Monday, February 17, 2020

The times, they have done changed...

Car and Driver gathers the top-of-the-line variants of the Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger for a comparison test:
In previous incarnations of this journal, the procedure for writing a headline for a comparison test similar to this one would have been to add up the peak horsepower of all the participants, add an exclamation point or two or three, and be done with the thing. But in these more enlightened times, simply typing "2207-hp Smackdown!" just doesn't cut it.
Two thousand, two hundred, and seven horsepower...divided among three cars.

In the Eighties, when I was furtively reading Car and Driver in the back of Driver's Ed instead of paying attention to Blood on the Asphalt or whatever scare pic was showing at the front of the classroom, 2,207 bhp would have been ten cars, not three. And ten fairly brawny cars at that.

I happen to have C/D's 1985 Road Test Annual right here, so let's see...

  • Chevrolet Camaro IROC Z28: 305cid V8, 215bhp (with the 4spd auto, the manual got you 190)
  • Ford Mustang GT: 302cid V8, 210bhp
  • Dodge Shelby Charger: 135cid I4 turbo: 146bhp (the Challenger nameplate was on hiatus)

Well, there's the Big Three's pony car offerings for 1985...okay, the Charger wasn't a traditional pony car at the time, but rather a sporty fastback coupe built on the floorpan of the Omni hatchback grocery-getter. (This was, incidentally, widely accepted as the fate of everything at the time. The front-engine, RWD eight-cylinder Camaro and Mustang were viewed as retro holdouts, desperately fighting the decline. There were even whispered rumors over the next few years that Ford was going to move the Mustang badge to a more fuel-efficient FWD platform.)

But we only have less than six hundred horsepower accounted for, here. If we're going to have a 2207-hp smackdown, we have to find another 1,600ish horsepower. I suppose we could include some other domestic sporty cars:

  • Pontiac Fiero GT: 171cid V6, 140bhp
  • Chevrolet Corvette: 350cid V8, 230bhp
  • Merkur XR4Ti: 140cid I4 turbo, 170bhp
  • Dodge Omni GLH Turbo: 135cid I4 Turbo, 146bhp

Well, that gives us another 686 horsepower, bringing us up to just shy of 1,300. Only nine hundred more horsepower needed for our "2207-hp Smackdown!" I guess we could include imported models to buff out our totals:

  • Toyota MR2: 97cid I4, 112bhp
  • Isuzu Impulse Turbo: 122cid I4 turbo, 140bhp
  • Audi Coupe GT: 136cid I5, 110bhp
  • BMW 635CSi: 209cid I6, 182bhp
  • Porsche 928S: 303cid V8, 288bhp

Well, there's another eight hundred and close! We only need another hundred and eighteen horsepower to finish it out:

  • Chevrolet Cavalier Z24: 173cid V6, 125bhp

Well, that puts us a little over the top, but the '85 Mirage Turbo (102bhp) or VW GTI (100bhp) would have left us short. And besides, a "2214-hp Smackdown!" is seven horsepower more exciting than a "2207-hp Smackdown!", especially when you get to spread that smackdown over thirteen cars instead of a mere three, right?

No comments: