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Slideshow: Automakers, Start Your Engines!

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Charles Murray
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Re: MASTER BLASTERS
Charles Murray   2/5/2014 8:40:31 PM
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I had the same first impression when I attended the show, bobjengr. For the past few years, horsepower hasn't been a topic of conversation at these shows. They were more about fuel efficiency and electric powertrains. I'm still trying to figure out why this year was so different.

William K.
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Re: it's a start. Why does anyone need the power?
William K.   2/3/2014 8:51:20 PM
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JUst think how handy it would have been to have a real nitrous-oxide injection system that you could have called on for five or ten seconds of doubled horsepower. That would probably be the most effective solution, which would be to have an engine with a totally split personality. Just flip the switch and run a completely different fuel/air ratio map along with a totally different spark advance curve. And then switch back to the fuel conservation map after reaching the required speed. I know that people have done that with some cars, making race-winners out of ordinary cars, and then changing back afterwards. So why not have both personalities available in the same box, switch selectable?

Charles Murray
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Re: it's a start. Why does anyone need the power?
Charles Murray   2/3/2014 5:58:15 PM
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Good points, William K. I've owned some of those underpowered cars you refer to. I owned a Pinto in the late '70s and was afraid to merge onto the Kennedy Expressway in Chicago with it because it accelerated so slowly.

bobjengr
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MASTER BLASTERS
bobjengr   2/1/2014 1:47:05 PM
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Naperlou, I agree.  The first impression I had from the slide show (excellent by the way) was engine HP.  I think these engine designs are fabulous and exemplify engineering which demonstrates "state-of-the art".  Americans are apparently the only people on the planet inspired by horsepower.  (OK, maybe the Italians.) It will be interesting to see the MPG resulting from these designs and whether or not they meet the CAFE standards required.   

a.saji
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Re: it's a start
a.saji   1/31/2014 9:23:20 PM
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@zippy: Yes they are different and the difference lyes based on their needs. So everyone is different from the other 

William K.
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Re: it's a start. Why does anyone need the power?
William K.   1/31/2014 8:29:50 PM
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N, I consider 250 HP to be a lot, so it must be a matter of perspective. I have driven a much higher car on a few occasions, even a street legal dragster once. Quite an experience, no doubt. I never had any problems but it is clear that with that much power a vehicle could indeed get squrriley. Or at least get sideways really quick.

And while 250 HP is way more than normal driving requires, some of the horribly underpowered cars are simply not able to handle any other situation other then driving down the road at 25MPH. Which, if they stayed on those 25MPH roads would be no problem at all. Unfortunately they don't.

Charles Murray
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Re: it's a start
Charles Murray   1/31/2014 6:18:46 PM
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Shehan, I'm not a big proponent of excessive horsepower myself, so I'm probably the wrong person to ask about this. Automakers have sold horsepower for as long as I can remember, though, so there must be an ongoing market for it.

Zippy
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Re: it's a start
Zippy   1/31/2014 5:57:01 PM
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Shehan, I can't argue with your sensible approach, but I suspect that Corvette buyers have a somewhat different set of priorities.

naperlou
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Re: it's a start. Why does anyone need the power?
naperlou   1/31/2014 5:38:36 PM
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WilliamK, you don't need more that 250HP to do that in any vehicle.  For one thing, if you are not trained and practice the move, you will mess it up most of the time.  Your take on these things echoes the MG slogan of safety fast. 

My father had a 1970 Olds Delta 88.  He had to special order it with a 350CuIn V8 rather than the 455 they normally put in it for the options he had.  The 350 put out 250HP.  The car weighed over 4,000lbs. It had plenty of passing power.  I know, I used it more than once.   I have a 2002 Chrysler 300M.  It has about a 215CuIn engine (3.5L) that also puts out 250HP.  Because it has four valves per cylinder and electronic fuel injection, it is much more responsive.  The car weighs about 3,600lbs and is much more aerodynamic.  It also performs very well and I have no problem when I need to punch it. 

If you are talking boosting very small engines on small cars, you have a point.  On the other hand, those vehicles are meant to be inexpensive to buy and run.  Putting a complex device on them is not a viable solution.

William K.
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Re: it's a start. Why does anyone need the power?
William K.   1/31/2014 3:29:37 PM
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Probably 98% of all driving can be done with a small amount of power, but then there are those times when the only way to avoid disaster is hard acceleration, such as having to get out of a lane that somebody has suddenly stopped in. The other more common need is for merging into high speed traffic when one is behind some fool that stopped on the ramp. The wait for an opening can easily be half an hour on our freeways at some times of the day. So hard acceleration into a smaller opening is the only choice. Probably a venturi supercharger would be adequate, but those are both complex and expensive. Likewise a nitrous oxide injection system. What a lot of people do is just pull out into fast traffic slowly and ignore the hazards that they creat and the collisions that they cause. Not the best choice, by any means.

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