Greg Zyla: The tri-powers and six packs

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Q: Greg, which American car manufacturer was the first to use a three two-barrel carb setup either as an option or standard equipment on its cars? There have been so many since the 1960s, but I don't remember which one was first. Matt H., email from Illinois.

Ford, too, stands for some honor here as it adopted a three-two Holley setup early on in 1961 on larger models with the 390 engine (which grew to 406 and then 427). Of note in 1961 was how Ford dealt with the performance option, as the factory shipped the 3x2 intake manifold and three Holley carbs in the trunk, allowing a dealer install and pushing horsepower to 401.

Chevrolet successfully ushered in the carb arrangement on its Corvette, where in 1967 you could buy a 400 or 435 horsepower 427 with three-twos. It's been a popular car since day one, and today garners top dollar at auctions. The last 427 big block Corvette Holley Tri Power was available in 1969.

When all the cards are on the table, however, I'll still give the 1964 Pontiac GTO with the 389 tri power the cream of the crop award when it comes to legend and popularity, followed by the MOPAR 440 V-8 six packs.

Greg Zyla writes weekly for GateHouse New Service and welcomes reader questions at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840 or at