Here's a picture of something close to what my Plymouth Road Runner looked like. It is the exact same green color, but this is the GTX version of that Plymouth only this one had a 440 cubic inch engine.
I thought I died and went to heaven when dad said OK to me putting every penny I had down (about $500.00) with him being my bank for the balance of the $2,800. purchase. I was sure I died and went to heaven when I first had a chance to drive this beast with the tires smoking and that engine barking. It was fast! But how fast?
Now, as then one of the primary performance measures is a car's quarter mile time. Well, lets take a look at a number of the hottest muscle cars from that era.
Fast Cars of the Past:
Car Model Horsepower Standing start 1/4 Mile Time Speed
Plymouth GTX 375 HP 14.96 Seconds 96.98 MPH
Pontiac GTO 360 " 15.13 " 99.49 "
Chevy SS 396 375 " 15.28 " 92.00 "
Dodge R/T 375 " 15.33 " 92.68 "
Olds 442 360 " 15.48 " 91.37 "
Ford GTA 335 " 15.94 " 91.46 "
Buick GS 340 " 15.58 " 90.36 "
(Source - Motor Trend Road Test Issue June 1967)
Admittedly, these cars were much heavier than the average sporty sedan of today and horsepower figures back then were not as reliable as we would like for a comparison test, but overall this is as close as we will get when comparing these to cars of today. Also note the observed miles per gallon average for all the above as a group- 11.3 miles per gallon.
FIFTY YEARS LATER:
So here we go with some of the sporty sedans on the market today. When looking at the numbers, the good old days were not as good when it came to fast cars. You will be surprised to learn that what we have available today in the category of fast is really fast when looking back at these ' Muscle' cars! Next, let's take a look at a new generation of fast sedan sized cars.
I thought I died and went to heaven when I test drove an Alfa Romeo Giulia- and now I own one:
The New Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti with Sport Package
Fast Cars of Today: (Note- all are 2.0 liter inline 4 cylinder models)
Car Model (2017) Horsepower Standing Start 1/4 Mile Speed
Alfa Romeo Giulia 280 HP 13.6 Seconds 103.7 MPH
Audi A4 2.0T 252 HP 13.7 " 100.4 "
Cadillac ATS 2.0T 272 HP 14.2 " 98.3 "
Jaguar XE 25t 240 HP 15.0 " 94.0 "
Lexis 200t F Sport 241 HP 15.4 " 89.9 "
Mercedes-Benz C300 241 HP 14.5 " 96.1 "
(Source Motor Trend 2017)
So based on the above, we are seeing a new golden age of performance vehicles! For the majority of us who operate in the $50,000. and under market, these are the new Muscle Cars! In addition the observed miles per gallon for this group is 23/32/26. Taking the city driving average for a fair comparison since these were speed runs the new breed bettered the old by 10 miles per gallon which is astounding considering they are faster.
It is on to Watkins Glen for the IMSA 6 Hours at the Glen June 30- July 2. Can't wait to get some great pictures for all of you! Paul Ziegler, Editor/ Publisher