Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Head Better, Big Automotive Post In The Works

Well, my head is no longer itching, and several big spots have "bubbled up" for lack of a better term. They'll soon slough off, and hopefully never return.

I'm working up a multipart post to satisfy some Facebook Hot Rod buddies who keep asking about my 1973 Firebird, and whatever happened to it.

It was an interesting car when I ordered it, being one of the last "High Performance" cars of the era. All too soon Federal regulations would clobber performance cars with emissions requirements causing the horsepower to drop to embarrassingly low levels for the engine size (a 460 engine with 155 horsepower??), while safety regulations would result in ugly cars with railroad iron bumpers weighing down each end.

Yes, some of the power drop was caused by dropping compression ratios down for use with unleaded gas (around 10%), and more was caused by the change from SAE "gross" to SAE "net" measurements, but after 1974, power levels seriously dropped to less than half what they had been.

True dual exhausts were replaced by a single pipe with a catalytic converter plugging things up, spark timing was cut down, and compression ratios dipped a bit more.

Things looked really bleak until modern technology like fuel injection, full. near real-time, closed-loop computer control, and better, freer flowing catalysts were developed.

The middle to late 1970's were pretty scary to Car Nuts like myself, but eventually things got sorted out and performance began to return.

Who'd a thunk it that one day we'd have 707HP Dodges, and 650HP Corvettes running around, perfectly happy on 91 Octane pump gas, and not only having straight line performance that truly blows the old Muscle Cars away, but they also have vastly improved cornering and braking abilities.


  1. " they also have vastly improved cornering and braking abilities."


  2. Exactly. As much-loved as my '68 Super Bee is, in my memory, I probably wouldn't want to drive it very far now. But at least it had personality & style, which is more than I can say for the new generation ... no matter how powerful & nice the cars may be. Have I turned into a tolerably accomplished old fuddy-duddy? Probably.

  3. The new vehicles are safer too.

    Hennessey Performance modified the Ford F-150 Raptor truck (6.2L V8) to its VelociRaptor 700 Supercharged upgrade. I have been toying with sending the ride off to Hennessey. I realize the 2005 Dodge Viper pick-up SRT-10 was sick with 500 HP. A friend had one. This would give the Raptor 200 HP more than that...and it's surprisingly street legal.


Keep it civil, please....