First They Came for the V8s…

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First they came for the V8s.could have had a V8!

They were common, once. Most cars – ordinary family cars – usually had one under the hood. High school kids drove V8-powered used cars. Anyone Gen X or older will remember.

And then they were gone.

Well, not entirely.

V8s are still around –  but they’re no longer common. They are found under the hoods of expensive luxury cars, mostly.

GM’s Chevrolet division – which once included or at least offered a V8 in almost every car it sold – today offers one in just three models, all of them specialty high-performance cars and only one of them (the Chevy SS sedan) having four doors and the ability to carry more than two people.

The SS stickers for $46,575 to start.

High school kids won’t be driving one anytime soon. Neither will most of their parents.'70 Impala ad

Even Cadillac – GM’s luxury line – which was once defined by its big V8s (bigger than anything you could get in a mere Chevy or Buick) now sells just one passenger car with a V8, the $85k CTS-V.

Now comes the next cleaving.

Just as V8s were purged from the engine compartments of the family sedans and (and station wagons) Gen Xers like me grew up in, so also the V6-powered family cars Millennials grew up riding in are quietly doing the fade-away.

You may have noticed.

Mazda doesn’t even offer a six in its mid-sized family sedan (the Mazda6) or for that matter in any passenger car it currently sells. Most of Hyundai’s current car lineup is four cylinder-only, including its mid-sized family sedan, the Sonata.'70 Caddy ad

V6s are still available in a small (and dwindling) handful of family sedans like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, but they are optional – and expensive. While a four cylinder-powered Camry can be bought for $23,070 – to get one with a V6, the starting price climbs to $31,370. A V6-equipped Honda Accord is slightly more accessible – base price $30,895 (vs. $22,355 for the base Accord with a four cylinder engine).

But $30k in today’s Fed Funy Money has the same buying power as $5k did back in 1970. And back in 1970, five grand was almost enough cash to buy a brand-new Corvette (MSRP $5,192) which was Chevy’s most expensive car at the time – and almost enough to buy two brand-new Chevy Impala full-size family sedans (MSRP $3,021) with V8s in each of them.

Every car Cadillac sold back in 1970 came standard with a V8 – and they did not cost $85k in 1970 dollars, either. The base price of a 1970 Calais sedan, for example, was $5,813 – about $800 less, in today’s worth-less dollars, to about what you’d pay to get your hands on a V6-powered Accord ($4,973 in 1970 dollars).

V6-powered cars are expensive to sell today for the same reason V8s became expensive to sell in the ‘70s.

Mark that. To sell.CAFE graph

Not to build.

There is nothing inherently expensive about either type of engine. In fact, V8s – traditional overhead valve/pushrod V8s – are less expensive to build than modern turbocharged/intercooled (and direct-injected) fours. Just as a V6 without a turbo/intercooler is less expensive to manufacture than the turbo’d/intercooled fours now becoming pretty much standard equipment in every car with a sticker price under $30k.

No, the expense isn’t building them.

It is selling them.

V6s use more fuel than a four – at least on paper (bear with, I’ll get to that). Just as a V8 uses more fuel than a V6. Ordinarily this would matter to the buyer only. But for 40-something years, the government has interposed itself between buyers and the car companies, dictating to them a certain mandatory minimum MPG “fleet average” its cars, taken together, must achieve. If they do not achieve it, the government imposes “gas guzzler” fines, which are passed on to buyers in the form of higher sticker prices.ecoboost

But buyers do not have unlimited means, especially buyers of modest means (that’s middle and working class people). So they don’t buy the cars. Which puts pressure on the car companies to build other cars – that is, cars without bigger engines. Which don’t lower the car company’s “fleet average” MPG – and incur “gas guzzler” penalties.

This is why V8s disappeared as mass-market engines.

And it is why V6s are disappearing today, as mass-market engines.

The original “fleet average” mandatory minimum was just under 20 MPG; this was raised to 27.5 MPG for passenger cars in the ’90s. The current mandatory minimum is 35.5 MPG – and it’s no longer just for passenger cars, either. All vehicles excepting heavy-duty (2500 series and larger pick-up trucks, vans and so on) will henceforth have to meet the mandatory minimum – schedule to almost double from the current standard to 54.5 MPG by 2025 – or the company trying to sell them will be hit with fines, which it must pass on to buyers. Which makes selling its cars tougher, vs. rival brands whose cars are priced lower because they don’t have the gas guzzler fines rolled into their sticker prices.

Just as a fly in the soup ruins dinner, it only take one “gas hog” to hurt a car company’s “fleet average” MPG number. Hence, fewer and fewer “gas hogs,” except as low-volume (and high price) luxury/performance in soup

Which is why Millennials, in their turn, will remember V6s as fondly 20 years from now as Gen Xers lament the dearly departed (for the most part) V8.

PS: The sad thing is that the new crop of micro-sized and heavily turbocharged fours don’t deliver much better mileage in real-world driving than the non-turbocharged V6s they are replacing. On paper – on the government tests that measure MPGs – the fours do better (though not by all that much) because they are set up to do well on the tests. But in the real world, in everyday driving, their actual mileage is often disappointing. Why? Because to get anything out of them, acceleration-wise, it is  usually necessary to wick up the boost  – turbochargers being a replacement for displacement, on demand.

Because the engine is (typically) too small for the car (and its weight), the additional “displacement” provided by turbo boost is often demanded. And a bigger engine – whether in terms of physical displacement (cubic inches or liters, take your pick) or airflow (boost, the turbocharger force-feeding the engine) uses more fuel.

Try it yourself and see.

This is what happens when non-engineer politicians and bureaucrats dictate car design. Rube Goldberg-esque “solutions” to problems that only exist because of the politicians and bureaucrats.

I dunno about you, but I’d rather have a V8.

Or even a V6. depends on you to keep the wheels turning! The control freaks (Clovers) hate us. Goo-guhl blackballed us.

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  1. First off, the comment box at the very bottom sucks.

    Yes, today’s kids don’t know the fun rumble of a V8 like we did. This is evidenced by all the VTEC videos on youtube where they are demonstrating how fast (they think) their car is…”the VTEC just kicked in hold on.” Now that’s LOL stuff there.

    But on a more technical note, squeezing HP and Torque out of less CID is standard practice now, so perhaps the V8 is obsolete one might argue. I, for one, am skeptical about powerplants like the eco boost platform because those high numbers to me do not translate into long life. I saw an Eco 6 Expedition pulling a huge camp trailer and yes, on paper it works out, but I’d like to revisit that same rig in about 3 years and see how the 6 is taking the strain. There is no replacement for displacement unless you are ONLY looking for mpg, am I right or am I right?

    • Hi Mike,

      I agree with you. We won’t know the true story about the durability of these boosted engines until they’ve been in widespread use for at least 10 years. The jury’s out – and I’d rather let someone else take the risk.

      I’ll take the V8!

      • morning eric, Ford is making the 2017 engines with Di And PFI. It appears they’ve already made their decision regarding durability. They aren’t the only maker to address the carbon issue with added PFI. Here we go, more complexity to fix more problems.

        I read last week where a compendium of auto makers said the new CAFE standard won’t be a problem. Look for everyone to have an Elio knock-off I guess.

        Now somebody’s experimenting with fescue grass to produce hydrogen. Look for the corn farmers to change over to fescue. Everything is viable with enough of our tax dollars. Hell, we’ll be a country of George Jetson’s soon. I don’t know how many of those fast stops I can take.

        Several years ago I was speaking to a guy with one of the Kompressor Merc’s. He said it stopped well enough to give him a sore neck.

    • It would be surprising if the new 4 cylinder 2 litre BMW engine did not have a somewhat improved fuel economy, compared to the older 6 cylinder 2.5 litre engine.

      It would be against BMW’s own long term interests in earning money by selling cars, if they actually had replaced an older engine with a newer engine that had a poorer fuel economy that the older one.

      On the other hand, whatever you do there is always a price to pay. The newer more technically complicated engine may be more expensive for the customer to maintain and repair than the simpler older engine.

      • Hi Bjorheim,

        The new engine has a complicated twin-scroll turbo, an intercooler and other peripherals that the older naturally aspirated six didn’t have. Also, the new engine is direct-injected, so it has two fuel pumps.

        The new engine is more expensive to manufacture and so, to sell. It will probably cost more to maintain, too.

        And for what benefit? Even on-paper, the mileage advantage isn’t tremendous. If you factor in the higher cost to manufacture and sell, plus the likely higher maintenance costs, is it really worth it?

        To the buyer, I mean.

        The trend toward smaller/turbocharged engines is not being driven by the market.

        It is being driven by government pressure.

        • eric, let me correct you on a couple points. Twin scroll turbo systems are not complicated, the only difference being that each scroll serves complementary cylinders to avoid problems. The exhaust manifold does have to have the scavenged cylinders separated into one wheel or the other. Compared to a single scroll turbo twin scrolls have some great advantages. The trapped and wasted kinetic exhaust gas energy from poor scavenging and too much reversion also means higher combustion and exhaust gas temperatures, necessitating less aggressive ignition timing and reduced valve overlap as well as richer air/fuel mixtures (and higher NOx emissions)on single wheel turbos so less reversion and better scavenging mean lower combustion and gas temps in the twin scroll.

          As far as fuel pumps on DGI systems are concerned there are basically two types. One uses a high pressure single pump that still operates in a common rail although the rail may be internal. The other type uses a pump/injector combo on each cylinder.

          To combat the carbon problem on valves, BMW once sent advisories to customers to use only the highest detergent/quality pure gasoline in their cars and occasionally use a fuel system cleaner.

          Of course you can’t use pure gasoline where there is none, as in every part of Tx. I’ve been in so that’s out. Andy Granatelli where are you?

          Now some makers are complementing DI with another injector that is aimed at the valves. I haven’t found out how this is working or if it decreases mileage.

          I’ve always used walnut shells to clean my brass since it’s soft enough to not pit but hard enough to clean carbon and now shops are doing that with the valves on cars with carbon build-up and that only costs about $4-500 on most engines. Hey, that’s a goodly amount of fuel ain’t it?

          No matter what is used for fuel in the future there is no “free” anything and that goes for pollution of all sorts. We just have to reach some point between walking because you can’t afford a car, walking because of govt. fatwa’s or continuing to drive and see what happens. We could always go back to shaman medicine(might be good in some ways), dark ages(bleeding) or simply non-skilled people to take care of you. I’m fine with letting all the people who don’t want oil pipelines or oil drilling live in the pre-petroleum world and then we won’t even have to hear from them since no computer has been made yet that didn’t use petroleum in what it’s made from and they won’t survive long.

        • “If you factor in the higher cost to manufacture and sell, plus the likely higher maintenance costs, is it really worth it?”

          “The trend toward smaller/turbocharged engines is not being driven by the market”.

          Eric, I do agree with your statements above. I would be silly if I didn’t. I do not want to pay for repairing a new mechanically and electronically very complex engine out of my own wallet, after the warranty period has expired. Whatever you do there is always a price to pay, one way or another.

        • >On the other hand, whatever you do there is always a price to pay.
          Yes, I already said that:
          The price, of course is increased mechanical, and no doubt electronic. complexity.
          >The newer more technically complicated engine may be more expensive for the customer to maintain and repair than the simpler older engine.
          That is why I *LEASED* the 2013.:)
          The point I was attempting to make was that *despite* the government mandated CAFE standards, BMW managed to produce a *BETTER* *PERFORMING* engine, which, BTW, met gov’t fuel economy requirements.
          The increase in fuel economy was marginal, but the performance improvement was very noticeable, particularly at lower rpm.
          Torque-y or not, the normally aspirated six required changing into “sport” shift patten in order to comfortably merge with high speed traffic (i.e., get on the freeway).
          The staged turbo four had no such restriction. I never once felt the need to change shift pattern to enter freeway traffic.
          The marginal increase in fuel economy was just a bonus…

          • Hi TB,

            “Leasing”… yup. Continuous payments in perpetuity.

            Not me.

            I’d rather have the simpler, thirstier and less powerful engine in a paid-for car I can keep for 15 years or more without it becoming a money pit instead.

            Leasing is for people with money to burn – which isn’t most of us.

            Including me.

  2. Some states are less heinous than others to be sure. I can grok that being a cuck for Norway isn’t so hard at all.

    The state protects and unifies you. It tells you that you must be inclusive. Must help everyone around you without exception. The cuckoldry ideally moves at a glacial pace. If you’re in an invented place that’s better than most. Maybe you even become possessive and protective of your cuckmaster.

    It’s the unseen part of the con that should worry you. You’re lulled into a false sense of security. The biggest con is that war is somehow not part and parcel of whole world nationstate cuck system. They know in advance their system doesn’t deliver as promised. So periodically they declare a period of bloody chaos, just like in the Purge movies, and a few days or years of unbridled animal darwinian struggle is allowed to play out. For them its like a casino. Who is going to win the plunder, place your bets, support your troops you’ve bred and boarded all these years.

    The thing to know is the cuck can always get worse. And generally will. Far far worse.

    If an artificial water shortage is created, as they seem to be doing behind the scenes. That will unlimited unfree consequences. Maybe you’re only allowed to pee once every 8 hours or pay a water tax. One shit a day or pay a waste tax. If you’re drinking and eating excessively, maybe you pay an overage tax. Google has quantum computers that can simulate a hydrogen atom perfectly. Certainly a google toilet will know who is using the toilet and keep a log of them at googleuser . poo.

    With resource rationing, comes population rationing. Maybe you have to sign an agreement not to have sex with your girlfriend unless you use an approved birth control method. Also, its best for the collective if you have sex with an approved mate. And don’t pursue any extracurricular mates.

    Say hello to smartcondoms and smartIUDs and pregnancy hormone regulators that also know who is in the vaginal canal and when. It’s all on the shelf already. They need only make it available for free, make it mandatory, and kill off all the other options like they always do with all of us sucks.

    I don’t say this to be negative or nihilistic. Rather for you to stop being naive and immature about what the nationstate really are. That is not to say that group actions don’t have their place in the world. Only to say the technology already exists for something much more beneficial and self chosen.

    To be against the nationstate doesn’t mean to be for anything else specifically. It doesn’t mean you fight it or proselytize against it even. Only that you understand the difference between forced confusion. And chosen social safety nets that are voluntarily assembled and administered by genuinely fraternal individuals.

    The state is not Santa Claus. No one ever is. Your parents lied and passed on their insanity about him. And also about Jesus and the nation and your cultural heritage. It is misplaced childhood wonder and affection to hold your geographic captors in any kind of esteem. Especially given what murderous debilitating things they would do to you if you ever tried to escape their cults using anything other than one of their approved methods of cuck transfer and immigration protocols.

  3. Japanese cars have *always* been primarily 4 bangers, it doesn’t really work to lament that they’re now 4 bangers. And there were plenty of straight 6s back in the day, even up into the mid 90s. Fuel injection got the Ford 300ci (4.9L) I6 up to a pathetic 145hp. Contrast that with my 20 year old, 200K mi Nissan Maxima with a 3L (183ci) engine gets 28MPG and 190hp. One of the reasons they aren’t making those big engines is they don’t need to in order to make power. The newer Nissan 3.7L makes as much power as the much older SBC 350(5.7L), is much more reliable, and weigh a lot less.

    • Hi Julian,

      Small FWD cars with fours (Japanese and otherwise) were once the minority of cars in the U.S. Most cars on the road in the ’70s and before were RWD and either had or offered a V8.

      It was CAFE (and the manufactured “gas crisis” of the ’70s) that pushed small, FWD (and Japanese) cars to their dominant position.

  4. The good news is that once the government collapses of its own insufferable weight, in the dystopian, post-apocalyptic world that follows, you will see a LOT of restored V8’s and V6’s on the roads, as they will be the ones easiest to maintain, with relatively simple tools. Even a Millennial will be able to learn how, in time…that, and using a clutch.

  5. I can almost be 100% certain that if Ford brought the Ranger back to the U.S., it would have some stupid “ecoboost” 4 banger in it. “No 4.0 V6 for you!” they would say. V8’s are still in trucks thankfully, although Ford has all but killed off the V8 in the F150 (exception being the 5.0, but how much longer will they offer that anyway?).


        • Hi Blank,

          Same here. I wrote him (the author of the ALL CAPS post) and asked that he refrain from doing it in the future, explaining that it renders his posts unreasonable. If he does it again, I might just have to “Clover” him!

          • R A FEIBEL makes Clover look like a competent wordsmith. The shouted stupidity above has set a new low for moronically worthless posts on EPAutos.

            • Hi Me,

              Yeah, agreed. I’ve asked him not to do it again. If he ignores me, I think I’ll just delete future such posts as they add nothing worthwhile to the site and everyone seems to find them annoying.

              Me, too.

          • I mean seriously, who does not know this rule with CAPS. They must do it on purpose just to annoy people.

            Anyway, I am very glad that I bought my 2014 Cayman S when I did. I am shocked that the new ones are 4 pot engines. I don’t care if they are a little faster. They sound like crap and the engine has to work much harder. Looks like I’ll be holding onto mine for many years to come.

            • Hi H Man,

              I think so, too (in re ALL CAPS).

              Great car, by the way. I have a video of me testing a ’14 press car Cayman that will never be made public…

    • RA, you know your stuff but can the all caps. I’m old too and they’re hard to read. I built a 327 with one of the Duntov cams and it was a monster but the weird thing was Chevy had a High Performance cam for that engine that wasn’t in any parts book that bested the Duntov solid lifter cam. I can’t remember the part # but it wasn’t in any GM books and neither were any of the other components except the GM part No. Holley carb and intake. And that 327 would eat 409’s and even 427’s for lunch. It revved so high it would shed the cooling fans off the alternator regularly and ruin the rocker arms and studs but it made so much top end power it simply left everything else in the weeds. There was a lot of hard feelings in the Mopar crowd over that car. How can a 440 high performance tri-power get eaten by a 327 Malibu? It’s just not possible they’d cry when they paid up. Well, boys,cut about half that damned Mopar off and it would outrun that Chevy. Amazing what a half ton less weight will do for performance.

      • Hmmm,dont remember a 230 HP 283(we had 220 HP powerpack 283s,however the boys at school knew the right cam ,I cant recall its moniker (a 350 cam?)The 327s were a rare combo ,hard to grenade and would go like gangbusters.
        Want more class?,Lose the ass,less mass more go,I dont know why this is a mystery to people,Colin Chapman understood this well ,I always like to reverse engineer trucks and see how much deadweight I can do away with without compromising function or strength,I have driven too many that were loaded both ways(empty or loaded-real dogs )
        After a winter spent helping Bubba work on His late seventies model Chevy trucks ,I can say that I am sick of them ,Bubba doesnt quite get the concept of deadweight ,been my stuff ,I would already took the “Fatcat ” and red wrench to these trucks,I have said this before ,”I would sooner lose 300 lbs off my gas powered vehicles then gain 10 HP “.
        Tare weight is expensive ,no one pays you to haul deadweight around .The last few weeks have been pretty miserable in those old non AC trucks,and the current driver is painted dark blue (so no help there ) when I was young I didnt mind ,but the cab thermometer has been saying a 105 degrees in ol’ “Furry Road ” and I finally had to cut the the noisy fan off because it was roasting my neck and head ,nothing like being done all over,eh?Glad I am going to be out of this mess in a few short .
        Back to thje topic ,I think the 327 had a rod length that actually made it safe to live at 7K,grab your “Camel Humps ” boys ,they are getting harder to find,Love to have a 65 Chevelle with a 120 over 283 0r a 365 HP 327 ,let the SBC sing.

          • The short stroke keeps the piston speed down and to the guy that has the 19 mpg Honda,mine always averaged 26mpg, had 2 – 2000 Accords,26 -30 Mpg on those the the 07 civics run around 35 MPG consistently ,My Wifes Element gets 26 and better and yes I know how to check mileage .The V6 SUVs were lucky to get 19 mpg ,the v6 Dakota gets 20 mpg best case and the 99 Frontier gets 19 mpg best cased ,I am not saying your mileage was wrong ,but there must have been something wrong with that 99 Accord,now our older Chevy trucks with the the full time 4wd ,seemed to like to get less then 12 mpg and I am not going to give the real world figure because it will in cense some ,my old 60 model 6 cyl got 15 mpg and both early model ford pickup V8S avg 13 mpg(63 and 73) and my brothers 05 or whatever chevy heavy duty avg 9 mpg(8100 motor ) so one very contributing factor to mileage was weight and tech(I forgot about my 80 model Pinto Pony MPG ,best case 33 mpg,come to think about my my old Fury 3 68 model 440 wedge got maybe 8 MPG(Hell on pinion shafts in the diff though) my other 4 cyl 2 wd trucks all 3 of them avg 26 mpg.

            • My Y2K Chevy Prizm (rebadged Corolla) got between 37-38 mpg. That was with a 45 mile (each way) commute that was 1/2-3/4 highway and 1/4-1/2 ‘shitty’ driving, depending on the day.
              Had about 210k and still running fine when I crunched it.

              • 21 years later and the wife’s 95 Cutlass Supreme SL still gets about 26 in the summer and one or two gallons more in the winter. It got 30 mpg highway years ago with 70 mph PSL.

                It doesn’t have the power of the newer cars and I don’t care. It will get you a speeding ticket in a heartbeat and actually uses that traction control when the pavement isn’t dry when you floor it. So, all that time, over two decades later and what do we have? Cars with less interior room, maybe as good handling simply because of tire size and aggressive spring rates…..and twice the price.

                Reckon those new cars will operate with virtually no parts replacements(cheap parts)for 300,000 miles? Will they survive two deer hits and a 250 lb hog hit to the front and have little body damage? Seems like we’re going backward.

                • Dear 8,

                  “Seems like we’re going backward.”

                  Even the stupidest individual goes forward. Stupid individuals merely go forward at a slower rate than smart individuals.

                  To go backwards requires compulsory collectivization. It requires “strong government” and “determined leaders”.

              • I have a 2001 Prizm that gets 40+ mpg consistently in highway driving, still has less than 100k miles but won’t last too much longer due to all the rust. Around here they put more salt on the road than there is snow sometimes, really does a number on the undercarriage. Great car though, Toyota quality at a Chevy price, too bad they stopped making them in ’02, guess they figured it was more lucrative to sell them as regular Corollas.

          • It has a great deal to do with where the crankshaft is in its rotation to where the piston is in relation in both up and down motion. Something really fine about the 327 and I recently found out the 5.3L(new 327) is almost indestructible in the bottom end. Of course it has a much more robust set of bearings, caps and crank not to mention much better everything from the rod bearing on up. I saw one recently in Hot Rod that was turbo’d and made over 1,000 HP and just kept on keeping on in a Mercury wagon drag car running in the……..”5″‘;s if you can imagine a door slammer doing such.

            We have a company ’06 Chevy ext. cab with a 5.3 and it gets great mileage and runs like a scalded dog. From the looks of it, it hasn’t been an easy life and it won’t be a much longer life if it doesn’t get the top end replaced. It ran like a top when bought. I told the mechanic to be sure and not run the 15W-40 Rotella T he put in everything else. But what do I know? So he did it anyway, right in the hard part of winter and the top end sounds like hell. it’s still running though.

            • I found out a while back not to second guess the manus on the oil viscosity,but Rotella is great stuff and its the cats meow for older engines and those older small engines really do well on it as well.

  7. Speaking of the Olden Times, when I was a Boy Scout in Montana our troop was driven up to Camp Napi (now long gone) just outside of Glacier Park. We stuffed our packs and sleeping bags into a long bed pickup truck and all piled on top of that.

    It was noisy and windy but very scenic and a blast. 99 Bottles of Beer was sung until we got sick of that. There were no speed limits there, then, but no Interstates either, so we drove not too fast. Today this would be, in some eyes, child abuse.

    • I have the same memories, Muggles. And it wasn’t all that long ago. Only about 30 years. That’s how much has changed

  8. I hope I can afford a Hellcat Challenger before they are forced to die. Love them or hate them any real car guy has to give a tip of the hat to Dodge for being the last real hold out for the traditional big American sedan with a big V8 ( even if it is optional).

    Maybe one day my daughter will have memories of riding in the back of my Challenger R/T….which is rapidly becoming an anachronism in its own time. As long as I possibly can I will have a V8…

    Anyway, like I said before there is some vestiges of America left on the roads. IMO this is the best muscle car video on the net, but I am biased (Vanishing Point is one of my favorite movies).

    • Hi Shemp,

      Every time I roll the Trans-Am out of the garage, I feel like I can hear Rush’s Red Barchetta… unfortunately, I have no son or nephew to bequeath it to when my time comes.

  9. “On paper – on the government tests that measure MPGs – the fours do better (though not by all that much) because they are set up to do well on the tests. But in the real world, in everyday driving, their actual mileage is often disappointing. Why? Because to get anything out of them, acceleration-wise, it is usually necessary to wick up the boost – turbochargers being a replacement for displacement, on demand”.

    This is incorrect. Car with less powerful engines consume less fuel. This is statistically proven beyond any doubt. See link to statistiscs at “Sritmonitor”:

    • Hi Bjorheim,

      Did I say less powerful? I said smaller. The turbos act as displacement increasers. They enable a smaller cc engine to produce (on demand) the power of a larger engine. The idea being to save fuel when power is not demanded.

      I wish people could read.

      • Eric, you are right. The german site “spritmonitor” does not plot fuel consumtion compared to the displacement of the engine. It is still quite obvious that a higher displacement engine generally has more power that a smaller dispplacement one. We can thus be certain that fuel consumption also generally increases with displacement.

        I have also read a lot of advertisments from car manufacurers and their statements about how much their cars consume. Generally speaking the higher displacement engines with few exeptions consume more fuel. Here is one example about a quite popular model sold in Norway. A sedan Skoda Octavia with automatic transmission and the smallest one litre petrol engine consumes 0,45 liters of gasoline per 10 kilometers. The same model with a 1.8 litre petrol engine consumes noticeably more; 0,56 liters per 10 kilometers:

        What I have mentioned above is generally always true. There is a valid reason for car manufacturers offering cars with smaller and somewhat less powerful engines. They consume less fuel.

        I have read hundreds of car tests (in Norway) and the journalists very often state this: “We tested the new model with the smallest engine and it appeared to be rather weak and it used relatively much fuel. We thus recommend that you buy this model with a larger and powerful engine, since we believe that the model with a stronger engine would use less fuel, because you would not need to give full throttle so often”.

        Unfortunately these car journalists are wrong in their assessment, since the smaller displacement or weaker engine almost always will consume less fuel.

        • ” There is a valid reason for car manufacturers offering cars with smaller and somewhat less powerful engines. They consume less fuel.”
          You’re missing the point. It is the gunvermin insisting on lower fuel consumption. How is that a valid reason, when it is not what the customer is demanding?

          • However, it’s not the engine displacement that most affects the fuel consumption unless the vehicle idles a lot. Vehicle weight, rolling and wind resistance, and driving habits are what ‘drive’ fuel economy.

          • Car manufacturers have always offered cars with different engines. Less powerful engines and 6 and 4 cylinder engines have for many years been an option for less affluent customers and for customers that prioritize fuel consumption more than acceleration.

            Today manufacturers offer four cylinder engines with a turbocharger as a reasonable compromise between power and fuel consumption. A smaller 4 cylinder engine with a turbocharger consumes somewhat less fuel that a larger displacement 8 cylinder engine, which Eric correctly states in his article.

            I can only add that cars with smaller 4 cylinder engines consume less fuel, not only on paper, but also in real life driving conditions.

            • Hi Bjorheim,

              In re your statement: “…cars with smaller 4 cylinder engines consume less fuel, not only on paper, but also in real life driving conditions.”

              Not necessarily. As discussed, if they are turbocharged they become (effectively) larger engines while on boost. If they are frequently on boost, their mileage will be disappointing. Perhaps slightly better than a naturally aspirated V6 (in the case of a small, turbo four) but only by a few MPG overall. And one must factor in the cost of the turbo/intercooler and related components, both “up front” at purchase time as well as later, when repairs/maintenance are needed.

              The scam being run on buyers is the presentation of mileage numbers that assume very light throttle (to avoid heavy boost) vs. the mileage the engine will actually give in real-world driving if you don’t drive like a Clover!

            • “I can only add that cars with smaller 4 cylinder engines consume less fuel, not only on paper, but also in real life driving conditions.”

              At idle, yes. A personal example illustrating that this is not always (or as I would argue, often) true, for real world driving.

              Was driving a 1998 Toyota Camry LE V6 (3.0L) 4 Speed Auto w/160000 miles: Averaged 21 MPG

              Started driving a 1999 Honda Accord EX I4 (2.3L) 4 Speed Auto w/105000: Averaged 19 MPG

              Same roads, same driver, same gas, same schedule, both maintained at the same shop. Sure it’s not entirely apples to apples. But I’ll never buy a car for fuel economy again. For me, the bigger the better.

            • Hi Bjorheim,
              I suspect that you drive on level and straight roads. My place in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri has roads with lots of sharp curves and steep hills. In Virginia where Eric lives the roads are also on hills, and he wouldn’t have to drive very far north to reach the Appalachian Mountains. In areas like these, the accelerator never stays in the same position for very long. Cars with undersized engines will down-shift 2 or 3 times climbing a hill that cars will properly sized engines would climb with 1 down-shift at most. I have little doubt that cars with turbocharged tiny engines would get better mileage on straight mostly level roads than cars with larger engines would. Many of us do not drive on ideal roads.

              • No, unfortunately Norway is a rocky country and the roads are “hilly”, where you more or less drive uphill half the time and downhill the other half. Also the Norwegian roads are in a poor shape, so there are few opportunities to drive at a constant speed for long.

                Still my experience is that cars with smaller engines consume less fuel than cars with a larger displacement engine. This also corresponds to almost all advertisements from car manufacturers, where their own official consumption figures generally show that larger displacement engines consume more fuel than the exactly the same model with a smaller engine.

                As mentioned before you would actually have to test several different cars with differently sized engines side by side in ordinary traffic and under exactly the same driving conditions, to prove one way or another. This would have to be carried out under controlled scientific conditions. My or somebody’s personal experience with one or a few cars would not be statistically significant enough to document who is right.

                Eric does say that the difference in fuel consumption between a larger simple engine and a smaller turbocharged one, both engines with comparable power, is small. Yet I would presently not agree that the difference in real life is negligible. If this were correct, there would be no sense in car manufacturers actually offering smaller turbocharged engines as a less fuel consuming substitute for simpler and larger engines.

                • “there would be no sense in car manufacturers actually offering smaller turbocharged engines”
                  But that’s the point. It makes no sense, except to the EPA. Like all bureaucracies, their ‘goal in life’ is to expand their domains, and therefore their budgets. Do you think any EPA employees actually care about the environment? Well maybe a few. Most of them just like a well paid gunvermin job with perpetual bennies.

                • “Eric does say that the difference in fuel consumption between a larger simple engine and a smaller turbocharged one, both engines with comparable power, is small. Yet I would presently not agree that the difference in real life is negligible. If this were correct, there would be no sense in car manufacturers actually offering smaller turbocharged engines as a less fuel consuming substitute for simpler and larger engines.”

                  As Phillip explains below, you’ve got the wrong frame here.
                  Let me explain differently: The purpose of the bureaucracy is to “enforce order.” Not to Save Gaia, not to make you “safer,” not to ensure fair play or to create market opportunities….

                  The test is rigged, in effect. Their intent is to make a test that the favored few will accomplish, which is an economic “barrier to entry” for others – ensuring the status quo as long as possible. You see, the status quo is profitable…. For everyone involved! EXCEPT…. YOU!

                  YOU are the person (sheep, not meant as a personal attack, but to frame the analogy) being fleeced – of your hard-earned money.
                  FedGov mandates you use their money, which is backed only by their say-so.
                  FedGov refuses to accept payment from their very own currency, mind (Examples include people arrested for paying taxes in pennies…)
                  FedGov wants to make sure you have no wealth accumulated to pass on. (That’s for Important People, like the ones in upper echelons of FedGov.)
                  FedGov knows you’ll choose to take risks. But risks are disruptive to the fleecing, especially long-term. And they want productive sheep for shearing… Note they have monetized prisons and prison labor…

                  So, let’s talk about FedGov and the Test….
                  Engines can pass the test, sure. Not a problem! And the numbers are arranged so that “size X” under “Simulated Driving conditions Y” is possible – at a cost of $Z thousands (millions) of dollars.
                  Why do you think cars are defined as they are? It’s got to be EXPLICIT from A to Z, you see, or someone “games” the system. (The old concept, still viable, is “designer drugs.” Someone makes a certain chemical structure, it produces a high, people at parties use it, some have bad reactions… Maybe die. So, Drug 1 is now made illegal…. BUT, Mr. Designer makes Drug 2 by tweaking the formula, so the Hydrogen atoms are arranged in a slightly different form… And gets around the ban. Example 2, “Assault Rifles”: Defined by cosmetic features like a bayonet lug, front vertical grip, flash suppressor, detachable magazine. So, the companies make compliant models for legal sale – and FedGov throws a fit, how DARE the companies not just roll over and stop selling effective weapons legally to honest citizens? [Remember, crime is monetized, and the costs of your losses are factored in – especially since crime victims make good press for any politician who’s going to “DO SOMETHING to clean up the streets!”])

                  Let’s note again, it’s a HERD…. The plan of a herd, or school, or flock, or ANY collective is – YOU, the individual, might get eaten by a predator… But the herd/school/flock/collective lives on.
                  YOU don’t matter, “The Common Good” is what matters.

                  Back to cars, and “ORDER UBER ALLES!” So, you’ve been turned into a commodity, but you can still economically go somewhere, get to work, leave the house at your convenience (more risk, you’re not predictable. Also, a risk because you can go as far as you want in short – I.E., hard for them to react – time frames. Also, you might not come back, and cars are still somewhat fungible, you can buy and sell them – change your transport without people realizing it. More risk to them.)

                  So, use the Watermelon “Greenies” and “Mother Gaia” and… Devise a test that can be passed, but at cost to the value (utility, performance) of the car. Established companies have the capital to invest, and the market to make investing viable and even essential. A new player (see Elio ad) has no established base, and has to try and exploit loopholes in the law (like the “gun show loophole” that doesn’t exist; Federal Firearms License needed for dealers, and dealers MUST perform a NICS check. The “loophole” is the private sales area – Cousin Tommy’s gotten old and doesn’t like hunting any more ‘cuz it’s too dang early to get up, so he sells a rifle to someone, legally, without a NICS check – or the federal forms that go with it! So no paper trail or registration. Note that these guns aren’t generally used in crimes anyway, it’s just SCARE tactics. As with the anti-idling laws here in the Communistwealth of Massholetusetts. “Young Lungs at work” signs at the school…)

                  So, established makers with high tax revenues and established market and a test they can pass at cost to you…? And then the test results are “estimated” – notice that. So, if you drive like an octagenarian (Mr. Magoo?) – you might get close to their numbers. If you actually need to drive even the speed limit; if you have corners; lights; need to accelerate (ᴐAM in the rearview is shorthand for, “GTFO, I can’t stop!” Sorry, Eight! 😉 )..
                  You know, ANYTHING LIKE REAL DRIVING?
                  Well, the test only simulates that.

                  You want to have some fun, try a low-level test… Metal pot, you’ll want some lard, and some manganese perchlorate or such. Melt the lard, or get it to liquid state. Dissolve the manganese perchlorate in the liquid lard. Leave it on a stove with the oven cooking, for example, bread. No A/C in the house, mind – we’re dealing with local ambient temperature.
                  At a certain point…. That Perchlorate molecule will come apart. It’s an oxidizer.
                  Did you know fat is a fuel…?
                  Once that decay occurs, you’ll get a nice little flame column out of that pot….

                  Why do I mention this as an example? It happened to Wonder Bread. 50 foot tall column of flames erupted through their manufacturing plant’s ceiling.
                  See, all the simulations? Were fine.
                  But on Day 1 of the ACTUAL USE, they didn’t account for continuous agitation of a fuel/oxidizer mix, and about 5:30-6:00 PM, they performed a static firing of a rocket….

                  And that’s NOT uncommon. You’ve probably done something similar enough…
                  Grabbed a hot pot out of the oven, no mitts? Or maybe used a silicone trivit or such to grab it?
                  Maybe you parked in a bad spot, got hit? Believed the height signs on the highway while driving a truck…. And got stuck? (Common problem here, they re-ave the road, but don’t re-measure – so the truck no longer fits.)

                  Ever stretch a rubber band until it broke? Same deal, all of the same thing. the simulations are GUESSES.
                  And in this case, RIGGED guesses. Like three-card monte. House always wins.

                  That’s what Phillip and Eric are trying to say. When you apply a REAL load to the engine – like, a car? – it doesn’t meet the “estimates.” AND, it doesn’t give you the performance. But it DOES cost you more to own and operate. And insure (insurance cost based on purchase price…)

                  I get better mileage with a 1998 3.8 Liter normally-aspirated V6 Buick LeSabre than with the Kia Soul 4 we have. REGULARLY. And when I press the pedal, the Buick GOES. The Kia? Lugs… Spools… Maybe starts moving.
                  And the WRX I had – a 2.8 (I think) liter turbo H4 – STILL had to wait for the turbo. Could get faster than the Buick, and even got better gas mileage – once – but not as smooth a ride, nor as responsive. Had to ride the clutch, had to spool the turbo, had to be willing to brake HARD. The Buick requires none of that – it’s a little like a battleship, in a sense. The Kia is a landing craft, and the WRX maybe a PT boat…

                  I’ll stick with what works, what’s repairable, and what’s mechanical, because I like to have control over my vehicle. I don’t want someone else telling me what it SHOULD get (by their estimates) and deciding I’m not driving “right” according to them, and then TAXING me on the difference. Since Tax by the Mile driven is already being done (Oregon) – and newer cars have GPS built in? – Well, guess what’s coming?

                  Eventually, the goal is, we all live in Megacity1, with “I AM THE LAW!” Judges dealing with our “infractions.”

                  CCCP, USSR, Next USSA. People not smart, won’t learn the lessons of history…

        • Hi Bjorheim,

          If you look at the hp and torque numbers produced by current small displacement turbo fours, you’ll see they are about the same (and sometimes) greater than the hp and torque produced by larger displacement (but not turbocharged) six cylinder engines. You are correct that, all else being equal, the smaller engine will burn less fuel. But the turbo (boost) un-equalizes this dynamic. Under boost, the small engine becomes (effectively) a larger engine… and burns more fuel. And the “catch” with these small displacement turbo fours is that they are frequently “on boost” – to deliver the power/performance of the larger engine. Unfortunately, this also erodes whatever theoretical fuel efficiency advantage the engine would otherwise have enjoyed.

          I test drive new cars every week – and have been doing so for more than 20 years – and I can personally attest that the fuel economy benefit of the smaller/turbocharged engine vs. the larger/not turbocharged engine is, at best, negligible in real-world driving.

          • Having bought vehicles for fleets I can attest to the myth of higher mileage 4 cylinder vehicles. If you had those engines in vehicles too large and heavy for them, you didn’t get better mileage. For example I bought a handful of the 2.4 liter fours in a Chrysler Voyager minivan 5th generation(they were realllllly cheap). Big mistake! People hated them because they were dead slow, ungodly slow with the a/c on. And they hammered them, and the fuel economy sucked. In some cases worse then the 3.3 liter V6’s in the rest of the fleet. A four cylinder is just too small in any form for the not so mini minivans of today. A V6 is a far better choice of driveability and economy in that type.

            Maybe if they would put a V8 in a minivan it could ditch the grandpa imagine it has.

            • Same thing for big rigs. Somebody who never owned and drove a truck is going for the cheapest truck with the smallest engine and transmission they can get, keep that sucker loaded to 40 tons up and down the highway all the time. You just set the cruise as fast as it will go and make some terrible time and use more fuel doing so. When you can roll down that hill at 80 and get back into it going up the next you’ll find the rig coasting over that hill you’d normally grind up…..slowly. Most owner/operators only drive 70 or a bit more where it’s fairly level bu the up and down terrain is more easily done with less fuel with no speed limiter and a more powerful engine.

              I had a company call me this week for a dry van hauling job. i’ve gone around their trucks like they were tied down for years. I asked if they were all that way. Yep, that’s saving fuel they said. Well, it’s probably saving a bit of fuel but over one driving shift driver has lost over 150 miles that translates into $60-80 per shift. Screw that.

              • It took the cheap ass , micromanaging contractors,40 years to acknowledge that around here,some even wanted the trucks top speed at 65 mph,the wankers never trusted us drivers to be safe (very ,very ,few accidents by the way) the owner operator quarry drivers could get 2-3 loads a day on us easily ,the company owners wouldnt believe that,the unsafe drivers were the ones in the weak slow trucks trying to keep up coming off the hills in gear ranges that werent safe and one other thing the weak trucks worked the daylights out of you trying to make a decent number of trips a day ,I always liked a truck were you could sprint ,when you had a chance ,believe me that adds up over the period of the day.
                Anyway on the subject of the big petrol engines ,I read once that Lincoln was coming out with a 501 ,I guess just for prestige over the Caddys ,but cooler heads or something prevailed and that was apparently shelved.The biggest disappointment lately was the detuned 8100 GMs,I wish they hadnt done the venerable big block that way just to get rid of them,well marketing is as marketing does.
                Keep the commonsense rolling 8.

            • “Maybe if they would put a V8 in a minivan it could ditch the grandpa imagine it has.”
              My wife wishes she still had her mini-van. But then, she is a Grandma. ; )

          • Another caveat of turbos, in order to keep the exhaust temps in check to avoid meltdown, they are programmed to inject a richer fuel mixture under heavy boost making them even less efficient comparatively speaking. Look at the tailpipes of a turbo and you’ll notice how much more carbon is on the exhaust tips.

            • Enriching the fuel mixture isn’t necessary with the correct cooling as witnessed by the new(er)diesels, before DEF. Fast turbo spooldown causes the rich condition and that’s a good thing in some respects, esp, with big rigs running all out. Probably a good thing to some extent on a gasoline engine as long as it doesn’t deliver enough fuel to wash the rings and remove the oil.

              Trucks that aren’t made for low sulphur will last longer since it acts as a lube. It’s easy to tell on diesels, esp. big ones, if they have the DEF and EGR bs or not. When you change gears you’ll see some black soot from the exhaust on the non DEF models. That engine will last longer. I don’t know this from building or designing them but from operating them. When you change gears and let off the go pedal the turbo will spool down faster on the old rigs allowing everything in there to cool for a second or four and that’s a good thing for that engine. The new diesels that you can’t even see any exhaust no matter what or when are running hotter on internal parts. But the new diesels don’t last like the older ones. I recently saw some stuff come apart on a new 550hp Cummins Red Top engine and one reason is more internal parts that wouldn’t be used on the older ones and the increase in temperature every second of its life.

            • Morning, Dr. Otto,

              Yup. Uncle in action… and what happens when (as the car’s systems age) the computer gets lazy or gets it wrong and fails to enrich the A/F ratio at a critical moment…?

          • “I can personally attest that the fuel economy benefit of the smaller/turbocharged engine vs. the larger/not turbocharged engine is, at best, negligible in real-world driving”.

            Anybody attempting to prove the above assessment actually would have to test drive many smaller turbocharged and higher displacement engines side by side in ordinary traffic and they would have to accurately log the fuel consumption. I am not saying that the above statement necessarily is incorrect. I am just saying that this is never proven with scientific and accurate side by side tests in ordinary traffic.

            If the “myth busters” had not already made their last season, I might have suggested for them to verify the general statement from many car journalists, also Norwegian, that smaller turbocharged engines only consume less fuel on paper, and not in real life.

            • I have “actually test driven” hundreds of such cars. I’m telling you what I’ve experienced myself, doing this 20-plus years.

  10. When I lived in Los Angeles in the late 70’s, I bought a used, low-mileage 1967 Dodge Coronet 500 with a V8 (327 cu. in.) engine for a mere $300. It was a great car, in nearly perfect shape, but no one wanted it because it ran at a gas-guzzling 11 miles per gallon. It might be hard to believe, but I didn’t have to do a lot of driving in L.A., so my weekly gas costs weren’t any worse than a typical commuter’s. When I moved away, I reluctantly sold the car — the best I’ve ever owned — for $600. The point is that there was (at least) a (used car) market for gas-guzzlers even during an era of gas shortages; it’s not government’s business to decide what cars are produced — unless a Mussolini is running it.

    • Not to overly nitpick, but that Mopar likely had a 318, as the 327 was the common contemporary Chevy Small block. Almost certainly sucking wind through a Carter BBD carburetor. Seems like your Dodge should have had a major tuneup, or you liked to stomp on the gas pedal. In decent tune, with the mixture properly set for maximum vacuum of about 20 in Hg at the typical idle speed of 650 rpm, and driven sanely, you ought to have gotten 15 mpg out of that mid-sized Mopar.

  11. I’m not saying it’s paradise, but here on the gringo coast of Costa Rica, I have Toyota LC with 2F gas motor, a FJ-40 with a Hilux diesel, all easy to work on, parts are everywhere. My friend Steve is a drunk, but he’s an awesome mechanic for the tech stuff, and I pay him in beer.
    My kids have shoes to play tennis in, that’s the only time they wear them. They ride to the beach hanging on the bumper, when my wife doesn’t know. Kids get to be kids.
    Want to build a bonfire on the beach, and have a kegger? No law against that. What’s the drinking age? $2.
    It’s like America used to be, but never will be again.

    • How did you get in? Looks like my best bet is to invest $150K into a CR bank, and then live there for 7 years before I can be a citizen.

  12. Suzuki and daewoo had one in the Verona and laganza ? for awhile ,the car was very unreliable but the engine ran graet and was very smooth,2.5 I6 ,I believe .

  13. Caddy vs Buick V8 comment / question:

    Growing up, we had had ’76 Buick Estate Wagon, which had a 455.
    Did Caddy really have meaningfully larger V8s on offer across the board than that? (would a 476 really make a diff vs. a 455, in case they had one?)

    That Buick did suffer from your typical 70s GM problems viz reliability, but we loved that car.
    The clam-shell tailgate was such a good feature (both halves electric, not manual tailgate).

    Funny too, the best acceleration would be had when hitting resume on the cruise, for some reason more visceral than flooring the pedal.

    Plus it had real horns, two air spinners.
    (after the car was done, they went into a buddy’s 2000ti, to augment the little bimmer electro-horn… fun every time he honked)

      • Caddy had a 472 from ’68 thru 69 with 10.5:1 CR. The 1970 models had 10:1 and also had the 500 in that CR. In ’71 they all( 472 and 500) dropped to 8.5:1. In ’72 the power was changed from gross to net which caused the latter models to appear to have much less power. In truth, the 8.5:1 only gave up about 35 hp and 15 lb. ft. of torque.

        I briefly worked at a repair center for Holiday Rambler. They had some really large trailers and the Cad’s were favorites among the RV crowd. Ford and Chevy 3/4 T pickups were also favored pulling vehicles with a Perkins diesel conversion. Of course the 454 Chevy didn’t need any help in the power dept. I was headed somewhere in a 454 Chevy 3/4 T pickup one day on wet roads. I punched it at about 50mph and broke the posi rear end loose, did a little high speed squiggly there. I recall smiling.

    • Hi Chris,

      The Buick, Caddy (and Pontiac) big-cube V8s were all torque monsters. They were designed to make a huge amount of low-end torque to move the heavy cars they were typically installed in.

      Only Caddy crested the 8 liter mark – which to give you some sense of scale is about the same size as a current V10 Chrysler engine.

  14. First they came for the V8s, and I didn’t speak up, because I didn’t have a V8. Then they came for the V6s, and I didn’t speak up, because I didn’t have a V6. Then they came for the Diesels, and I didn’t speak up, because I didn’t have a Diesel. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me and my uncertified Vega.

  15. I’m not too stressed about this whole trend…..yet. Truth is, many of these tiny turbo fours are a lot faster than the garden variety V-8s your ancestors drove in the 1960s and 1970s. Some are almost as fast as the higher performance V-8s of that era.

    Yeah, they’re are more complex, costly and “maybe” less durable. But under conditions that the average driver can duplicate, if they choose, the mpg are better. Nothing wrong with that.

    What worries me is that at some point, the extreme fed mileage mandates will force engines to become not only more complex etc, but also less powerful and slower.

    Engine wise, Right Now is the Golden Era. Monster V-8s in Mustangs and Camaros provide exoticar performance with upper middle class affordability (even if there are fewer middle class Americans left.) 300+ bhp V-6s everywhere. Sub compacts with turbo fours that go 0-60 in under 5.5 seconds. I salute them all!

    • I think a lot of people are stressed simply because of the price of autos. Nothing like not being able to work on one too. No, nothing wrong with better mileage but when you will never recover the cost of that car that makes that mileage, there’s a big problem. Early 90’s vehicles were bulletproof and easy to fix and cheap to fix. In the name of that very elusive gain in mpg they’ve become computers with wheels and throw-away parts…..really expensive parts. Roll me a 93′ Chevy one ton 4WD diesel or gas pickup off the assembly line and I’d be proud to pay that cost. I look under the hood of new pickups and don’t know what I’m looking at not to mention the huge wiring harnesses that are rapidly becoming bluetooth and we all know how well those electronics hold up to ideal conditions much less what they’ll have to endure in an automotive situation. What was the matter with a throttle cable? It weighed a tiny amount more than those bluetooth transmitters and receivers and never wore out. How do you fix a transmission that won’t go into gear or shift properly on the side of the road when there’s only RF signals between the shifter and the transmission? I dunno and neither does 99.99999% of the owners. The days of reaching underneath and knocking the shifter lever into the right spot is over. Too complex, too expensive.

      • Eight,

        I’m pretty handy with a wrench, but I have to agree with you. No distributor caps, dual overhead cam, high pressure injection, etc., etc.

        It’s bullshit on stilts.

      • Dear 8,


        KISS! Keep It Simple, Stupid!

        The engineers know this. It’s the commissars that don’t, and don’t care. All they care about is being obeyed.

        The problem was never at any time a technological problem. It was always a problem with power and its abuse.

        • Yep. The more complex you make something the more (and more expensive) failures you will have. As I see it, the only way to get real reliability and repairability is to get an older (70s) car and rebuild the engine the way you want it and tell the gummint to get fugged.

      • I like to listen to auto fix-it shows, as they never fail to dismay with what can go wrong with our “computers on wheels.” Everything interconnected and damnably expensive; a problem with the digital radio can interfere with the power windows; there are body modules and front modules and blah blah blah.

        Annoyingly enough much of this complexity is not government-mandated, but consumer driven. People like their gadgets and are willing to pay handsomely for them. Reliability problems down the road? No sweat. They’ll just roll their present car’s value into a new one, even if it means large monthly payments the rest of their lives.

        • Hi Ross,

          That’s true – about the debt-driven lust for “gadgets.” If people bought what they could afford – as opposed to what they can borrow – it’d be harder for Uncle to mandate things, too.

        • How about my ’97 GTI. The sunroof motor crapped out (faulty design that was later given a TSB) and the car wouldn’t run…the sunroof was part of the anti-theft system. After owning 12 I swore I’d never by a VW again.

          OBD1 was more than enough.

          • “When the low mileage lease is 30 months” – but what if the low mileage lease won’t work for you? My commute is over 20K/year, w/o any ‘extra’ driving. Been averaging close to 30K. I don’t think I’m ‘ideal lease material.’

      • So bad that I did something I swore I would never do. I bought an extended warranty from Ford. I look at the complexity and impossible-to-service-by-owner characteristics of my wheels and caved. That “Powered by Microsoft” tag was the “feature” that pushed me over the edge. We got in the darned thing one morning last winter and the dual-control HVAC was set at 0 degrees F. Not on “Lo” as when set to Max Air, but 0. Both sides. And it was serious about it. It was warm enough outside for the compressor to run and it was getting COLD! It took me about 5 minutes to “touch” enough stuff on the screen to find a solution. And it was certainly not obvious. Even the old Microsoft song of “Did you unplug it and reboot?” did not work.

        I guess my 61 year old box wrenches won’t be getting any rounder.

        A tip if you also cave to the warranty trap: At least for Ford, shop on-line. There are several Ford dealerships selling them at significant discounts. Then take the price to your local dealer. The “list” price of around $2400 for 5 extra years and 100,000 miles went to just over $1200 when I showed him the on-line quotes. I still feel stupid, but after spending $900 to replace the fuel pump on my F-150 with 40,000 miles on it, I just chickened out.

    • Mike Pizzo: agree, I have a Hyundai 4 cyl. 185 hp Tuscon (my third Tucson) and air cond. doesn’t drag on engine either like older four’s and 6’s when the compressor ran. Good on gas. Newer cars must burn top tier detergent gas for performance.

      • Hi Laura,

        Part of the reason for this is more efficient compressors. My ’76 Trans Am has a huge (and very heavy) AC compressor that takes a lot of power to operate. Luckily, the 455 it’s attached to makes plenty of power! 🙂

  16. The feds are playing the blame game for “climate change” and other bullshit. Meanwhile, China, at this very moment, has a huge amount of refined fuel they’re unloading at US refineries at bargain basement prices(nobody will say). Tankers are backed up everywhere. Iran is selling crude for next to nothing.

    But meanwhile, Texans are still drilling wells and there’s 3 new one not 20 miles from me that are flowing. One can flow 800 bbls. a day but they’re all choked back to 80 bbls/day and so far(8 months into it)their pressure hasn’t moved.

    We’re being screwed, blued and tattoed so some new companies owned by the so-called progressives can make money. Keystone pipeline is one of the safest ways to move oil but BO and Co. won’t allow it. Time for Trump.

  17. I’m 42 now. I doubt any car bought by my folks before 1983 or so, contained anything BUT a V8 engine. Even an “economy” car like my dad’s Ford Maverick had a V8 under the hood. But even the Maverick was a sign of the time, most came with a V6.

    My first car had a V8, a small block Chevy. I loved that car (well most of the time). I hope I can afford a Hemi powered Charger before those go away.

    • I don’t remember that Ford ever put a V-6 in the Maverick. Maybe, I did have a 2.8 in my 74 ‘Mustang II.” But most of them, as BrentP noted elsewhere, were straight 6, 170, 200 or 250 cid.

    • Mavericks came with a base Inline 6 and the first one or two optional engines (depending on year) were also inline sixes. This is how cars had been set up since the 1940s or even 1930s. Base cars got inline 6s. Even the first corvette came with an inline 6.

      An inline 6 is wonderful engine configuration. Smooth, low end torque. Ford of Australia until they stop building their own models will have one in their Falcon.

      Ford did try to bring back the inline 6 mounted transversely. A system they called T-drive. Test mule Tempo where the power was taken off the crank in the center.

      • Dear Brent,

        A coworker friend of mine back in the mid 70s had a basic long bed Chevy pickup with a straight 6 and 3 speed column shifter.

        I forget the price now, but at the time I remember it was very reasonably priced. If I could buy one of those now, I would.

        Those were the days, when you could choose on your own initiative to step down from a V8 to a big inline 6 and still have torque to spare.

      • Brent, I was looking at The Maverick Page. They had some great paint names.

        Anti-Establish Mint, Hulla Blue, Original Cinnamon, Freudian Gilt,
        Thanks Vermillion, Candyapple Red, Black Jade, Champagne Gold,
        Gulfstream Aqua, Meadowlark Yellow, Brittany Blue, Lime Gold,
        Dresden Blue, Raven Black, Wimbledon White and then their Grabber colors: Brite Yellow, Grabber Yellow, Vermilion,
        Grabber Green, Grabber Blue

      • BrentP, I’ve seen those Ford inline 6s here in Oz. My son has 1. All the gear that breaks down is at the front of the motor, and to repair one item the front of the motor has to be dissected piece by piece. And to be safe the radiator must come out as all the repairable parts sit so close to the rad.
        I have a Holden which has the 3.8 L V6. So much easier to work on. The Camry V6 I have on my other car is also quite difficult to service. I’ll take a V6 RWD over any other configuration any day. Much easier to service and maintain.

        • That’s just a question of packaging. I think if I removed the fan I could stand between the front of the 250cid six and the radiator in my Maverick. It would be tight but I think my legs would fit without the fan there.

          A rear wheel drive V6 has more access than the V8 being smaller and put in the same spot the V8 was meant to fit in. If there isn’t a V8 option that space would go away and it would be like working on the V8. However a V6 transversely in FWD application is going to be a pain in the ass by its very nature.

  18. Feel free to correct me if I’m not remembering this properly, but the Ford F-150 came about because it was enough bigger (heavier, or some such) than the F-100 to be exempt from the original CAFE standard. The 2 co-existed for a few years, then the F-100 disappeared.
    Does this mean the F-150 will soon be disappearing also, and only ‘3/4 T’ and bigger full size pickups available?

    • PtB, I doubt 1/2 T pickups will go away. Make em out of aluminum and use tiny engines and they’ll still sell for awhile. I’d bet pickups will take a shot in numbers produced fairly quickly though. Back in the 80’s there were years you could only get a 307 in a GM unless you opted for the 3/4 T. I couldn’t understand how or why they’d make the 307 with it’s lack of water passages and sorry heads when they had a 305 that got better mileage. I’m sure there was a reason, corporate profits, just like the 82 3/4 T 4WD I have that came with a 6.2 diesel and a damned car type rear-end that didn’t last till the weather got hot. Swapped in a one ton out of a crew cab and no problems from there on out. GM has a lot, just like Ford to be ashamed about pickup wise. My front hubs had a good 150K or more miles on them and stripped out one day pulling a big trailer out of a canyon. Turns out they all did that eventually. What was hard to believe was the maybe 1/16″ that the teeth overlapped when engaged. If they’d have gone all the way in no telling how long they’d have lasted but that was the first year of the auto-lock front hubs. I replaced them with some manual lockers and all was fine. One thing I learned was to adjust your bearings when you changed brake pads and stuff like that wouldn’t happen, at least on the manual hubs.

      Of course nearly everybody back then just swapped in a bigger small-block and ran the whee out of them on the half tons. Used 400’s got to be hard to find.

      The reason Ford didn’t have to use such a small engine is because they had the tiny cheap car they sold millions of to offset the pickups. I don’t know if that will be the way the makers will get by in the future. After all, it is corporate average. How many cars that get 80 mpg will they have to sell to offset the average mileage of their pickup line? I don’t look forward to it. It seems everyone with a Focus runs well below the speed limit and that really sucks for truckers.

      • I don’t doubt there will always be a market for ‘1/2 T’ pickups, but will they be full size, or compact?

        • Tacomas, Colorado’s will be the new 1/2 ton trucks. Every full size pickup will be badged 2500 or higher.

          Ford has put themselves–because of uncle–in a quandry by living and dying by the F150. They will have to downsize it–obviously they don’t want to for fear of losing sales and bragging rights, why they don’t produce a midsize truck–and still use aluminum if they want to compete with their rivals. GM and Toyota are positioned well to pick up the slack.

          I think Ford may start banding F150’s as 250 and keep 350 and up for their HD trucks. We shall find out in a few years I guess.

    • F-100 ended up as a bare bones work truck as the 1970s wore on, it was low price bait for bringing in customers who ended up buying a F-150 loaded with various levels of creature comforts. The budget F-100 moniker vanished when the Ranger name moved from being a submodel of the F-150 to being a wholly new low priced compact size truck.

  19. The first to vanish was the inline six. The once standard engine in just about everything. That was the first to go. Packing they said. Front wheel drive they said. CAFE played its role as well because the shorter hoods and front wheel drive were to achieve the CAFE standards. So they disappeared forever in the early years of CAFE. Left only in BMWs, Jaguars, and trucks.

    • The Jag engine was sweet. A friend bought a sedan in the mid-eighties….a very nice car even then. Of course it didn’t take much to beat that ’82 Biarritz 8 6 4 he had before. He had a nice 80 model 280 SL but his new wife didn’t care for it cause of the kiddies. I’d have bought a used Blazer with rubber floor mats to haul that bunch in and kept the Merc. They trashed whatever they rode in.

      A friend of a friend showed up at our house one day in his regular cab pickup with his very small kids in back just like the pasture dog. It was only about 100 in the shade and the back of the truck was just painted steel but they were quite happy looking. I think the kids were tougher than the dog though. They’d run around in solid grassburrs with no shoes(they had no shoes, why waste money when they didn’t know the difference was their parent’s philosophy I suppose). They’d run through the pasture over mesquite thorns and cactus and never stop laughing. They’d load up faster than a dog too and drink like one too if they got offered anything. That’s one way to raise bullet-proof kids.

      • Your stories crack me up. And make me nostalgic for the ’70s. I just had a flashback of me and my sister and brother riding loose in the back of my parents’ 1970 Ford Country Squire station wagon (with the simulated wood, of course).

        No seat belts, no car seats, just kids having fun. We all survived, by the way.

        Huge, comfortable and naturally it had a nice 351 in it. Ultimate grocery getter and tow vehicle!

        • I got hauled around in a pickup bed as a kid too but I had shoes and they didn’t put me back there by myself when I was 5. I think we had to be about 7 to ride in the back unattended. But back in the 50’s everybody rode in the back and thought nothing of it…..except for the women who mostly sat in front. Even in the 70’s crew when you could get a crewcab few bought them cause the crews rode in the back and cops didn’t stop you and hassle you drinking your beer on the way in. Times have certainly changed. We’ve had our entire lives changed just to accommodate insurance companies.

          • Pickup? We don’t need no steenkin’ pickup. I used to ride on the back of the stake rack flatbed with the milk cans when we visited Grandpa’s dairy farm. At home, Dad had a Ranch Wagon (2-door SW) and he put an old buggy seat in the back for us to sit on. Wasn’t even fastened down, let alone belted.

          • I remember taking a trip to the Pittsburgh airport to pick up the costumes for the musical in the school’s cargo van. There were 3 of us, and I rode on a kitchen chair in the back. The director (a teacher) was driving. We made a game of seeing how far forward I would slide when he hit the brakes. If there were an office chair available I would have used it instead.

            I’m sure if the principal knew about it there would have been consequences, but I’ll bet he didn’t want to know either.

            • We used to do crazy stuff with school vehicles. Coach that taught us driver’s ed would just turn us loose when he visited another coach in a different town.

              Our ag teacher was cool. We go somewhere in a school bus for judging contests and he’d decide to rid back with some other ag teacher who would take him home. He’d tell us to be careful taking the school bus back. We’d have the side door open, the back door open and do anything we could think of to have a laugh. Went through road construction once and tried to flip every cone we passed. We’d tear off through the country on dirt roads just for the hell of it. At least there wasn’t anything inside them to tear up and school buses were tough back then. Got one stuck once and a farmer pulled us out with his tractor. You could tell he didn’t give a shit and nothing was ever heard from it. Try traveling in a school bus with a student driving now…..they’d call in swat teams.

        • My kids ages, 6, 3, 1 will have those memories. They ride loose in the back of my 05 Denali.

          My siblings and I all rode lose in the back of a 79 Cordoba and later, an 84 Suburban with a 6.2 diesel up until the early 90’s.

          I can’t get nostalgic for the 70’s since I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, but I would have fit right in in the 70’s.

          • Illinois just made leaving a 13 year old home alone illegal.
            riding in the back of pickup, at least for kids, has been illegal for many years.

            • Hell. I watched my baby sister when I was 9. My kids get baby sat by an 11 year old neighbor girl. She is great. I guess I’d be in prison if I lived in Illinois.

    • Indeed!

      And the inline 6 was considered so much better than the V6 version. Just think of all those great BMW engines…

    • The real reason for the whole-hog switch to front wheel drive wasn’t efficiency, it was cost. Standard RWD cars have more external moving parts and require more handwork to get the driveshafts and differentials to fit just right. This all takes time and money to assemble. A FWD setup can preassemble the engine, transmission and CV joints and just slap it in as the unitbody comes down the assembly line; very little handfitting reqired. Pickup trucks still use RWD for a good reason – much more towing capacity than a FWD setup. The old wives tale of how FWD “handles better in snow and ice” is mostly bullshit. How well a car handles in those conditions is mostly a function of driver skill, not which propulsion setup the car uses. As Eric points out, it’s all about costs and bureaucratic regulations and not at all about what the consumer actually wants.


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