I agree with the others above, 220 degrees is on the edge of being too hot on an older carbureted car. The reason that newer fuel injected cars run hotter is because the hotter an engine runs, the more efficient it is, thus, lowering emissions. I think alot of today's Cadillacs run at 220-230 degrees. The problem is that the higher engine temperatures also heat the air coming into the engine reducing power especially on older cars with air intakes inside the engine compartments.
In and ideal situation, I would think that a car like yours should consistently run between 180 and 200 degrees. Any higher and you are probably reducing engine power. Too hot for a small block with aluminum heads, In my opinion, would probably start when the engine consistently runs higher than 220 degrees. Of course, short times at temperatures slightly higher than that "probably" won't hurt anything. I also agree that you should verify what the gauge is saying with an Infra Red gun. What is your engine running at anyhow?
I have my temperature gauge in the intake. I have heard the preferred position for the sensor argued both ways. Your gauge will probably read a higher temperature if it is in the cylinder head. The intake would probably be the most commonly used position. I would like to hear a difinitive answer on that subject as well.
[This message has been edited by Cameron (edited 10-06-2001).]