215 The Small V-8

Did you know that in 1961, Buick added the 215 V-8. The 215 ran until 1963 when it's HP peaked at 200 with 11:1 compression!
Re: 215

:waving: Hey Bob,

Wasn't the 215 which had the appearance of a "little Nailhead with the 90 degree valve covers Buick's first attempt at an Aluminum Engine.

If memory serves me correctly the tooling was sold to Rover.

Regards, :beers:

Tom Gallagher


New member
215 Aluminum Engine

The 215 was also raced at Indy in 62 by Mickey Thompson. The aluminum heads were kept around for a while on the 300ci HP (250 hp - KP code)



Yes, the design was sold to British Leyland, the motor was used in a hardtop MGBGT for UK use only in the mid seventies, the Rovers use a hybrid version to this day. The motor is still popular for street rods, performance boats, and US MGB conversions (the 215 is almost a direct bolt-in for the later "rubber bumper" cars ('76-'80). The all alluminium set up is light and provides good HP.


New member

Oldsmobile also got a version of the 215. The short block was essentially the same, but the cylinder heads (and valve covers) are different, and take one head bolt more than the Buick version. This engine was used in the then-new compact cars, which shared parts among divisions but were each different than the others as well. Furthermore, Oldsmobile Turbocharged its version of the 215 for 62 and 63, in its Jetstar version of the f-85. The turbocharged 215 still had 10:1 compression, so a complex Rochester side-draft carburetor with alcohol injection was used to combat detonation. The little aluminum V8 produced one HP per cubic inch in turbocharged form. Pontiac's Tempest also was available with the Buick naturally aspirated 215, connected thru a torque tube to its rear-mounted transaxle.

I have a 4-bbl Oldsmobile 215, but am not sure what to do with it; I also have an original turbo and carburetor, but not the manifolds. It would be neat in a little street rod with no hood, I suppose.

Re: Aluminum 215

:waving: Hey Guys

Fabulous Information! :thumbsup:

Does the turbo-charger on the Olds F-85 (Which I assume is extremely rare and not many survivors) fit the Buick?

The 215 if installed in that small light MG must REALLY Fly! If I remember correctly the MG in the late 60's-early 70's had a six that was really quick.

With a light V-8 You would really be able to light up the tires! :shifter:

I know that there must be some members who are 215 enthusiasts, but I would venture to say that there aren't too, too many 215 around and are pretty hard to come by.

Buick only used them I believe from 61-63.

I wonder why they sold the tooling?

I'm not aware of and dependability problems.

Its a nice little motor in a small package.

It has the appearance of a pocket size Nailhead and I can imagine it would have a little kick to it in a light car for which it was designed for.

Any additional Information regarding the 215 would be greatly appreciated!

Regards :beers:

Tom Gallagher


62 Buick Special Deluxe w/ 215 V8

I have a #'s matching 215 V8 in my 62 Special. The car has 97,000 original miles and the engine is still really strong! 2bbl carb to boot!

I do have a question about the valve covers- mine aren't painted- is this normal or not? They do have 1 dab of green paint, but thats it!

I'm the third owner, and I'm almost sure that the engine has never been out and the valve covers look like they are straight from factory.


Gm 215 V8

I also read in a car magazine(I believe "AUTOMOBILE") several months back that GM was negotiating with Land Rover on buying back the casting molds for the 215, which has grown to a 231, I think?
Re: 231

:waving: Hey BeerChamp.

The 215 is a small V-8 Aluminum Engine about 200 hp It has the appearance of a small nailhead with the 90 degree upright valve covers

The 231 is Buicks cast Iron bullet-proof V-6 which has been improved and developed and has become what is now known as the 3800 which have been the engine of choice in the Buick LeSabre and the Regal since about 1986 when Buick when with the front wheel drive platform in its full size cars ( shared with the Pontiac Bonneville and the Olds 88 in the late 80's and 90's. In 2005 it is still used as the base engine in Buicks LaCross and Lucerne.

Buick sold the right to it to Jeep I think as an odd fire and then bought it back and improved and developed an even-fire set-up added fuel injection and has been turbo-charged and super-charged with the economy of a v-6 30 mpg on the hwy and the performance of a v-8 about 200 hp S/c 240 the turbo generate quite a bit more and are very reliable and dependable and with proper maintenance a longevity of 2oo,ooo miles is easily attainable. Those Blocks are rock solid and some are being made that will quarantee 500 hp. That kind of hp in a v-6 (with twin turbos) is unheard of!

Regards, :beers:

Tom Gallagher
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New member
215 aluminum V8

The reason Buick sold this engine to British Leyland was the "bean counters" at GM thought the engine was too expensive to produce. The British used this engine in the following cars, Rover, Land Rover, TVR, MG and Morgan.

The valve covers and the air cleaners on the '61 '62 V8 engines were painted with a wrinkle aluminum finish.


New member
Are the 1963 215 valve covers made of aluminum or metal. Are they painted, what color. I have a '63 convertible and missing the covers. Will the 300 covers fit? Thanks, Joe.