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      06-08-2019, 04:21 PM   #1
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Mid 1970's Vehicles had no performance!

I was watching an episode of Bitchin Rides and they had the iconic smokey and the bandit trans am. This car was promoted as a sports car. It had a huge motor (by todays standards) and rear wheel drive. Not sure about the trans but I'm sure there was manual option available. So this car has a 400 ci motor putting out a whoppin 200 hp and 325 tq!!!!! Wow!!! My 3.0L BMW is rated at 300 HP and 300 Tq. 3.0L is 182 ci which is less than half the size of a 400 ci. I know technology has come a long way but that is ridiculous!!!!
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      06-08-2019, 04:32 PM   #2
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Amazing what computer controls and computer design can do these days.

I actually owned a 1977 Hurst T-top Special Edition TA with the WS6 package which gave you suspension upgrades, 6.6 litre 4 speed with 220hp. Highest HP of the day.

Loved that car.
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      06-08-2019, 05:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jack10525 View Post
I was watching an episode of Bitchin Rides and they had the iconic smokey and the bandit trans am. This car was promoted as a sports car. It had a huge motor (by todays standards) and rear wheel drive. Not sure about the trans but I'm sure there was manual option available. So this car has a 400 ci motor putting out a whoppin 200 hp and 325 tq!!!!! Wow!!! My 3.0L BMW is rated at 300 HP and 300 Tq. 3.0L is 182 ci which is less than half the size of a 400 ci. I know technology has come a long way but that is ridiculous!!!!
It depends on the years you are talking about. In the early 70s, the Trans Am could be had with a 455ci/425hp motor and the 400ci had over 300hp. 1972 brought the first emissions which made drastic changes and by 1974 (with the "gas" crisis) American muscle had been completely emasculated.

As an example, I bought a new 1971 Corvette with the 350ci/330hp motor. In 1972, with smog pumps, etc. that same motor was 350ci/255hp. Another example was the Corvette 454ci motor. In 1970, the 454ci had 460hp, but by 1974 that same motor had 270hp. So things changed drastically.

By comparison though, your 3.0L motor in 1972 had about 176hp. That was the technology then. Comparing your BMW to cars of the 70s is very much apples to oranges.
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      06-08-2019, 05:24 PM   #4
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Ooh Sakhir, the 455SD was an anomaly for the time and a monster to boot. The 455 HO in the 70.5 and 71 were an incredible mill.
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      06-08-2019, 08:26 PM   #5
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Iknorite! Also, check out the mobile phones from the same era! It’s almost like they’re....obsolete by four decades or something...
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      06-08-2019, 09:12 PM   #6
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they were days especially in US that like if you want more power we can give you more displacement for it.. not much efficiency at all.. in recent years it changed.. actually to be exact with C6 ZR1 things started to get better in US..
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      06-08-2019, 11:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jack10525 View Post
I was watching an episode of Bitchin Rides and they had the iconic smokey and the bandit trans am. This car was promoted as a sports car. It had a huge motor (by todays standards) and rear wheel drive. Not sure about the trans but I'm sure there was manual option available. So this car has a 400 ci motor putting out a whoppin 200 hp and 325 tq!!!!! Wow!!! My 3.0L BMW is rated at 300 HP and 300 Tq. 3.0L is 182 ci which is less than half the size of a 400 ci. I know technology has come a long way but that is ridiculous!!!!
Your BMW in the 70s had no raw sexiness, no v8 rumble and no Burt Reynolds. Don't be sacrilegious here.
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      06-09-2019, 12:00 AM   #8
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You do realize that back in the day those were big numbers right? You're comparing a modern day vehicle with all the computers and technology to an old school vehicle with absolutely nothing.

Crazy to see how far things have advanced.
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      06-09-2019, 03:29 AM   #9
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You do realize that back in the day those were big numbers right? You're comparing a modern day vehicle with all the computers and technology to an old school vehicle with absolutely nothing.
actually its not like that.. if you look to European cars you see different numbers.. Google says 400ci is 6.5L.. 200hp..

skipping Ferrari's cause they re purely sports car brand.. like 256 GTO 3L 300hp beginning of 1960's.. Jaguar E-Type's 3.8L has 265 ponies with the almost half the displacement in 1960's.. Aston Martin DB6 less than 4L but had more than 280 ponies in early 1960's again.. Alfa Romeo Montreal had 3.0L engine pushing more than 370 ponies.. in 1970's.. BMW E9 CSL which i love has the same power with 6.5L with a 3.0L engine in early 1970's.. there a lot more examples to share..

as i ve said things changed after C6 ZR1.. and not only package as chassis wise, cornering braking etc and some parts were European.. that now we see such cars like yummy C7 ZR1, Hellcat, Demon with efficient engines..
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      06-09-2019, 04:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yco View Post
they were days especially in US that like if you want more power we can give you more displacement for it.. not much efficiency at all.. in recent years it changed.. actually to be exact with C6 ZR1 things started to get better in US..
I think they did pretty good with the C6Z. I owned one for awhile, and with just a few bolt-ons it made almost 500hp to the wheels. Really raw car they would bite you if not careful.

What trips me out is watching these old shows and the 60's high horsepower big block cars and when they show the rated 0-60 times. I know these cars were heavy, but putting the power down efficiently was always an issue.

Oh....also had a Grand National when I was in my 20's. Just a little bit of upgrades, and that car was fun. So it looks like in the 80's, they figured out that smaller displacement with some "boost" was something that needed exploring.

These days....the "muscle" cars coming out are crazy. Never thought I would see the chasing numbers game again after the mid 70's started.
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      06-09-2019, 06:20 AM   #11
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Without question the imposition of ever stricter emissions standards took its tool on engine performance (both in terms of power output and driveability) with the worst of that period peaking in the late 70s. The first glimmer of hope appeared with Lambda sensors (O2) and 3-way cats, which for BMW were first seen in the 1979 528i.

However, don't forget that older car horsepower figures were all quoted in terms of SAE gross horsepower prior to the 1972 model year (SAE J245). This allowed automakers to measure the highest possible output from a bare engine. They typically had optimized tubular headers into an open exhaust; no air filter but nicely sculpted intake plumbing into the carb; no water pump, no power steering pump, no alternator; ignition timing was free to be set at whatever the automaker desired, etc, etc.

In other words, SAE gross HP was the maximum possible test stand horsepower output without any normal detractors (such as all the above plus mufflers and probably some stuff I'm forgetting).

SAE J1349 was introduced to measure SAE net HP which required the engine to be measured with all accessories, intake and exhaust systems as it would have installed in the car in question - essentially requiring engine output to be measured as it would actually be delivered installed in the car.

Overnight into the 1972 model year, HP ratings plummeted since California required only SAE net HP (J1349) to be used from '72 onward; hence that standard was adopted nationwide. The difference between SAE gross and net is not easily nailed down as one ratio but typically is in the 20-30% range (net lower than gross of course). During the 1971 model year some carmakers quoted both values, so for those models you have a direct comparison, and some were as large as 35% lower between the two ratings.
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      06-09-2019, 06:21 AM   #12
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The Porsche 930-911 Turbo (The Widow Maker) which had everyone scared made about 260HP.....apples and oranges.
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      06-09-2019, 06:57 AM   #13
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To comply with tougher federal exhaust emission standards, manufacturers were forced to lower compression ratios and retard ignition advance. Not only did this kill horsepower, many cars with carbureted engines had pretty poor driveability...especially during warm-up. Back then my 1974 911S 2.7l had only a 8.5 cr and 167-175hp. But its Bosch K jetronic fuel injection made it perform and drive so much smoother than most of what else was being sold.
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      06-09-2019, 08:14 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yco View Post
actually its not like that.. if you look to European cars you see different numbers.. Google says 400ci is 6.5L.. 200hp..

skipping Ferrari's cause they re purely sports car brand.. like 256 GTO 3L 300hp beginning of 1960's.. Jaguar E-Type's 3.8L has 265 ponies with the almost half the displacement in 1960's.. Aston Martin DB6 less than 4L but had more than 280 ponies in early 1960's again.. Alfa Romeo Montreal had 3.0L engine pushing more than 370 ponies.. in 1970's.. BMW E9 CSL which i love has the same power with 6.5L with a 3.0L engine in early 1970's.. there a lot more examples to share..

as i ve said things changed after C6 ZR1.. and not only package as chassis wise, cornering braking etc and some parts were European.. that now we see such cars like yummy C7 ZR1, Hellcat, Demon with efficient engines..
Changed after the C6 ZR1? You’re a bit off base to say it mildly. Granted the Europeans squeezed some decent hp out of smaller plants because it was necessary. Gas was always more expensive on the continent and even more so post WWII, it was therefore a necessity unless one was very wealthy. America didn’t have that concern as fuel was much cheaper. big displacement an torque were the words of the day and we all drove big
Just to point out just one of several flaws in your post, the Alfa you posted you mention was a race version. The street version put down much lower horsepower numbers and the Alfa Montreal for the masses was easily spanked by a Corvette small block of the same vintage. Comparing a race prepared engine to a showroom stock isn’t quite fair regardless of displacement. Thankfully here in the states a bone stock showroom bought C3 Corvette had more power then a factory made race car Alfa did in the same year. Not to even get into a race made Chevy small block.
https://fastestlaps.com/comparisons/3rljrnpjj88n
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      06-09-2019, 08:35 AM   #15
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My 200hp 289 2bbl 1966 Mustang is about as fast as a Prius.
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      06-09-2019, 09:03 AM   #16
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My 200hp 289 2bbl 1966 Mustang is about as fast as a Prius.
Should have not gotten the ‘secretary’ version but instead gotten a 4 Bbl or better yet a K-code. Mustangs for every buyer.
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      06-09-2019, 10:30 AM   #17
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My friend Teo in high school had a '79 Trans AM with the W72 6.6L cowl induction. According to the internet, it was dyno'd back in the day at 260 - 270 HP, but to see the flaps open and the speed generated along with the noise (going through the D Street tunnel in Washington DC) was just glorious.
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      06-09-2019, 10:59 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billnchristy View Post
My 200hp 289 2bbl 1966 Mustang is about as fast as a Prius.
Quote:
Originally Posted by N54Yankee View Post
Should have not gotten the ‘secretary’ version but instead gotten a 4 Bbl or better yet a K-code. Mustangs for every buyer.


My sister had a new 1966 Mustang with the 120hp 200 I6 and an automatic transmission. It was a really pretty car (turquoise w/white interior), but was the slowest car I have ever driven.
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      06-09-2019, 11:14 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rmtt View Post
I think they did pretty good with the C6Z. I owned one for awhile, and with just a few bolt-ons it made almost 500hp to the wheels. Really raw car they would bite you if not careful.

What trips me out is watching these old shows and the 60's high horsepower big block cars and when they show the rated 0-60 times. I know these cars were heavy, but putting the power down efficiently was always an issue.

Oh....also had a Grand National when I was in my 20's. Just a little bit of upgrades, and that car was fun. So it looks like in the 80's, they figured out that smaller displacement with some "boost" was something that needed exploring.

These days....the "muscle" cars coming out are crazy. Never thought I would see the chasing numbers game again after the mid 70's started.
yeah i agree with C6 things changed not only on engine wise handling braking etc also.. one of my friend had a C5 for many years that car was really trying to kill you each time you drive.. C6 is totally a new page at least for me.. and yes Z06 was quite a bargain for such powers but it should be 7 liters.. its quite a lot even for US market.. problem starts with bigger displacements by physics after some point.. friction highly increases and if its not divided into more cylinders.. more weight on internal parts, higher inertia.. thats why 60-70's race cars had more cylinders according to their displacement for higher revs.. never been on SRT10 but been on Z06 and yes big displacements rapid torque is quite sexy..
though im not sure if i want an SRT10 ever.. newer models was i guess 8.3L which is too much and should be around 650hp.. you dont need that much displacement for such powers.. those engines are fantasies in a good way though.. soon we wont see them anymore...

Quote:
Originally Posted by N54Yankee View Post
Changed after the C6 ZR1? You’re a bit off base to say it mildly. Granted the Europeans squeezed some decent hp out of smaller plants because it was necessary. Gas was always more expensive on the continent and even more so post WWII, it was therefore a necessity unless one was very wealthy. America didn’t have that concern as fuel was much cheaper. big displacement an torque were the words of the day and we all drove big
Just to point out just one of several flaws in your post, the Alfa you posted you mention was a race version. The street version put down much lower horsepower numbers and the Alfa Montreal for the masses was easily spanked by a Corvette small block of the same vintage. Comparing a race prepared engine to a showroom stock isn’t quite fair regardless of displacement. Thankfully here in the states a bone stock showroom bought C3 Corvette had more power then a factory made race car Alfa did in the same year. Not to even get into a race made Chevy small block.
https://fastestlaps.com/comparisons/3rljrnpjj88n
yeah numbers can be slightly different cause i didnt google them before posting.. and yes in Europe efficiency was on the table much earlier but for V8 engines especially Merc' has super great engines before and still.. i4 is quite common in Europe however V6 is generally called as an economy car in US.. i realized it quite clear during the time i was staying in LA for 6 months..
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      06-09-2019, 01:31 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yco View Post
yeah i agree with C6 things changed not only on engine wise handling braking etc also.. one of my friend had a C5 for many years that car was really trying to kill you each time you drive.. C6 is totally a new page at least for me.. and yes Z06 was quite a bargain for such powers but it should be 7 liters.. its quite a lot even for US market.. problem starts with bigger displacements by physics after some point.. friction highly increases and if its not divided into more cylinders.. more weight on internal parts, higher inertia.. thats why 60-70's race cars had more cylinders according to their displacement for higher revs.. never been on SRT10 but been on Z06 and yes big displacements rapid torque is quite sexy..
though im not sure if i want an SRT10 ever.. newer models was i guess 8.3L which is too much and should be around 650hp.. you dont need that much displacement for such powers.. those engines are fantasies in a good way though.. soon we wont see them anymore...



yeah numbers can be slightly different cause i didnt google them before posting.. and yes in Europe efficiency was on the table much earlier but for V8 engines especially Merc' has super great engines before and still.. i4 is quite common in Europe however V6 is generally called as an economy car in US.. i realized it quite clear during the time i was staying in LA for 6 months..
You posted the numbers from a factory race platform, i just pointed that out and clarified the numbers so everything is on an even par.
Let’s go back a little further then the C7 and even the C6. The C5 Corvette Z06 and the comparable 911 of the time in a head to head race the American engine would win out. Not a 7L or even a 6L but a 5.7L(350). We could go back to the C4, C3 and C2, American V8’s were not to be trifled with then or now. Things “got better” long before the C6 ZR1.
https://fastestlaps.com/comparisons/9gpllf9na6gu
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      06-09-2019, 02:15 PM   #21
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Agree fully with the title of the thread. I drove a 1977 Olds Cutlass Supreme with a 3.8L V6. Talk about no performance.

Major improvements have been made in the past 40 years, enabling the 0-60 times of today:

- body and chassis weight reduction through high strength steel, aluminum and plastic usage
- engine weight reduction facilitated by higher horsepower per liter per kg of engine weight, enabled by far superior thermodynamic combustion efficiency through stratified charge, direct injection, multiple spark and forced induction
- more efficient (less friction), lighter and faster shifting transmissions
- larger number of gears approximating a CVT keeping the engine in the peak torque/hp rpm range - remember "three on the tree"?
- mastery of emissions and fuel economy regulations and a move away from passive aggressive obedience to the regulations at the expense of vehicle performance
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      06-09-2019, 02:18 PM   #22
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and yet those old 150-200hp cars were likely WAY more visceral, engaging, entertaining, and enjoyable to drive. From a time where driving a car actually meant driving a car and not pressing a bunch of buttons on a computer with 4 wheels. Driving actually took some skill...and some mastery. No 'aids' for everything. No sensors for everything. Basic brakes, basic traction, simple steering, simple engines. No silly computer button suspension.

Going 90mph in one of those cars would be FAR more enjoyable in a current car.
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