24 October 2003
Counting those ponies
At least at the higher end of the market, we're in something of a horsepower war these days, with automakers scrambling to outdo the competition with dazzling numbers. Routine V6 family sedans now pack 200 hp or more; dedicated sports machines can carry 300, 400, sometimes more. Generally, this is a Good Thing too small an engine will be strained, and gas mileage will be as bad, if not worse, than with a bigger mill but while the SAE net horsepower standard is pretty well established in North America, there are a few potential fudge factors baked into it, and a number of automakers have been tripped up when testing revealed fewer horses than advertised.
The proposed new SAE standard will tighten up the specs, and will allow for independent review of horsepower ratings. It's not a cure-all, and there's still going to be no conversion factor between SAE net and the pre-1970s SAE gross rating, but anything that improves the accuracy of automotive specifications gets a smile from me.
Posted at 9:32 AM to Driver's Seat
If we didn't have to go through all this penicular posturing over how powerful a vehicle was, would we be in Iraq? Why isn't Oklahoma completely blanketed in windmill farms? Why didn't Oklahoma City take all that money being thrown down the bricktown money pit, and put it into public education? And if they didn't want to do that, why didn't they just take all that money, buy an assload of white rocks, and place them strategically all over OK, so that when viewed from space, it would read "Texas Sucks!"? Back to cars, what's the difference if you can go 0-60 in 10 seconds or 4? I don't drive 60 anyway, and my message to tailgaters is actively "You know... I *can* drive slower. Check this out."
Let's all get electric flying cars, with autonavigation(that's essential. Picture this: rush hour, yahoos with flying cars, nightmare) and forget about this business with My Car is better than Your Car crap. It beats walking, but that's about it.
(Yeah, I hate driving, and they shouldn't have remade the Beetle into that thing it is today. Not a Thing, which was quite the dapper kubelwagen, but thing, as in Rosie O'Donnell kind of thing)
The difference between zero to sixty in 10 and zero to sixty in 4 is about six seconds and/or sixty thousand dollars.
Admittedly, even 10 seconds is probably unattainable on May or Memorial, at least during daylight.