By on August 30, 2012

I’m still making my way through the tome that is the CAFE regulations, but Sergio Marchionne already know what’s up – maybe all that time he saves by not picking out his outfit each day has something to do with it.

The Chrysler CEO was characteristically blunt with his assessment of CAFE. Going forward, V8 engines (erroneously described as “supercharged Hemis” in certain major outlets) will be “rare as white flies”. Marchionne also delivered more prophetic broad strokes, stating CAFE will “will change the way this industry operates” and that “Everything is on the table…” when it comes to the next generation of cars.

I’m not entirely convinced. Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics put it best when describing to NBC how he envisioned the changes that CAFE will bring. According to him, the automobile

“…will change less than anybody imagines – but more than anyone wants…They will find a lot of new ways to do things.”

At the height of the oil-crisis, when muscle cars were thought to be dinosaurs on the verge of extinction, who would have thought that the 2012 Corvette Z06, with a big-block V8 would retun 15/24 mpg city highway, or that today’s crop of V6-powered pickups would lose nothing to their 8-cylinder brethren in terms of power or towing? There are multiple arguments for or against CAFE – like many of life’s important issues, it’s not entirely black and white.

As far as I’m concerned, more efficient engines, in the abstract, are always a good thing. I take a cornucopian view with respect to automotive technology – whether it’s more efficient powertrains or lighter vehicles (which needs to be the next breakthrough if we’re going to make any gains) will allow us to enjoy a future of motoring that will, like Jim Hall says, change less than anybody will imagine – and hopefully less than any of us want.

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103 Comments on “Marchionne: V8 Muscle Cars To Be “Rare As White Flies” Under CAFE...”


  • avatar
    Robstar

    I think there are 2 things to work out here:

    1) If v8′s become rare(er) than they are now with CAFE regs? There is always new technology on the horizon or combinations with other techs, as well as “workarounds”.

    How about a viper with a v8, battery & diesel combo? (volt-style)

    How about a V8 viper that comes with 2 sonics for free (Just build them into the cost of the viper)….

    On the other hand, do people care if V8′s go away if the super charged/turbo’d/di’d V6′s replace them?

    • 0 avatar
      Norm McAverage

      I agree, and I don’t think the new tech needs to be complicated.

      What about a ‘hybrid ‘cruise control’ only? Electric drive only in 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th gears?

      Smallest electric motor possible replacing the starter motor and alternator, and combining those functions with cruise control.

      Much lighter than an ‘acceleratory hybrid’. No big electric motor or permanent battery packs like on a Prius.

      Make battery packs removable for track use. Leave them next to the toolboxes in the pit lane.

      ALL cars technically could have this setup. There’s no reason we need an alternator and starter on modern cars when brushless A/C units could do that work for similar weight, and also kick in again when the engine is running at a fast idle (cruising the highway).

      I think it could literally save the V8.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      People don’t care how many cylinders they have so long as the engine produces the power & torque they want.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Maybe he is talking about the new 6.2 liter engines when he says supercharged.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    While I can’t parse out V8 models, Chevy and Ford have each sold more than twice as many Camaros and Mustangs as Dodge has sold Challengers. I appreciate Sergio’s passion and penchant for colorful analogies as always, but his two American rivals stand to lose more than he does. Yet I don’t hear any complaints from Akerson or Mulally thus far…

  • avatar
    PintoFan

    They already are “as rare as white flies.” How many V8 Chargers do you think Chrysler sells for every V6 family/fleet model? Similarly, are V8 Camaros and Mustangs anything more than a minority of total units sold?

    In any case, the near-religious attachment to cylinder number is getting more than a little annoying. Woe be unto the man who challenges the wisdom of stuffing ever bigger engines into cars, even when it’s not entirely clear that those powerplants serve any meaningful purpose.

    • 0 avatar
      Robstar

      I see charger R/T’s EVERYWHERE in chicago. Aren’t those all Hemi V8′s? I could be mistaken, but I thought so.

      On top of that, Regular is up to $4.79 in some parts of Chicago & premium is at $4.99 or higher at about a dozen stations…

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        Yep, R/Ts are Hemi V8′s, as are 300C’s, and of course, Challenger R/Ts. I don’t understand why gas is so high in Chicago, but 212 miles away in Toledo, it’s 3.95 for regular.

    • 0 avatar
      morbo

      You will pry my V8 HEMI from my 300C from my cold, dead, bloodoil stained hands.

      Seriously though, Having owned Ford, GMC, and Chrysler V8s for nearly 20 years now, with a smattering of Ford, Pontiac, and Mitsu V6s, plus untold 4-bangers from Avis from every non-Honda manufacturer out there, I’ll hang onto my V8. Even with all the modern embellishments, nothing is as smooth and effortlessly powerfull as a V8. It’s like the hand of God is pushing the car when I accelerate. My 4,000lb 210HP/220lbft torque V8 TBird felt far stronger then my friends 3,500lb 270HP/270+lbft torque Acura TL. Until a V6 can emualte that, no deal.

      At least as long as gas is under $8/gal. That’s my breakpoint

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        Any number of turbo charged engines will produce the high torque at low rpm feel of a big displacement V-8. The Acura is a poor comparison, because Honda engines seem always to be set up to not generate peak torque at low rpms.

        And, BTW, don’t get into an argument with a new V-6 Mustang: even with an automatic, it will give your hemi more than a good race . . . and deliver 30 mpg on the highway the rest of the time.

        I had an ’87 Mustang GT with the 5 liter engine. It pulled like a train until 4000 rpm . . . above that it was mostly noise. The 92 SHO that I bought to replace it, especially after some modest changes to the exhaust and induction, would suck the doors off the 5.0 after the first 30 feet, of course its engine was still pulling hard at the 7,000 rpm redline.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        “nothing is as smooth and effortlessly powerfull as a V8″

        Except an inline 6 or a V12, and where are those today?

        The biggest knock on the V8 configuration is that, in regards to size and power, it’s outgrown its usefulness. The vast majority of the new car market is for vehicles with 150-350hp. Is there any V8 sold in the US under 350 hp?

        You could build smaller-displacement V8s to get power outputs in that range, but the size and mechanical inefficiencies compared to similar displacement in 4 or 6 cylinders makes that an undesirable approach.

    • 0 avatar
      loj

      Absolutely agreed. The “No way does an N cylinder belong in an X” argument is tiring. Doing more with fewer cylinders is a more interesting engineering exercise anyway. I’d like to see a turbo 4 cylinder Mustang again. Heck, knock a little more weight off of it and offer an NA 4 cylinder as a base engine again. NOTHING wrong with a 200 horsepower RWD pony car that gets close to 40 mpg.

      Likewise, the 2 cylinder turbo Fiat 500 is absolutely fascinating.

      • 0 avatar
        DinosaurWine

        “Doing more with fewer cylinders is a more interesting engineering exercise anyway.”

        While I agree with your first point, most Americans rightfully couldn’t care less if their car is an “interesting engineering exercise,” they want something that is affordable and reliable and won’t cost a fortune to own. Nobody is going to be wowed if their car is dead on the side of the road or when they need $4500 worth of new turbos and high pressure fuel pumps.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheeljack

        “Nobody is going to be wowed if their car is dead on the side of the road or when they need $4500 worth of new turbos and high pressure fuel pumps.”

        +1

        This is why I own two Jeeps with low-tech inline-sixes. Fuel injection and distributorless ignition is all the more tech I’m looking for in my engine. Reliability and ease of repair are of paramount importance to me – much higher on the list than “high tech” and whether or not it impresses someone.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    It is surprising that FIAT’s chairman, whose company has a lineup of small and efficient engines, is whining about a 6+ liter engine.

    His other statement “….CAFE will change how the industry operates….” is prepostperous. The incresed oil prices due to the appetite of China, India and other developing countries has already changed how the industry operates. Adapt or become extinct, Sergio!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I agree adapt or become extinct, but a third option for the West as a whole is to reduce competition for demand through economic warfare.

    • 0 avatar
      jimboy

      Where do you see him whining? He made a simple statement of fact. Legislators are forcing every car maker to downsize displacement of it’s engines in order to meet ever more stringent (and stupid, IMO) mileage requirements.

      In their wisdom they have already moved drivers out of their full-size cars into SUV’s and pick-up’s. That was really clever wasn’t it – I’m SURE that those big body on frame trucks get MUCH better mileage than the cars they replaced!
      (and BTW, trucks are not subject to the same CAFE restrictions as cars, so the regulators have actually moved us BACKWARDS in the search for political correctness)

      I am the proud owner of one of those V-8 automobiles, and I’ll be buried with it rather than buy a ‘smart’ car. Some of us actually carry people and stuff in their vehicles and require something with some utility, but not an SUV/Pickup. I will continue to buy large, V-8 equipped automobiles as long as they are still available.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    Wouldn’t the market dictate some of this? I mean, if CAFE keeps new cars from having v-8′s, then the folks that want them will be buying used, rebuilding what they have, I’ll bet there’s enough Ford and Chevy engines to last for years. And if the demand is there, the big 2 could build and sell crate engines like they do now, except for more $ due to demand. When the 1.2 liter super charged, twin turbo, hybrid, diesel, costs $45K in something like a
    Focus, then you’ll see most people driving around in “old” cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Robstar

      People may laugh at this statement, but in Brazil (when shopping for a car), I believe the fiat punto now has a 1.4L turbo that puts out 152 hp…..for just under $30k USD.

      However, there aren’t any “older” big engine cars for cheap that I know about there.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I have to agree, you will see the used car market simply skyrocket. I read an article on ZH talking about the future of the automobile and in it there was a very interesting chart which displayed North American automobile sales from 2004 to 2010, with future projections. Auto sales were on a gradual curve upward until a peak in 2007 of 17 million units. In 2008/2009 the numbers dropped to around 12.5 million units and were projected to hover between 12.5 and 13 million per year. Personally I see this number dropping even more as time goes on, and by 2017 or so the last large glut of used cars turns ten years old. If you factor in growing anti-automobile regulations and international pressures such as oil, you will have a large number of people seeking to significantly extend the lives of their existing vehicles, because they will *have* too.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      I agree that this may happen for the 1%? of the buying population that care enough to go to that trouble. The rest of us will buy whatever suits us from what is available on the showroom floor.

  • avatar
    Freddy M

    Perhaps it’s a bit of hyperbole on Sergio’s part. I’m sure there’s some truth if you consider large displacement naturally aspirated V8s. But looking at BMW and a lot of others, a smaller turbo V8 isn’t entirely out of the question.

    And as Derek said, we may be surprised by the innovation that the car companies will introduce given the new constraints. As a species we’re comfortable with the familiar, and naturally view any significant change as something negative and frightening. But there are always possibilities.

    Most of my friends, upon hearing that the next-gen NSX would be a hybrid immediately condemned it, thinking Prius. But I implored them to take a look at the info on it one more time because I’m personally excited by it. The hybrid power train was meant for performance with fuel economy as a secondary effect. Sometimes radical change can be good.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    V8s would be that rare if gas was taxed at a higher level instead of using CAFE also. Look at Europe.

    The problem with a high CAFE is that it is going to hurt things like RWD offerings and manual transmission offerings.

    • 0 avatar
      Robstar

      Aren’t high gas tax countries typically filled with manual transmission cars?

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        That’s my point. I’m still confident that a manual transmission can be as efficient as the best auto if driven by a good driver with the goal of maximizing mileage. All while being more fun.

        But automatics are easier to game for CAFE, so CAFE weighs in favor of automatics over manuals. In many current cars the automatic has a higher mileage rating than the manual transmission version.

        With high gas tax drivers still choose manuals, as Europe demonstrates, but with CAFE, if the automatic can be gamed to deliver higher mileage, in the test, than the manual, there is an incentive for the manufacturer to drop the manual.

        Same with RWD. Many Europeans have RWD cars despite high gas taxes. However, with CAFE the slightly lower mileage of a RWD car creates a strong incentive to go FWD across the board instead.

        This is why it is better to tax gasoline at a level that internalizes its externalities, instead of perverting the market with the supply side CAFE rules.

    • 0 avatar
      schmitt trigger

      Please correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t a manual transmission (for the same amount of gears) more efficient than its automatic counterpart?

      • 0 avatar
        200k-min

        The old paradigm that manual is more efficient, aka, returns better MPG’s doesn’t apply anymore, so I’m told. Notice that hybrids rarely have manuals.

        I’m no engineer but computer controlled transmissions with multiple gears are just far better at shifting than any human could ever be expected to do. That wasn’t always true.

        From my own personal experice people that drive manuals, myself included, tend to run the RPM’s up higher than necessary. That burns gas…but tends to make driving more spirited.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        Not really. If by automatic transmission, you mean one that does not use a torque converter (or even one that does, but locks up very quickly). The reason is that the electronics which control the transmission can optimize shifts for maximum fuel economy in a way that a driver cannot.

        I just spent a week on vacation with a ’12 Mustang V-6, which has a 6-speed torque converter automatic. In some portions of my trip (driving on 2-lanes at speeds under 60 mph) I achieved 31.6 mpg . . . and without hypermiling or doing anything other than driving as I usually do. This is because, under normal acceleration the transmission doesn’t let the engine spin much over 2k rpm and is quite happy to lug the engine at 1200 rpm. Yet, if you kick it, the transmission drops several gears and when the engine spins up to 3.5 – 4k rpm, the car definitely hauls ass.

        Of course, it is much more fun to drive a stick, but I was pretty impressed by the engine/drivetrain combination in that car. It was quick when it needed to be, and stingy with the fuel the rest of the time — carrying me, a passenger and a trunk full of luggage.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        The manual is more efficient, if it has the same gear ratios. These days, most automatics are geared taller than the manual option, so they run lower revs at any given speed and gear.

      • 0 avatar
        MeaCulpa

        In testing cycles: no
        In reality: Most of the times if you include modern DSG,CVT,etc
        In reality: Always better than the conventional auto.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “V8s would be that rare if gas was taxed at a higher level instead of using CAFE also. Look at Europe”

      Europe’s economic model is NOT one to emulate as evidenced by the last few years, generally we in the US should be doing just the opposite.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        So the US shouldn’t be emulating the Eurozone’s budget cuts and fiscal austerity programs?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        …with multiple bailouts for numerous countries and debt to gdps ratios well beyond 100%… austerity is simply smoke and mirrors…

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        You do know that Germany is part of Europe, and has high gas taxes, correct?

        And that the BRIC countries, which you probably do think should be emulated, are all more socialist than the US, with more government interference in people’s lives?

      • 0 avatar
        MeaCulpa

        One does not have to emulate an economic model to tax gas. One could also argue that some of the democratic and industrialized worlds healthiest economies are members of the EU.

        “…with multiple bailouts for numerous countries and debt to gdps ratios well beyond 100%… austerity is simply smoke and mirrors…”

        You are aware that the US has a debt to gdp ratio exceeding 100%? And that the EU as a whole has a debt to gdp ratio under 90%? And that all EU and European countries except four has a lower debt to gdp ratio then the US?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        If you look at some of the most economically successful parts of the world, look to the enormous growth of Hong Kong and Singapore from 1950 to 2000. This was accomplished with an economic model the opposite of the socialist models of Europe.

        Unsustainable debt, excessive taxes, and daunting gov’t overhead stifle growth and curtail freedoms, period.

      • 0 avatar
        MeaCulpa

        @28-Cars-Later

        So your argument is basically what? At first high debt to gdp ratio was an indication of the weakness of the European system, when it turns out that your preconceptions wasn’t correct you drop that ball like a hot cake and jump to something-something-asian-city-states, all that goal post moving must be back braking.

        You do know that Singapore has: a high debt to gdp ratio, a government that owns a bunch of companies (including some US ports) competing with private enterprise, a government that takes a very hands on approach in producing and allocating housing, publicly founded healthcare and higher education. Yes totally different from Europe, But you’re right people do become a lot freer due to the low tax principle the country operates on (One could argue that letting the Government run a lot of businesses is a form of taxation, but lets not go there) therefore the people of Singapore can enjoy: some of the least free journalists in the developed world, a country that is not considered fully democratic, some of the most intrusive governments vis-a-vis citizens privacy and to top it of the country is pretty much the fiefdom of the Lee family. But don’t count on any Singaporeans agreeing on this, they would be breaching the law if they did.

        But all in all it’s a nice place, sort of a Glenn Beck dreamland, low tax fascism. You should go visit it, I did.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        @MeaCulpa. I am not economist, nor am I any kind of anthropologist or politician so my knowledge on such subjects is admittedly not perhaps as deep as yours. I’ve been to Europe and I see what has gone on there, in addition to being bombarded by it on the news. I don’t believe socialism of any kind can really work in the long run, I think its a flawed system… not to mention the EU is simply madness where unelected bureaucrats appoint themselves as dictators. Europe and the West in general produce few products of any real value compared to the East and until industrial production returns, there is little hope for a bright future. Constantly issuing bonds to the Chinese and frequently inflating the fiat currency is not a valid economic model. After all its the people who create wealth, given the freedom.

        If you are interested in the subject, I suggest an informative documentary called “Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story”. The last few segments talk about the Hong Kong economic miracle from the 1960s to 2010.

        youtube.com/watch?v=7gd6-zfeeaM

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Further evidence of the decline of Western civilization.

  • avatar
    dave504

    “2012 Corvette Z06, with a big-block V8″

    All GM LSx engines are small blocks, and the last passenger car to get a big block rolled off the line in the 70′s. It amazes me how little you know about cars, but it is very telling where your outdated perceptions about GM come from.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      Right. I think that some of the misunderstanding comes from the LS-7 which, at 427 cubic inches, could confuse the under-educated. That and that the LS engines don’t have the classic siamesed exhaust for the middle cylinders which makes them look more like a rat motor than a mouse motor.

      LS engines are marvels of cheap, reliable power. Hang a cheap Chinese turbo on a junkyard unit out of a Suburban and they routinely make 700HP as proven by Hot Rod’s tests a year or two back. The bottom end of stock truck motors can handle a hell of lot of power.

    • 0 avatar
      iainthornton

      I think that people confuse great swept volume with ‘big block’…..

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      I think that is an easy mistake to make. I though the conventional wisdom was that greater than 350cu = big block but it sounds like that is not the case?

      Can you guys explain to the uninitiated what constitutes a big vs small block these days? Is the LS7 just a stroked and bored version of the current GM small block?

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        The terms Small Block and Big Block are most tied to Chevrolet’s V8s. Their first V8 introduced in ’55 was complemented with a completely different and larger engine,the 348 that grew into a 409, if memory serves, and the original engine became the “Small Block” at that time. Big Block was not widely used for the 409 style engines, though that was a bit before my time, but is generally associated with a series of splayed valve larger engines beginning with the 396 and still produced for aftermarket use up to 572 CI today. Virtually none of the parts have been interchangeable between Chevy small blocks and big blocks, which are wider, longer, taller and heavier than the small blocks. These terms have been used for Chrysler Engines as well. At Oldsmobile, we only had one block in a short deck: 260-307-330-350-403CI and a long deck:400-425-455 CI. Length, cam design and other details were the same. Some use big and small block for Olds V8s today, though it is less appropriate. That is likely true for others: Pontiac-Buick… beyond my knowledge bank.

        The GM LS series V8 is still referred to as a Small Block as GM’s attempt to create an engine brand, a la Hemi. All LS series engines are exactly the same in all external dimensions from 4.8L to 7.0L, though the W car 5.3L may be a bit shorter.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheeljack

        I’d imagine the W-car engine length is a function of the front cover and accessory arrangement, rather than the block itself.

        I’m a bit of an old Bronco buff (1966-1977) and most people don’t realize that the 302 was quite a tight fit (lengthwise) in the Bronco engine bay. It required a complete redesign of the front cover, fuel pump, fuel pump eccentric, crank damper/pulley and water pump, not to mention all the other accesory mounting brackets.

      • 0 avatar
        outback_ute

        The definition I read years ago was a big block is anything with a bore spacing of greater than 4.5″ – mind you the figure is not firm in my mind.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @wheeljack- you are right. Bore spacing and deck height is common for all LS based engines, including the FWD W application.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    The market will take care of all of this, well and the government too. Some very serious and pious government spokesperson will come out and say: “V-8′s adversely effect the lives of gay baby whales and will be heavily taxed.” The government will dictate you will have to sell this many 4 cylinder engines for every V-8 you sell or you will be fined. The car makers will figure out what the fine is and charge that much for each and every V-8 they sell. Politicians of all stripes will take credit for this environmentally friendly tax. The owners of the V-8s will smile as they drive down the road.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    Since we’re talking V8s here, has anyone looked at the 0-60 times of the Tesla Model S? Four seconds? Full torque at zero RPM? Hey, I love V8s. I’ve owned more than my share. But, frankly, electric drivertrains look like the enthusiast’s car of the future.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      Yup- the instant torque off the line and the snap throttle response is something the gas engine can never match. That is the future and we’re all better for it.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      Yeah, that’s an impressive car in many ways. It makes me wonder what one of the traditional manufacturers could have accomplished had they decided to go that route.

      If I lived in Cali, was planning to spend 80k on a car I would definitely consider it.

  • avatar
    Sam P

    Who cares about the death of V8s when a V6 Mustang gets 31 mpg highway and will run with a previous-generation V8 Mustang?

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      It’s just a symbolic thing that people cling to instead of worrying about real issues like whether they can afford to send their kids to college.

      • 0 avatar
        chuckrs

        racer-esq

        Relax. Nobody can afford to send their kids to college. Many villains here: government, thru increasingly generous grants and loans that set a moving floor on the amount of money that can be stripped from parents and students themselves, colleges that do just that and have also larded up their employment with administrators and overseers who provide no useful services to their customers, parents that expect their kids to have access to an expensively built four year day spa environment, popular perception that everybody should go to college, and kids themselves who get degrees that, while interesting, afford them no realistic possibility to repay the loans incurred.

        Bitter much? Actually, I just made my last tuition payment a few weeks ago. So I’m relieved much. Older kid has a job and younger will be a nurse – at least two long standing job offers with no looking on her part. Neither has student debt. So, both will be able to afford cars. Geez, I did have to somehow tie this back to things automotive….

      • 0 avatar
        chuckrs

        Oh and for the hell of it, something that is more relevant today than when I read it 20+ years ago. A Man from Mars’ perception of the purpose of US colleges and universities, ranked in order of importance based on observation.

        1)grow endowment beyond all reasonable measure (see richest schools)
        2)collect more money from alumni for endowment
        3)provide and profit from farm teams for the NFL and NBA
        4)provide labs for the propeller heads so they can develop patentable IP for the school – and get grant money the administrators can skim to support themselves
        5)run a grad student slave market to get the work done in the labs and reward them with certification after they’ve put in their time
        6)provide a little undergrad instruction on the side, but usually not by the rainmakers and luminaries

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        Not bitter. No kids, and don’t foresee any issues with college when I do have them. I just see this V8 talk as the kind of thing that riles people up that should be more concerned with other issues – I threw out college as an example. People are apoplectically claiming that this is a sign of the demise of western civilization.

        I agree that big issues causing the college cost example that I cited are the completely stupid loan system (which just encourages price gouging by universities) and the proliferation of administrators.

        Congrats on the nurse. RN? Ka-ching. Have them buy a Hemi Challenger so that Marchionne can sleep a bit better. Better yet a Viper, we need to save the V10s.

      • 0 avatar
        chuckrs

        racer-esq

        the ‘bitter much’ was self referential

        The (BsN) nurse is more interested in a stylish car – likes Audis. Son has a weakness for Caddys – with V8s.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    I would far prefer to see the v8 die because it didn’t sell than have it mandated out of existence by CAFE. Call me old fashioned but I don’t care much for the government micromanagement of our lives.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      The good old “don’t tell me what to do” instinct that particularly plagues americans.
      Actually the government hasn’t mandated any v8′s out of existence. The CAFE standard is just an incentive. A car maker could choose to ignore the standard and just pay the gas guzzler tax. And lots of european carmakers have done exactly that for years.
      So you will certainly still have v8 powered Mercedes and Aston Martin and Ferraris and the like.

      • 0 avatar
        DinosaurWine

        “Actually the government hasn’t mandated any v8′s out of existence. The CAFE standard is just an incentive. A car maker could choose to ignore the standard and just pay the gas guzzler tax. And lots of european carmakers have done exactly that for years.”

        No, the government has not mandated them out of existence, but they plan on taxing (by “incentives,” as you would call them) them out of existence.

        Yes, the euro marques still make V8 engines, but they are far out of reach of most Americans whereas a new V8 Mustang is still affordable.

        Frankly, I don’t really care if my car is laden with the latest efficiency technology, I care that it is reliable, affordable, and fun to drive in that order. I don’t want to have to drive a two-cylinder Fiat to save $500 a year on gas.

        Also, I have a bad feeling this is going to get automakers to shove new technology out the door before it’s ready for prime time. It seems that the new crop of turbo/DI engines has not been without its issues; the multiple HPFP replacements on BMW’s N54 engine, the sludging and carbon buildup on VAG engines, and the intercooler condensation issues with the F150′s EcoBoost engine all come to mind.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    I just have a vision of me opening a garage, pulling a tarp off some dusty old piece of steel and introducing some future grand nephew/niece to the “last of the V-8 Interceptors” ala Mad Max.

    • 0 avatar
      MeaCulpa

      Well friend then you’ll better head of to the nearest police auction for some panther lovi’n.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “I just have a vision of me opening a garage, pulling a tarp off some dusty old piece of steel and introducing some future grand nephew/niece to the “last of the V-8 Interceptors” ala Mad Max.”

      I remember watching a movie similar to what you describe as a kid. The premise was a future United States where combustion engines were outlawed. An intrepid soul does what you suggest and starts a cross country journey.

      The government, perplexed, angered and fearful this might encourage others dispatches a long retired, crusty ex-fighter pilot in an F-86 Sabre to “shoot him down”.

      I kinda forgot how it ends.

      • 0 avatar
        CougarXR7

        The movie you’re referring to is “The Last Chase” starring Lee Majors as a former race driver turned teacher who takes the journey. Still mourning the death of his family in a mysterious epidemic years earlier, he and a misfit teenager set off together in search of freedom.

        At the end, he makes it to California- the last “free” place in the country. The fighter pilot was Burgess Meredith, who sacrficed himself to save Majors by crashing his plane into a government ray gun dispatched to kill Majors.

  • avatar
    ajla

    If I may be insufferable for a moment:

    The LS7 used in the Z06 is not a big-block.

    There is also no inherent discrimination about a six-cylinder in a truck. The AMC I6, the Ford I6, and GMC V6 all are considered best of breed for their respective companies and matched (or outdid) the basic V8 offereing of the time. The usual misgivings people have with the current EB F-150 have to do with it’s potential longevity issues and poor V8-level fuel economy when towing/hauling.

  • avatar
    patman

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • avatar
    -Cole-

    I think because ICE engines are such a ridiculously antiquated concept that the majority of cars under the new CAFE rules will not see the light of day.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Schwartz

      Compared to what?

      • 0 avatar
        icemilkcoffee

        Compared to electric motors.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “Compared to electric motors.”

        Doubtful this will ever become to fruition in the mainstream. I personally forecast a near-collapse of Western civilization at some point from now until 2030, and all of the electric cars will become paper weights after an EMP is invariably set off. We may not literally see Mad Max but I could see conventional automobiles (esp the Flex Fuel variety) becoming very valuable as people attempt to synthesize their own fuel and rebuild.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Just because it is a V8 doesn’t mean the displacement has to over 4.7L,

    A 3.5-4.0L super/turbo charged V8 would be perfect under the hood of a Charger or Challenger.

  • avatar
    raph

    I say good, I got my V8 musclecar and when they go extinct( fingers crossed) I’ll be able to cash in on so old rich fat cats nostalgia

  • avatar
    nikita

    Good Lord. GM had a turbocharged 3.5 liter all-aluminum V-8 in production 50 years ago. A more modern platform with modern electronics, including cylinder deactivation, and you have it. There is some weight and friction penalty, but you get the sound and prestige of eight cylinders. Im not talking mainstream sedans, but luxury/sport cars for this type of engine.

  • avatar
    deanst

    I do wonder what is to stop a manufacturer from selling a muscle car with a disposable 3 or 4 cylinder engine and make a v8 “available” as a separate purchase. Similarly, what about programming the various software in a car for purely reasons of high fuel economy, but then make a free software upgrade available. I think we will see a lot of games like this as the standards get stricter.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @deanst- manufacturers must certify powertrains to comply with all standards under penalty of $35,000 fine (2008 dollas, if memory serves) for each non-comlying vehicle shipped to dealers.

      If you want to do an engine swap on a new car, it may be your (very expensive) choice, but that would likely be illegal in a number of states, and it would certainly be illegal for a manuacturer or dealer to participate in the swap.

      The new CAFE regulations, promulgated by unelected bureaucrats as has been pointed out elsewhere, will be very expensive and dramatically limit consumer choice. At least with a gas tax, the preferred approach to encourage more fuel efficiency in most nations, consumers who want to spent the money on a gas guzzler may still do so.

      It will be very interesting to see how the premium Germans respond to the end of the so-called “German Exemption” in the CAFE rules that cut slack to BMW, MB and Audi with no similar break for Cadillac, Lincoln, or Chrysler.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “German Exemption” What exemption? Please explain.

      • 0 avatar
        icemilkcoffee

        What German exemption? Many of the european carmakers have been paying the gas guzzler tax for years precisely because they fail to meet the CAFE fleet average.

        CAFE standards have been around for 35 years. It hasn’t increased car prices one bit. In any event- even with the new standard, we will just be matching what the europeans and japanese have TODAY. It’s not like any kind of unavailable cutting-edge technology is required.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        i was aware they paid a fine, but I was not aware there was ‘slack’ cut to the Germans with none being given to the domestics, as Doc Olds alluded. I would assume the domestics could pay the same fines if they decided to build real cars again.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Schwartz

      Or sell you a disposable city car with each real car. Real basic, plastic side windows like the original mini. Thus averaging out at the target for a mere 10K$ extra. Don’t want to drive it? Sell it used to an exporter for 5K$. The big V8 thus becomes a 5K$ accessory.

      • 0 avatar
        Herm

        The disposable car would be required to have the same “footprint” to offset the mileage of the V8 powered car.. you would not be able to pair it with a Spark lets say. The bureaucrats know all the tricks.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Pick-up trucks?

    Diesels!

    Muscle cars?

    Aluminum + forced air

    next question?

  • avatar
    MarkP

    Exactly who do you think cares about losing a few V-8 engines? The same people who ask for manual transmission and then don’t buy them. Sure, there are some cars sold with V-8 engines, and I suspect there will continue to be some. But, as has already been mentioned, if a V-6 does the job, who’s counting cyclinders? The car makers could introduce a new model, the “Vee-8″, with a big V-8 on the engine cover and a six-cylinder engine underneath, where no one ever looks.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    @28-cars-later
    There is a special exemption that was planned for our CAFE Regulation, delaying compliance with CAFE for car makers who sell luxury models: BMW, M-B, & Audi,perhaps miniscule Jaguar are the intended beneficiaries. http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/f12/exemption-cafe-low-volume-manufacturers-proposed-82348/

    The rationale for the delayed compliance requirement appears to be that these brands do not have small, high fuel efficiency models. I wonder if it has to do with bureaucrats own desire to have access to these brands. Some of them make an awful lot of money and none of them are elected!

    Now, If this exemption is not in the final rule, I will be happy to be enlightened with the truth.

    As for fines, the management of publicly held companies, in particular, have fiduicary obligation not to break the law. Failure to comply with CAFE is a violation of law. Gas guzzler taxes, on the other hand, have been considered fees rather than fines, though GM initially limited its competitiveness with a committment to build no gas guzzlers as if it were a fine. A distinction without a whole lot of difference outside the legal perspective. Several foreign brands apparently have no such constraint, paying CAFE fines for years now.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    The new approach to CAFE is founded on a philosophical view that CO2 is a harmful emission, as HC, CO2, & NOX have been for many years. Vehicles may not be sold without compliance with these emissions requirements. I believe the new approach to CAFE is founded on the same idea and is a “MUST Comply”, rather than a “Choose to pay fines” issue.

    CAFE fines, levied against carmakers for failing to achieve fleet average fuel economy regulations have always been different than gas guzzler taxes, which are paid by the ultimate consumer. Fundamentally different things.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      If the carmakers are paying fines while staying in business, then it is ultimately the consumers that are picking up the cost of the fines. CO2 is an appeal to ignorance. If the concept was expressed as what it really means, which is a limitation on human activity placed by ecofascists that view the existence of other people as an unnecessary evil, then maybe people would figure out they’re voting for their own demise.

  • avatar
    DinosaurWine

    I predict a divergence in automotive design over the next twenty years as a result of this regulation. I do not believe that >200 hp cars will be affordable for most families.

    On the one hand we have the cars affordable to the general population. They’ll probably look like the cars of today except they will have higher fuel economy at the cost of power and acceleration. 0-60 times will fall back to the mid-9′s and I would expect a reasonable price increase for turbos/batteries to increase fuel economy. I believe they will cost more to maintain and will probably have a shorter lifespan than today’s vehicles.

    On the other hand you will have the fun cars like the Shelby Mustangs, the 911, the BMW M models, and pretty much anything with >300 hp. They will cost more to cover CAFE penalties and gas guzzler taxes but will probably not have aggressively new technology like most other cars.

    The bottom line is that affordable 300 hp sedans and anything with a V8 will be a thing of the past.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      In 2020, a compact car with a 200 hp TDI engine will be far quicker than you project, and will still have outstanding fuel economy. Even without a hybrid setup.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I hope you are correct sir. From what I have seen it seems the EPA has a great aversion to diesel technology, not to mention the industry’s own doubts and lackluster enthusiasm for oil burners.

  • avatar

    Technology will cover all the power you can ask for, and to think it won’t is short sighted.
    They just need to find a way to replicate that low RPM rumble from a v8 that gives enthusiasts the goose bumps.

  • avatar
    George B

    10 years ago I would have been more upset about not being able to buy a V8. Today there are some really good engines with fewer cylinders. I’ll miss the sound of a V8 more than the power.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    Electric vehicles are certainly the long term future for personal transportation with global vehicle populations rising into the billions. Today’s batteries are woefully uncompetitive, though: Volt has, in essence, a “$10,000 fuel tank that holds about 1 gallon of gas and weighs 50 times as much”. Every EV has similar energy density and cost issues.

    Fuel cells show promise as a better alternative for onboard energy storage and refueling but remain extremely expensive. The hydrogen infrastructure necessary to support them also requires $15B plus in national investment that private enterprise can’t afford- over $1M per station. On the other hand, work on advancing this technology is well supported by most, if not all manufacturers notably GM and Honda.

    I envision EVs with the capability to be charged,even powered while moving, by inductive chargers in the roadway, as a potential future technological aid for batteries’ low energy density.

    It will be a long time until fossil fueled vehicles are no more, but the day will come.

    In the mean time, I want my V8!

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    Let’s just call this new CAFE rule for what it is : A New Car Tax

    There are limits to how efficient you can make a gasoline powered car, especially if you want to keep stringent crash standards. This is not a conspiracy by big oil, it’s just simple physics. We’re rapidly approaching the point of diminishing returns where it’s going to add thousands to the price of a car to squeeze out a few more mpgs. I’m not interested in adding $5,000 to the price of a new car so I can save $3 a month in gas.

    I don’t care how many ridiculous laws you pass, there’s never going to be a 4wd Suburban that gets over 50 mpg that can tow a boat. So basically, either we all drive Priuses (which I don’t even think would pass upcoming CAFE standards) or we all have a new car tax.

    These rules are either going to have to be changed, or anything much more than a golf cart will be toys for the rich and famous. All to placate Hollywood environmentalists who will of course never drive a 50hp hatchback.

    • 0 avatar
      Norm McAverage

      What about a ‘hybrid ‘cruise control’ only? Electric drive only in 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th gears?

      Smallest electric motor possible replacing the starter motor and alternator, and combining those functions with cruise control.

      Much lighter than an ‘acceleratory hybrid’, since it doesn’t have to accelerate a large mass. No big electric motor or permanent battery packs like on a Prius.

      Make battery packs removable for track use. Leave them next to the toolboxes in the pit lane.

      ALL cars technically could have this setup. There’s no reason we need an alternator and starter on modern cars when brushless A/C units could do that work for similar weight, and also kick in again when the engine is running at a fast idle (cruising the highway).

      I think it could literally save the V8.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      +1 read my mind sir.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    V-8s have the advantage of being ingrained into the American Psyche. A room full of engineers could spend all day espousing the virtues of any 6 or 4. As soon as an ad man points to a car and says “VeeeeEight” a line will form to buy it. We rarely buy vehicles for logical reasons. Only in marriage or divorce do we allow emotion to cost us more.

  • avatar
    2012JKU

    It wont be long till the government just mandates us all to drive a Malibu Eco, Volt or other government motors vehicle of your choice with a hybrid powertrain.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    The sad thing is that as you increase gas mileage – you don’t continue to save that much more.

    So at 10 miles to the gallon if you drive 10,000 miles – that’s 1000 gallons. 20mpg – you are down to 500 gallons. 50mpg you are down to 200 gallons. So sure you save money – but its diminishing..

    This is why if you look at the total cost of ownership – a V8 for alot of drivers isn’t a bad deal and honestly they sound and perform incredibly well. Turbo’s just aren’t as smooth down low. A big V8 gives your vehicle this feeling of limitless power.

  • avatar

    2013 shelby GT500 – 662HP – 3800lb curb weight – no gas guzzler tax

    i’m sorry, when did you say the V8s are disappearing again?

  • avatar
    Mike Kelley

    Any government that can crank out 1900 pages of CAFE regulations and 2000+ page healthcare bills is badly in need of pruning. $20 trillion of debt and 6% interest rates will force big cuts soon, I am betting.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Forget it. The DOHC V8 is as good as it ever got. And it’s not just about V8 rumble either.

    Yes, you can boost a V6, but you’ve also added complexity, heat and premium fuel to the mix. Never mind the increased price and all this for what, a marginal bump in mpg over a V8? No thank’s.

    The SVO and GNX have their place in history, but they had pretty light weight bodies in a time when we were starved for power and performance.


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