History: Cadillac and the Airboat

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SWAMPHUNTER45
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History: Cadillac and the Airboat

Post by SWAMPHUNTER45 »

Any old timers left that can give perspective as to who or where the 472 / 500 series Cadillac engine was first mated to an airboat. I have seen plenty of old pics with a variety of engines but somewhere along the line the DD Caddy was born and I'm just wondering who the genius was :old_glory: .
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Re: History: Cadillac and the Airboat

Post by scottyroll »

If it didn't start out with a pink Cadillac and a jar of moonshine I'd sure be surprised :florida:
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Re: History: Cadillac and the Airboat

Post by dougeey »

Not sure but we had them on my uncles boat back in the mid 60s I put one on my boat back in about 1983 . We ran them in are full tracks in 67 Doug
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Re: History: Cadillac and the Airboat

Post by sidejobs »

[quote="dougeey"]Not sure but we had them on my uncles boat back in the mid 60s I put one on my boat back in abou. 1983 . We ran them in are full tracks in 67 Doug[.quote]
He referred to the 472/500 which was not available then. However the 429 was and was used on airboats and buggies . 472 was introduced in 68 and 500 in 70 they ended in 76 .
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Re: History: Cadillac and the Airboat

Post by Whitebear »

Someone had one on an airboat here in Melbourne around '76. We saw it one afternoon and talked with him about it. Then we went home and tried to learn what made it so good for so cheap. We went and bought some old Chilton books and started taking notes. We went and talked to an engine builder who explained to us about torque and how its the opposite of what you want in a face car etc. So we looked up every other big displacement engine in the books and found that the Buick was a tad lighter with the same HP and Torque numbers. We built one to test and it was ok, but then we learned about timing and cam timing and such so we made some parts on our own and the thing came alive. By the end of that summer we had a ready made business building Buick powered airboats. Long Story Short is Buicks dissappeard cause of limited production runs and Caddy lived on. So the first one I remember was around '76.
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Re: History: Cadillac and the Airboat

Post by SWAMPHUNTER45 »

Got a few PMs from and it appears that necessity is the mother of this invention...lol

Many started out with the old 429 (1964-1967) with 480lbs torque and just navigated through the junk yard engine supply to the 472 / 500 series engines.
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Re: History: Cadillac and the Airboat

Post by SWAMPHUNTER45 »

Scotty recently getting parts has been harder than buying a good jar!
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Duece
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Re: History: Cadillac and the Airboat

Post by Duece »

My dad had one back in the late 70's. Ran that boat/motor til' it puked it's guts out in the late 80's. It was on a tank, but ran dang good for what it was. I ran Kissimmee back around 05' with a guy with a 500 caddy on a 13' Combee and man he ran all over with us up there. I was dam sure surprised, those things can sure nuff' run when set up right. Ran with another one on the Peace River that was a beauty (black one w/3 blade composite, maybe on a 13' lazer?) and saw him climb right up out of the river like it was nothing w/another person, cooler and dog on board. I've rarely seen one I wasn't impressed with...

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Re: History: Cadillac and the Airboat

Post by Whitebear »

Good canning jars disappeared about the same time as glass insulators on power line poles !
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Re: History: Cadillac and the Airboat

Post by dougeey »

sidejobs wrote:
dougeey wrote:Not sure but we had them on my uncles boat back in the mid 60s I put one on my boat back in abou. 1983 . We ran them in are full tracks in 67 Doug[.quote]
He referred to the 472/500 which was not available then. However the 429 was and was used on airboats and buggies . 472 was introduced in 68 and 500 in 70 they ended in 76 .
My uncle said the main reason they used them in the full tracks was the tranny and the air boats was they had spares!!!!!! Doug
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Re: History: Cadillac and the Airboat

Post by Duece »

What's the drawbacks with them? I've never owned one, but just milling around here looks like cooling issues mabye?

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Re: History: Cadillac and the Airboat

Post by dougeey »

Other then finding part nothing iam happy with mine. It is stock but not for long getting a new cam ,intake , and header and a500 cfm Holley and if wife don't find out a new prop. Doug
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Re: History: Cadillac and the Airboat

Post by North LA Hunter »

I see y'all talking about these motors alot.

Why are the soo much better than a bbc?


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Re: History: Cadillac and the Airboat

Post by Daddy Dave »

LA Hunter -- Very simple reason -- Cadis build all their mussle right up to 3,000 rpm -- which is also the fastest safe rpm for any prop. DD application hard to beat. A BBC needs rpms up near 4500 to get what all it's got. Can't turn an airboat prop anywhere near that speed -- so, it's a reduction system for SBCs or BCs either belt or gear ...
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Re: History: Cadillac and the Airboat

Post by North LA Hunter »

Daddy Dave wrote:LA Hunter -- Very simple reason -- Cadis build all their mussle right up to 3,000 rpm -- which is also the fastest safe rpm for any prop. DD application hard to beat. A BBC needs rpms up near 4500 to get what all it's got. Can't turn an airboat prop anywhere near that speed -- so, it's a reduction system for SBCs or BCs either belt or gear ...
Understood! Thanks for clearing that up!


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Re: History: Cadillac and the Airboat

Post by chuckitt@earthlink.net »

Most 472 and 500 cu in Caddies would turn a 7238 wide blade wood prop 2900 to 3000 rpm's. These engines produced 500 ft lbs torque at 3000 rpm. The straight valve 0-540 Lyc 260 HP would turn the same prop the same rpm. So you get about 260 HP on your direct drive set-up. The high torque at low rpm's made it a good airboat engine and they could be bought cheap.
As the years go buy, they will hard to find and parts will be hard to find also.
The Cadillac name will not go away on airboats but the new engines will need a reduction unit. The 2013 Cadillac ATS all wheel drive sports the Generation 2 Ecotec 2.0L Turbo LTG ( 122 cu in ). The airboat set-up for this engine will produce about 320 HP and 360 ft lb torque. Hooked to a 2.3 reduction would produce about 828 ft lbs torque at the prop shaft. Maximum torque at 1700 rpm and maintained to 5500 rpm. It weights just over 1/2 of the old Caddy. The Cadillac power will live on.
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Re: History: Cadillac and the Airboat

Post by Joe863 »

Dang that thing looks brand new.
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Re: History: Cadillac and the Airboat

Post by cflacowboy001 »

Because they were CHEAP ! It would get ya on the water and kinda what airboating used to be !
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Re: History: Cadillac and the Airboat

Post by BATTLE READY »

I think Jimmy Swait may have been one of the guys down south in Medly, FL that contributed to the Cadillac movement
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Re: History: Cadillac and the Airboat

Post by SWAMPHUNTER45 »

Good stuff and thanks Chuck for showing everyone the future! It won't be long and the 472's and 500's will be in the history books. Getting harder to find and parts are a premium. So many were crushed and scrapped over the past 10 years when the metal prices went crazy high. Good to see the EcoTec's are on the rise.
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