Tetro"This job isn't so bad," admits Harry Tetro, who is playing the part of the mounted Viking on the streets of Eugene this week for the Calkins Motor company. "There's no work to it, and I sure get lots of attention—especially from women. But, I think I'd get tired of it soon; there isn't enough action in it. I'm not happy any more unless I'm trying to sell somebody an Oldsmobile, a LaSalle or a Cadillac. I get kind of lonesome, too, riding all alone."
The Viking, a new name and a new car with distinctively new features, will be on initial showing here Thursday. It represents three years of development by the vast engineering resources of Oldsmobile and General Motors and represents for the first time, at a medium price, design fundamentals which heretofore have been associated with high-priced cars. The new Viking will be displayed by the Calkins Motor company, Oldsmobile-Viking dealers in this vicinity.

The most significant factor surrounding the announcement of the new Viking is that it brings for the first time to the medium price field the compact, sturdy, 90-degree, V-type eight-cylinder engine—for it is with this type engine the Viking is powered. While the fundamental principles of the 90-degree V-type eight are employed, the Viking embodies new and advanced engineering principles never before incorporated in automotive design.

In styling, the new Viking also presents itself as a leader. Handsome, roomy bodies have been designed by Fisher for the 125-inch wheelbase chassis. The appearance of the bodies is distinctive without being radical and achieves beauty and elegance through the use of simple lines. The interiors and appointments are luxurious. From bumper to bumper the new Viking is an aristocrat.

With these characteristics of expensive automobiles, the price of the new Viking is as sensational as are its advanced engineering design and its distinctive appearance. The price will be $1595 f. o. b. Lansing, Michigan, for the three standard body types. These are the five-passenger four-door sedan, a close-coupled five-passenger sedan, and a convertible coupe for four.

Even more than the ordinary interest attached to a new car is centered in the Viking due to its being the latest member of the General Motors family. It is the first new automobile introduced by General Motors in more than two and one-half years. The last newcomer previous to the Viking was the LaSalle, which is also powered by a 90-degree, V-type eight-cylinder motor.

Sense Coming Demand.

Three years ago Oldsmobile and General Motors sensed a coming demand for a medium priced eight-cylinder automobile of General Motors quality. The engineering, research and testing facilities of General Motors and Oldsmobile were devoted to the development and design of an automobile which would fill this requirement and come up to exacting standards set for General Motors products.

Fleets of all of these types of eight-cylinder automobiles—each one fundamentally different than the others—were built and put to work on the General Motors proving ground to show their capabilities. All of these fleets were operated under the same identical conditions and the results were tabulated, one against the other.

For months all of these cars were subjected to racking strains and prolonged road work at the proving ground and in the testing laboratories. The most severe car requirements were exaggerated behind previous conception. Summer and winter these fleets of cars were driven at all speed ranges over every type of road, up and down grades, and daily records of their performance and stamina were tabulated.

Tests Conducted.

One by one different types were eliminated. Finally the prolonged and gruelling tests conclusively proved one of these fleets of cars to be superior to all others. But even then the engineers were not content; they desired conclusive proof that this automobile was the best of its kind that it is possible to build today.

So an even larger fleet of the winning type was again put on the proving ground to demonstrate beyond question of doubt that this type automobile was worthy of taking its place among General Motors cars and bearing the name Viking. For centuries the name Viking has been synonymous with strength and stamina due to the brave and daring exploits of those Northmen. From infancy the Viking youth was given Spartan-like training and only those who qualified were permitted to enter the Viking ranks. Similarly, the winning design was made to pass the most gruelling test before it become standard bearer of the illustrious name of Viking.

This final test to determine the best resulted in a decided victory for the compensated, 90-degree, V-type eight-cylinder Viking. And these final tests were most thorough, including, in addition to all the tests that could be devised at the proving ground and in the laboratories, speed drives across the continnent, over mountains and through deserts.

Results obtained proved that the Viking engine embodied all of the advantages gained by multiple motors. It has gone further by providing new characteristics and features which enhance smoothness, quietness and long life. Furthermore, it introduces a high degree of simplicity in this type of design.

The cylinder block and crankcase are cast integral in one unit. This is the first time a one-piece block has been used on a V-type, eight-cylinder engine and it has made possible many of the new design features to be found in the Viking. These include rigidity, accessibility, a new and highly efficient valve arrangement, and improved cooling and lubrication. The motor generates 81 horsepower.

The design also makes possible an exceptionally efficient cooling system. The cylinder walls are entirely surrounded by water passages as are the valves, valve stem guides and combustion chambers. Distribution of the water is made through manifolds in the twin blocks, with graduated outlets at the most effective points. The water space extends far down on the crankcase walls and acts as an efficient cooling agent in maintaining the proper running temperature of the lubricating oil. At the lower part of the cylinder walls, where less heat is generated, the flow of water is slower and controlled by heat convection. The cooling system has a capacity of 8½ gallons.

The valve arrangement is another distinct Viking feature. The valves are horizontal and this position, together with the design of the cylinder block and head, form what is termed a quasi-overhead valve arrangement, which combines the fuel distribution advantages of the overhead location of valves with the rigidity of the side valve mechanism.

Smooth and quiet operation and long-wearing qualities are incorporated in the heavy, short three-beating crankshaft. The three main bearings are exceptionally large, the diameters and lengths being: front bearing, 2¼ by 1⅞ inches; center bearing, 2⅜ by 2½ inches; rear bearing, 2½ by 3⅛ inches. Connecting rods work on a short throw and are mounted on the crankshaft in pairs.

by 2½ inches; rear bearing, 2½. Connecting rods work on a short throw and are mounted on the crankshaft in pairs.

Oil is forced under pressure to all main, connecting rod and camshaft bearings, as well as through rifle drilled passages in the connecting rods to piston pins and parts.

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