Posts from ‘Fastest’
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.
Statisticians refer to groups of similar-value data points as clusters. In fact, there is a field of study known as cluster analysis, which looks to identify common threads linking cluster elements to each other.
We’ve been using the word fastest to describe the best-performing rides tested by Consumer Guide in the past. The word we really should be using is quickest. Technically, a fast car has an impressive top speed, and without a test track, and situated in the Chicago suburbs, top speed was never a metric CG attempted to measure.
Our 1973 list of fastest cars is very different from our 1972 list. The primary reason for the disparity has to do with the variety of vehicles tested by Consumer Guide in the early Seventies.
Fast is a relative term. For 2017, there are a number of vehicles that will make the mad dash from a dead stop to 60 mph in three seconds or less. Count the Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Ferrari 488 GTB, and Porsche 911 Turbo among them.
From page 3 of Consumer Guide: Auto Test ’72:
The general auto-buying public is still intent on knowing “how does it run?” And that is what this 1972 Road Test issue of CONSUMER GUIDE is all about. So if you are in the market for a brand new 1972 model, and you want to know how it handles on the highways, how it rates for fuel economy, roominess, quietness, ride or brakes, you have come to the right place.
Depending on who defines it, the automotive “malaise era”—the period of time during which vehicle performance declined steeply, mostly as a result of emissions issues—ended in the early Eighties. That said, what was considered quick by 1983 standards seems pretty quaint today.
Here’s an eye-opening then-and-now comparison for you. The 1981 Lincoln lineup’s sole engine choice was Ford’s corporate 5.0-liter V8. In Lincoln trim, it produced a tepid 130 horsepower, and in the Town Car, it returned a leisurely 14.9 second 0-60 time. Fast-forward 35 years, and Lincoln’s largest sedan, the MKS, scoots to 60 mph in just over five seconds when equipped with the available 365-horsepower 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6.
In today’s media-saturated world, it can be especially difficult for automakers to grab the attention of new-car buyers. Traditional advertising can’t always break through the clutter, so some manufacturers have taken to creating soft-sell “lifestyle events” to showcase their products. Buick is one such manufacturer. With its annual Discovery Tour, the venerable GM division is attempting to connect with potential buyers via their taste buds.