Posts from ‘Engines’
I’ve never heard it suggested that the Cadillac HT4100 V8 engine was flawed because it was rushed into production, but there is evidence to indicate that that was indeed the case.
If you don’t remember the HT4100, you’re not alone. As a result of the powerplant’s flaws (more on those in a moment) Cadillac marketing folks dropped the HT moniker after a few years, leaving subsequent updated versions of the engine unbranded.
Car and truck engines are designed in a relatively small number of cylinder configurations. Inline 4-cylinder and V6 engines are easily the most common, with V8 mills coming in third in popularity.
It’s all about the launch.
That was the lesson we learned when Dodge invited a group of journalists up to US 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan, to pilot its new Challenger SRT Demon down a gen-u-ine drag strip – complete with burn-out box, gooey starting-line surface, staging lights, and a full quarter-mile run. The real deal. Personally, it was the first time I’d ever driven a car on a drag strip … at least, one that didn’t have center stripes and a grossly ignored speed-limit sign (don’t tell the feds). We also learned that getting the launch right is not nearly as easy as one might think.
It will come as no surprise to you that cars have gotten heavier as of late. There’s good reason for that. Things like side-impact protection, rollover protection, crush zones, and designed-in protections against partial-offset collisions (and other specific impacts studied by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) all add considerable bulk to a given vehicle. Power-to-weight ratio.
By the end of the Seventies, it seemed as if the marketing types at Chrysler had given up worrying about protecting legacy brands. In 1978, for example, the company rolled out a small, Mitsubishi-built 4-cylinder Dodge coupe, which the company rather thoughtlessly dubbed Challenger.
Americans tend to enjoy their engine cylinder counts in even numbers. Engines of 4-, 6-, and 8 cylinders have powered an overwhelmingly large majority of the vehicles ever sold in the U.S, and for good reason.
Car-guy discussions regarding automotive downsizing usually center on styling. I have done my share of kvetching about how a few model lines that were “resized” in the late Seventies and early Eighties came off looking like caricatures of the cars they replaced.
Big is a relative term. In regards to American passenger-car engines, “big” in the early Seventies meant 460 cubic inches from Ford; 440 cubic inches from Chrysler; and 454, 455, and even 500 cubic inches from General Motors.
Direct injection is a form of fuel injection that is gaining popularity as auto manufacturers work to improve fuel economy. Direct injection’s primary benefit is improved engine efficiency. A common secondary benefit of direct injection is the ability to use regular-grade gasoline in engines that might otherwise require more-expensive premium fuel.