The Truth About Cars » supercharger http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 19 Oct 2014 11:58:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » supercharger http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Hyundai, Tesla In Spat Over Funding Of Supercharger Network http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/hyundai-tesla-in-spat-over-funding-of-supercharger-network/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/hyundai-tesla-in-spat-over-funding-of-supercharger-network/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 13:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=866874 Hyundai’s head of U.S. product planning Michael O’Brien may have written a check his mouth can’t cash when he claimed Tesla’s Supercharger network was paid with taxpayer dollars. Green Car Reports says during a discussion of his employer’s view on hydrogen fueling infrastructure, O’Brien stated that Hyundai has not received any funding from the federal […]

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Tesla Supercharger Night Party

Hyundai’s head of U.S. product planning Michael O’Brien may have written a check his mouth can’t cash when he claimed Tesla’s Supercharger network was paid with taxpayer dollars.

Green Car Reports says during a discussion of his employer’s view on hydrogen fueling infrastructure, O’Brien stated that Hyundai has not received any funding from the federal government for its hydrogen vehicles, while Tesla’s Supercharger network was paid with “grants and loans from the government.”

In turn, this assertion infuriated Tesla’s vice president of business development Diarmuld O’Connell:

Those sites have been paid for entirely by Tesla Motors — which continues to spend money in expanding the network. This stands in stark contrast to certain foreign carmakers, including Hyundai, who have no manufacturing presence in California but expect the state’s taxpayers to spend up to $200 million to set up hydrogen stations.

For his part, O’Brien did acknowledge hydrogen would only take off “when other states start investing in infrastructure.”

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TTAC Long-Term Tesla Part 3: (Super)Charging http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/ttac-long-term-tesla-part-3-supercharging/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/ttac-long-term-tesla-part-3-supercharging/#comments Fri, 02 May 2014 12:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=813305 Here’s a blunt statement for you: If you don’t have at least a 240V charger in your home, or plan on getting one very quickly, or live very near (10 minutes or less) to a Supercharger, do not buy a Model S. I hate to say that because I love this car. But charging without […]

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Here’s a blunt statement for you: If you don’t have at least a 240V charger in your home, or plan on getting one very quickly, or live very near (10 minutes or less) to a Supercharger, do not buy a Model S. I hate to say that because I love this car. But charging without having a charger at home is frustrating and/or expensive.

I live in San Francisco and commute to Mountain View. For all the talk of this being the official car of the Bay Area Tech Douche, there are few convenient chargers available in the Palo Alto or Mountain View area. The nearest Supercharger is in Fremont, which is 30-40 minutes away – more if there’s traffic.

The Chargepoint network is an abomination. Finding a charger using their app (a hodgepodge of HTML mashing into Apple Maps) is ponderous. When you do find one, you had best hope it’s not a 120V charger. Because that will get you anywhere from 3 to 10 miles for each hour of charging, which is not useful when you drive 30 to 40 miles each way. This is also assuming one is *available* – many Chargepoint stations have two outlets, and you can’t reserve many of them.

You can also find chargers with SemaCharge, which is just as bad.

In San Francisco there are many chargers inside large, expensive garages, such as 3 Embarcadero. For $3.99 an hour for the first four hours, then $6 an hour afterwards, you can charge your car at a decent pace – I forget the exact rate, but I think I was at 50% and was quoted 5 hours to charge. So you’re paying for the garage, the charger, and whatever wacky rate they add on top of it.

Get your own charger if you want to save money on gas. Actually, get your own *240 Volt* charger. This will charge you at – I think – 20-30 miles for each hour of charging. This is bearable overnight, and will get you back on your feet for the next day. A 120V (as in a normal plug) will get you three miles an hour. That is not practical for any human being.

If you can, get the high-powered wall charger that Tesla sells. It can go from 40-80 miles for each charging hour, which will mean that you can just go to bed with your car charging. I got my building to install one, and if an apartment building can do it, you can do it.

Now, the positives. My Volvo cost about $50 a tank if memory serves, and that wasn’t even using premium gas (yes, I know miles per gallon is better, but I can’t remember). I’d say that I’d be gassing up on my current schedule two or three times a week. At a conservative estimate, that’s $400 a month. $4800 a year, $38,400 over the course of the 8 years of my warranty (yes, I bought an extended warranty). This is actually an underestimate deliberately engineered to ward off the potential comments of “you suck at math.” If I was filling up the Audi Q5 I drove via Zipcar, the cost of the premium gas they demand would be more like $80 a tank from about a quarter left. Yes, that’s an SUV, I know. But mathematically speaking the Tesla can and will save you money, and the additional stress of finding a gas station.

The “but what if I travel?” argument leads to the Superchargers, which I’ll talk about shortly. However, the general argument I can give you is that while the Chargepoint network sucks for the constant need to juice up, there generally seems to be – at least in California – a good network of places to charge. 4 star and 5 star hotels consistently seem to have 240V chargers – I spotted one in Charlotte, NC at the Ritz Carlton – and even some lower-end hotels in Napa appeared to have them. This isn’t to say that it isn’t inconvenient. The infrastructure of the overall EV-charging network needs significant work to establish the convenience of readily-available gas. However the argument of “you’re gonna get stranded” does not seem to apply in this state. Outside of California, it’s a different world, and I recognize that our state is in a unique situation.

 

Superchargers were originally advertised as beautiful little oases – places you could go, charge your car, get a cup of coffee, eat a bagel and relax. However, at least in Fremont, the result is less glitzy. A line of chargers, some metal chairs and a lot of buildings that you can’t go into. I was dreaming of being able to grab a cup of coffee and relax while the car juiced up. My dreams are shattered. Other Superchargers may be different – but you’d think the marquee Supercharger where you pick up your car would be gorgeous.

To quote the website: “Simply pull up and plug in, take a quick bathroom or food break, and get back on the road.” There was no usable bathroom at Fremont – at a late stop (10pm) I was able to use the intercom and security let me into the one in the delivery center. There was no food. I had to pathetically ask a secretary for a glass of water. Unless I intended to walk across a highway, there was no readily-accessible way to take a quick bathroom or food break unless I brought snacks and intended to pee on the ground.

When the Supercharger *works* it’s fantastic (and free). I really mean it. The ones that work can charge you with 200 miles worth of juice in just an hour – you can swing in, get your car powered up while you sit inside and then get out of there in 30 minutes to an hour. The new 6.0 firmware update allegedly will up the rate of charge at Superchargers to 400 miles an hour.

The problem for me personally is that Fremont is not convenient. Neither is Burlingame. I’m confused as to why there is no Palo Alto or Mountain View or San Francisco Supercharger.

There are also the issues of the deficient Superchargers. I’ve been to the Fremont charger three separate times. Chargers 1A and 1B charged my car at 180-200 miles per hour. However, 4B trundled along at 80-90, and took three tries to get it to even charge. I head similar complaints of other chargers doing the same from other people parked there, who were apparently not as big of an asshole as I am and thus just stayed at one point to charge. I did not call the Supercharger complaint line like it says to on the chargers. I would not be surprised if nobody ever has. I probably should have. But you’d think at the Tesla plant, where Tesla is, where Elon Musk (I assume) sits upon a throne of skulls, that the Supercharger would be flawless. It isn’t.

The Supercharger network is growing across the country, but there’s a fair amount of obfuscation as to where. You can’t zoom in on the list, you can’t click the red circles to find out where the exact spot is (and my geography sucks). The list doesn’t even update when you move to “coming soon.” There are fan-made listings that work based on permits, but there is no reason in the world that Tesla shouldn’t be providing this information themselves. Unless, of course, they’re worried that they’ll get railroaded if they reveal their plans.

From my research it appears that you could do a cross-country drive. I would be a little bit nervous to, or get the help of someone good at planning. By the end of 2014 it would appear that it’ll be a lot easier, and over time I can imagine the network will be good, even if you do have to settle for 80-90 miles per hour.

 

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Musk: Tesla Will Build Cars In China Within Next Few Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/musk-tesla-will-build-cars-in-china-within-next-few-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/musk-tesla-will-build-cars-in-china-within-next-few-years/#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2014 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=807330 Though Tesla is now just delivering new vehicles to China, CEO Elon Musk predicts his company will build luxury electric vehicles in the burgeoning market within the next three to four years. Bloomberg reports the move to localized production would allow the automaker to sell their wares while also avoiding China’s 25 percent import tariff. […]

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Model S - Tesla Motors China

Though Tesla is now just delivering new vehicles to China, CEO Elon Musk predicts his company will build luxury electric vehicles in the burgeoning market within the next three to four years.

Bloomberg reports the move to localized production would allow the automaker to sell their wares while also avoiding China’s 25 percent import tariff. Right now, a new Model S retails for $118,000 in Beijing due to VAT, shipping and import duties, compared to $71,000 in Los Angeles. Musk hopes to qualify the Model S for local subsidies to help offset costs in much the same way the luxury EV sedan receives federal tax credits back in the United States.

In addition, Tesla is expanding its Supercharger network to China, with Beijing and Shanghai among the first cities to join. No word yet as to how much the automaker is investing in the expansion.

A number of challenges lay ahead for Tesla’s move into the market, including slow adoption of electric vehicles among Chinese consumers and lack of a robust infrastructure, as well the loss of China general manager of operations Kingston Chang prior to the automaker’s entry. That said, Tesla plans to increase overall global sales 56 percent this year, moving 35,000 EVs out of the showroom in so doing.

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Tesla S Goes AWD, Comes With Cheaper Batteries, Upgraded Firmware http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/tesla-s-goes-awd-comes-with-cheaper-batteries-upgraded-firmware/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/tesla-s-goes-awd-comes-with-cheaper-batteries-upgraded-firmware/#comments Mon, 10 Feb 2014 16:03:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=738425 During a Tesla townhall meeting at the automaker’s European headquarters in Amsterdam, CEO Elon Musk announced to owners that an all-wheel drive version of the vaunted S would arrive in showrooms by the early months of 2015 at the latest. The arrival comes on the heels of the Model X SUV, which will come standard […]

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During a Tesla townhall meeting at the automaker’s European headquarters in Amsterdam, CEO Elon Musk announced to owners that an all-wheel drive version of the vaunted S would arrive in showrooms by the early months of 2015 at the latest.

The arrival comes on the heels of the Model X SUV, which will come standard with the AWD system when it makes its showroom debut in 2015. The system utilizes two electric motors, each driving the front or rear wheels while pushing the electric SUV from 0 to 60 in under 5 seconds for the Performance option. Power for both the X and S models will come from higher-capacity battery options, eventually including those made with cheaper batteries from Tesla’s “giga factory.”

Planned to be the largest battery plant in the world, the factory will be built in the United States sometime soon, and will be able to recycle older battery units in-house with refitting visiting Teslas with newer packs. The eventual goal is to drive battery costs down by as much as 30 percent to 40 percent while pushing 30 gigawatt-hours of production capacity, just in time for Tesla’s $30,000/200-mile EV debut in the near future. More information will be announced in March, when Musk will also divulge the location of the new factory.

For current owners, a firmware upgrade will be available in a few weeks: Version 6.0 adds real-time traffic data, more control over ride height and suspension settings, and other improvements. Down the road, owners can also upgrade their seats for greater comfort, while future owners of S and X models will have those seats as standard equipment.

Finally, owners will be able to go coast-to-coast thanks to Tesla’s Supercharger stations, whose transcontinental network was completed recently — with a transcontinental road trip to celebrate the occasion — and is now adding capacity at a rate of five of the charging stations coming online per week. The chargers are expected to recharge batteries at a max of 135 kW current.

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Twincharging Is Volvo’s Replacement For Displacement http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/twincharging-is-volvos-replacement-for-displacement/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/twincharging-is-volvos-replacement-for-displacement/#comments Wed, 29 Jan 2014 14:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=724490 Engine downsizing is all the rage. Making the engine smaller increases fuel efficiency, reduces emissions and cuts vehicle weight. With ever tightening fuel economy legislation in the United States and CO2 emissions regulation in the European Union, mainline manufacturers are turning to turbochargers like never before. In 2009 just 5% of cars sold in America […]

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Volvo Drive-E Engine, 2.0L twincharged, Picturre courtesy of Volvo

Engine downsizing is all the rage. Making the engine smaller increases fuel efficiency, reduces emissions and cuts vehicle weight. With ever tightening fuel economy legislation in the United States and CO2 emissions regulation in the European Union, mainline manufacturers are turning to turbochargers like never before. In 2009 just 5% of cars sold in America sported turbos, and that 5% consisted largely of European brands like Volvo and BMW with a long history of forced induction. By 2013 that number had more than doubled to 13%. Honeywell expects the number to rise to 25% in the next four years and the EPA tells me that by 2025 they expect 90% of cars sold in America to sport a turbo engine. With turbos becoming so ordinary, what’s a turbo pioneer like Volvo do to keep a competitive edge? Add a supercharger of course.

I recently had the opportunity to sample the new Volvo V60 (expect a first drive review shortly) but the star of the show wasn’t the car itself, it’s what’s under the hood. New engine designs are truly a rarity in the automotive world with engines being tweaked over time to keep them fresh. Volvo’s own modular engine found under the hood of most Swedish cars (and the occasional Focus RS) turned 24 years old this year, but it’s a spring chicken compared to the Rolls Royce L series 6.75L engine that dates back to 1952. Being the engine nerd I am, I spent a new hours with Volvo’s powertrain engineer discussing their new “Drive E” engine family.

Volvo’s new engine family is primarily a clean sheet design, although many design components are descendants of the old “modular” engine family. The line consists of four different variants dubbed T3, T4, T5 and T6. As before, T indicates turbocharged but now the number represents power output rather than the number of cylinders involved. Yes, this is the death knell for Volvo’s funky 5-cylinder because this is a strict four-cylinder lineup. Volvo has said the 149 horsepower T3 and the 188 horsepower T4 won’t be headed to America at the moment, so don’t expect to see a direct competitor for BMW’s downsized 320i from Sweden this year. Instead we get the 241 horsepower T5 and the 302 horsepower T6 under the hood of everything except the XC90.

Volvo Drive-E engine, 2.0L, picture courtesy of Volvo

All engines share a common block design, but what changes is the boost. T3, T4 and T5 engines use a single turbo while T6 adds a Roots-type supercharger in addition to the turbocharger. VW and others have dabbled with twincharging in the past, with VW’s 1.4L twincharged engine finding a home under the hoods of Euro models and putting down 140-180 horsepower. Volvo is taking things to the next step by calling their 2.0L engine the replacement for not just the 3.0L twin-scroll turbo but also the recently departed 4.4L V8.

While supercharging and turbocharging sounds excessive, there is a logic to the madness. While peak torque on the turbo-only T5 just 15 lb-ft lower than the T6 (when in overboost), the supercharger allows the T6 to deliver approximately 140 lb-ft more torque just off idle. The torque curves converge around 1,500-1,600 RPM when the T6 switches over to the turbocharger. From approximately 2,000 RPM to 3,500 RPM torque remains flat on both engines but the larger turbo on the T6 allows it to maintain peak torque all the way past 4,500 RPM. When torque does start to wane it does so more gradually than turbo-only engines.

Aisin AWF8F35 8-speed transaxle, picture courtesy of Aisin

Why not stick with a supercharger alone like Jaguar and other auto makers? The reason is two-fold. Turbochargers operate off of “waste energy” from the exhaust. Exhaust gases spin the turbine which in turn spins the compressor forcing more air into the engine. In truth “waste energy” is a misnomer because there is a horsepower toll for having the turbo interfering with the exhaust stream, but in general this toll is smaller than the power required to operate a supercharger. The downside to a turbo is well known: turbo lag. Turbo lag is the time it takes the turbo to start “boosting.” Although the turbo is spinning at idle, it’s creating little positive pressure. Step on the gas and it takes a while for things to start humming along and boost to be created. That’s why the T5 has a lower torque rating off idle.

Superchargers are typically driven off the accessory belt. Because of the “direct” connection to the engine, they are always creating boost. Because this boost happens in sync with engine RPMs, the response is immediate. On the down side superchargers can consume up to 20% of an engine’s total power output according to Honeywell. This is considered a good trade since they can boot power up to 50%. Because of design trade offs, factory supercharged engines tend to “run out of breath” at higher RPMs which explains why Jaguar’s 5.0L supercharged engine lags the 4.4L and 4.7L twin-turbo German engines by a wide margin in peak torque.

Volvo’s answer to both problems was to use a supercharger for immediate response at the low end. From idle air flows into the supercharger then through the turbo into the engine. This not only improves low end response but it also helps get the turbo up to speed faster. At some point determined by the car’s computer (around 3,500 RPM) the engine opens a butterfly valve to bypass the supercharger and then de-clutches the supercharger to eliminate the inherent loss. This process allows a supercharger tuned for low end response and a turbo tuned for higher RPM running to be joined to the same engine. The result is a horsepower and torque curve superior to Volvo or BMW’s 3.0L twin-scroll turbos in every way, from torque at idle, length of the torque plateau, to high-RPM torque. To further increase efficiency Volvo relies on a variable speed electric water pump for cooling, direct-injection for combustion efficiency and low friction bearings and rings. Volvo’s marketing literature hails this as the answer to the V8.

But is it really? Yes and no. The pint-sized engine allows the XC60 to deliver 29 MPG on the highway in 304 horsepower T6 trim which is a 50% increase over Volvo’s 2009 XC90 V8. Score one for Drive-E. Out on the road, the 2.0L engine delivers more low end torque than any other 2.0L four-banger sold in America giving the XC60 more punch off idle than I expected. The T6’s torque curve may be flatter than Volvo’s sort lived 4.4L V8, but it’s not quite as robust at the top end or at idle. The broad torque band and the Aisin 8-speed auto allowed the XC60 T6 to tie an XC90 V8 to 60 MPH.  Aurally, Volvo’s “burbly” V8 is the clear winner. The Drive-E engine has a distinct (but muted) supercharger whine under 3,500, a definite four-cylinder exhaust note and an eerie silence at idle. Volvo was cagey about any Polestar tunes for their new engine, but I suspect considerable work will need to be done to best Volvo’s own Polestar I6.

My inner engineer is excited by the possibilities of modern forced induction technologies and small displacement engines. I suspect that the vast majority of American shoppers would be hard pressed to notice the difference between Volvo’s twin-charged 2.0L engine and a V8 in the 4L range in terms of power delivery and drive-ability. The constant march towards fuel economy also fills me with sadness. No matter how you slice it, a naturally aspirated V8 has a sound that we’ve grown up associating with performance and luxury. This association is so strong that BMW pipes V8 sounds into the cabins of their turbo V8s because the turbos interfere with the exhaust notes. As our pocketbooks rejoice, join me as I shed a tear for the naturally aspirated inline-6 and V8.

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Piston Slap: Son, You’re Gonna Drive Me to Drinkin’ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/piston-slap-son-youre-gonna-drive-me-to-drinkin/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/piston-slap-son-youre-gonna-drive-me-to-drinkin/#comments Mon, 01 Jul 2013 11:10:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=493693 Justin writes: Sajeev, Last October I was able to purchase a car I had been swooning over for about 15 years: A ’98 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC. It has about 108000 miles and is my daily driver. During the summer months I generally prefer to ride a motorcycle, so I need to do something with […]

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Justin writes:

Sajeev,

Last October I was able to purchase a car I had been swooning over for about 15 years: A ’98 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC. It has about 108000 miles and is my daily driver. During the summer months I generally prefer to ride a motorcycle, so I need to do something with this car. Selling it is out of the question, as it only has a few cosmetic blemishes (that will soon be tended to), so it will require some…more.

My question is, what do I go with first; Supercharger or 5-6 speed?

A good friend of mine can help me with either. As it sits, the car is completely stock. Money isn’t much of an issue, but I would like to keep total upgrades just under 10K. I am aware that sounds a bit ridiculous, but I have wanted this car since I was 12. I prefer to keep the motor I have; I want it’s heart to stay the same, but I am open to almost anything else mechanical.

Thanks,
Justin

Sajeev answers:

This Lincoln-Mercury fanboi’s heart just melts to hear this. It’s nice to see someone join the madness, as sanity is overrated. The sad reality is that the Mark VIII’s release in 1993 was the last time I was excited about a new product hitting the showroom…and remained excited after the initial buzz wore off.

 Sure, plenty of great iron came afterwards, but nothing that’d personally spin my personal-luxury crank.

Since I am in your shoes (sort of) with my Hot Rod Mark VIII, I can rattle off what you need to do.  With that, your $10,000 budget for powertrain upgrades is unrealistic.  I doubt you can DIY the whole thing, you’re gonna need to buy custom bits unique to Ford’s MN-12/FN-10 chassis and labor to make things that never existed for the Last of The Great Lincoln Continentals.

This isn’t a Mustang, making it all look/work like the factory intended will be…challenging.

The 6-speed swap: Temple High Performance supposedly has you covered (i.e. not an endorsement, I don’t know them) with a 6-speed swap for the low-low price of $7500 including installation.  The 6-speed is better as it seems to fit in the factory location in the transmission tunnel: not so with the T-45 5-speed stick from a normal Mustang GT. While you can source most of the parts yourself, their electronic E-brake release sounds pretty trick. The only way to know how much effort is needed is to dig into the swap yourself…or write ‘em a check and watch them do the install to your satisfaction.

The Supercharger Exhaust:  Your first problem is the horrible log manifolds and crush bend tubing on the exhaust. The mid-length Kooks headers are your first purchase. Then a custom, mandrel bent exhaust with fancy mufflers and hi-flow catalytic convertors from a local shop known for high quality work. When you drop the subframe (yes really) to install the headers, this is a good time to spend the cash on new engine mounts, and any worn rubber suspension bit you might find along the way. I’d also install Addco swaybars, personally.

Congrats! You’ve probably burned through your budget! I’d recommend doing the transmission/exhaust and the misc. bits that are easily replaced when tearing into these components.  I’d rather address the transmission before the engine, because there’s a good chance that a worn out transmission behind a supercharged DOHC 4.6L** won’t last very long.

And once you’ve finished here, save your money for a Mustang Cobra whipplecharger kit, a computer re-flash and dyno tune!!!

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

 **Yes, the right answer is LSX-FTW, because it always is.  But the DOHC Modular Ford V8 was a pretty interesting bit of kit with a better exhaust note, a similar powerband and the 32-valves respond very well to supercharging (pretty easily to boot). So let Justin have his fun!

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Tesla Confirms Battery Swap For Model S http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/tesla-confirms-battery-swap-for-model-s/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/tesla-confirms-battery-swap-for-model-s/#comments Tue, 18 Jun 2013 17:13:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=492564 Tesla’s long-rumored battery swap technology will get its first reveal Thursday night, according to a Tweet from Elon Musk himself. The Tesla battery swap project has been in the works for some time, with the Model S apparently having the capability for battery-swapping from the get-go. There are a few issues that come into question […]

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batteryswapTesla’s long-rumored battery swap technology will get its first reveal Thursday night, according to a Tweet from Elon Musk himself.

The Tesla battery swap project has been in the works for some time, with the Model S apparently having the capability for battery-swapping from the get-go. There are a few issues that come into question here; what kind of technology will be used to help swap a 1,200 pound battery in under 5 minutes? What level of automation will be used? How does this conflict (or complement) with the whole Supercharger network? We’ll have to wait until Thursday to find out.

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Musk Promises Triple The Superchargers, Transcontinental EV Trips http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/musk-promises-triple-the-superchargers-transcontinental-ev-trips/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/musk-promises-triple-the-superchargers-transcontinental-ev-trips/#comments Thu, 30 May 2013 13:20:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=490028   Tesla “will triple its network of superchargers for electrical vehicles by the end of next month,” Elon Musk told Reuters. Musk, who has a fixation on the Big American Road Trip (which is not what I would do in an EV), said “vehicles will be able to travel from Los Angeles to New York […]

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Tow truck delivers Model S to charging station

 

Tesla “will triple its network of superchargers for electrical vehicles by the end of next month,” Elon Musk told Reuters.

Musk, who has a fixation on the Big American Road Trip (which is not what I would do in an EV), said “vehicles will be able to travel from Los Angeles to New York using just the expanded supercharger network,” Reuters writes.

According to Tesla, currently there are 9 Superchargers, a number that would grow to 27. Six of the charging stations are in California. One is in Delaware, two (well, one northbound, one southbound at Milford Travel Plaza on I95…) are in Delaware. It would take at least 15 transcontinental superchargers, for a coast-to-coast trip with a high pucker factor.

I’d rather take the red-eye.

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The Most Expensive Supercharger Kit…In The Wuuurrrlllllllddd http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/the-most-expensive-supercharger-kit-in-the-wuuurrrlllllllddd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/the-most-expensive-supercharger-kit-in-the-wuuurrrlllllllddd/#comments Fri, 22 Mar 2013 15:35:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=482013 Have you ever seen a supercharger kit that costs more than the car in question?  TRD’s new supercharger kit for the Scion FR-S costs an astonishing $26,000, more than the MSRP of the FR-S itself. The supercharger is meant primarily for the SCCA Prielli World Challenge Series, but for it to be legal, it must […]

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Have you ever seen a supercharger kit that costs more than the car in question?  TRD’s new supercharger kit for the Scion FR-S costs an astonishing $26,000, more than the MSRP of the FR-S itself.

The supercharger is meant primarily for the SCCA Prielli World Challenge Series, but for it to be legal, it must be offered for sale. Prospective buyers are required to order a minimum of two kits, and must supply their own engine management. Presumably, this is done to keep the kit out of the hands of the “IMPORT 2NR” crowd, but this still seems like an exorbitant sum for a mid-level sports car racing series.

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Junkyard Find: 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/junkyard-find-1998-pontiac-grand-prix-gtp/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/junkyard-find-1998-pontiac-grand-prix-gtp/#comments Wed, 01 Aug 2012 13:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=454982 The General produced quite a few not-so-quick front-drive cars with sporty-looking graphics and spoilers during the 1990s (e.g., the Beretta Z26), but the addition of an Eaton supercharger to the good old Buick V6 engine resulted in some fairly fast 90s machinery. Here’s a Grand Prix that had 240 horsepower at the front wheels during […]

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The General produced quite a few not-so-quick front-drive cars with sporty-looking graphics and spoilers during the 1990s (e.g., the Beretta Z26), but the addition of an Eaton supercharger to the good old Buick V6 engine resulted in some fairly fast 90s machinery. Here’s a Grand Prix that had 240 horsepower at the front wheels during happier times.
These things managed to get into the 14s in the quarter-mile, which is quite hairy for a front-drive street car of the 1990s. Rapid depreciation and the resulting nothing-to-lose leadfoot drivers tended to kill them off in a hurry.
ABS was still special enough in 1998 to warrant badges on the wheels.
By the late 1990s, GM had finally figured out that the squiggly pink-and-green decals of the previous decade were considered passé by even the most out-of-touch car buyers. These more restrained GTP badges look much more dignified.

13 - 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1990 Ford Thunderbird Super Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/junkyard-find-1990-ford-thunderbird-super-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/junkyard-find-1990-ford-thunderbird-super-coupe/#comments Wed, 04 Jul 2012 13:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=451188 The Thunderbird got an independent rear suspension in the 1989 model year, and Ford added a supercharger to its 3.8 engine and created the Super Coupe. Motor Trend, probably still smarting from the Renault Alliance fiasco earlier in the decade, awarded its Car of the Year award to the Super Coupe, and we can assume […]

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The Thunderbird got an independent rear suspension in the 1989 model year, and Ford added a supercharger to its 3.8 engine and created the Super Coupe. Motor Trend, probably still smarting from the Renault Alliance fiasco earlier in the decade, awarded its Car of the Year award to the Super Coupe, and we can assume that the buyer of today’s Junkyard Find believed that he or she was buying the best car of 1990.
With 210 horsepower on tap and big-for-the-time 16-inch aluminum wheels, the Super Coupe was quite sporty.
This one only made it to 143K on the clock, but I’m sure each mile was lived to the fullest.
Premium Sound! The Junkyard Boogaloo Boombox uses Ford Premium Sound 6×9 speakers, and they aren’t as premium as I’d hoped they’d be.
We’ve seen a few of these cars in 24 Hours of LeMons racing, which says a lot about depreciation for worn-out MN12s. They aren’t particularly quick on a road course— about on par with the 302-powered Fox T-Birds— and the engines tend to explode after a few hours of full-throttle abuse, but supercharging is always cool.

21 - 1990 Ford Thunderbird SC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1990 Ford Thunderbird SC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1990 Ford Thunderbird SC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1990 Ford Thunderbird SC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1990 Ford Thunderbird SC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1990 Ford Thunderbird SC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1990 Ford Thunderbird SC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1990 Ford Thunderbird SC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1990 Ford Thunderbird SC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1990 Ford Thunderbird SC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1990 Ford Thunderbird SC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1990 Ford Thunderbird SC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1990 Ford Thunderbird SC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1990 Ford Thunderbird SC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1990 Ford Thunderbird SC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1990 Ford Thunderbird SC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1990 Ford Thunderbird SC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1990 Ford Thunderbird SC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1990 Ford Thunderbird SC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1993 Pontiac Bonneville SSEi http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/junkyard-find-1993-pontiac-bonneville-ssei/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/junkyard-find-1993-pontiac-bonneville-ssei/#comments Wed, 18 Jan 2012 14:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=427062 Yesterday’s Junkyard Find from 1993 wasn’t the kind of car most of us would find interesting enough to seek out today (though I’m considering buying a Dynasty, caging it, and starting a new race series: Spec Dynasty). Today’s ’93 car is a different story. A Bonneville with 205 supercharged horses under the hood? I’ll take […]

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Yesterday’s Junkyard Find from 1993 wasn’t the kind of car most of us would find interesting enough to seek out today (though I’m considering buying a Dynasty, caging it, and starting a new race series: Spec Dynasty). Today’s ’93 car is a different story. A Bonneville with 205 supercharged horses under the hood? I’ll take one!
Granted, the fascination that Detroit had with plastic body cladding in the 1990s made for some not-so-attractive cars, especially after the sun went to work on the plastic for a decade or two, but: Roots supercharger!
The Bonneville SSEi (and its blown Buick cousins) haven’t held their value well, since I see solid examples in wrecking yards and on 24 Hours of LeMons tracks on a regular basis.
And, really, the SSEi’s power/weight numbers are pretty close to the contemporary Ford Crown Victoria’s… and, as someone who drove a P71 Crown Vic as a daily driver for years, I can say that we’re not talking about eyeball-flattening acceleration here. But still: Roots supercharger! These cars do sound great with the pedal mashed to the floor.
This car has “SSE” and “SSEi SUPERCHARGED” logos everywhere, including this one printed on the underhood insulation.
Perhaps the fate of this car (which I found in the same Denver self-serve yard that holds the Dynasty) is to be a supercharger donor for somebody’s Buick Skyhawk project.

24 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden 01 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden 02 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden 03 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden 04 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden 05 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden 06 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden 07 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden 08 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden 09 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden 10 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden 11 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden 12 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden 13 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden 14 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden 15 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden 16 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden 17 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden 18 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden 19 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden 20 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden 21 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden 22 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden 23 - 1993 Pontiac Bonnevillle SSEi Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Because 454 Cubic Inches Just Isn’t Enough: AMC Marlin Racer Gets Twin Superchargers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/because-454-cubic-inches-just-isnt-enough-amc-marlin-racer-gets-twin-superchargers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/because-454-cubic-inches-just-isnt-enough-amc-marlin-racer-gets-twin-superchargers/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2011 15:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=400231 The Speed Holes Racing AMC Marlin took home the Organizer’s Choice award at last year’s Colorado 24 Hours of LeMons race, because A) it has a 454 yanked from a wrecked GMC truck set back about three feet from the Marlin’s normal engine location, B) it has a Jaguar XJ6 rear suspension and differential, C) […]

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The Speed Holes Racing AMC Marlin took home the Organizer’s Choice award at last year’s Colorado 24 Hours of LeMons race, because A) it has a 454 yanked from a wrecked GMC truck set back about three feet from the Marlin’s normal engine location, B) it has a Jaguar XJ6 rear suspension and differential, C) it has hundreds of speed holes punched into the body and, most of all, D) it’s an AMC Marlin. The Marlin wasn’t exactly fast (the tall Jaguar gears and very tired 300,000-mile EFI small-valve engine didn’t make for great acceleration out of the turns), but the handling was surprisingly good for such a big car. For the 2011 B.F.E. GP, Speed Holes Racing decided that more power would be needed.

The LeMons Supreme Court gave Speed Holes a generous residual value after last year’s race, allowing them to dump another few hundred bucks into the car. Changing the differential gearing from 2.75:1 to 3.73:1 will help de-dog-ify the acceleration at hilly, oxygen-poor High Plains Raceway. Adding forced induction should cause the engine to spray connecting rods in all directions alleviate the oxygen-shortage problem.

In charge of this upgrade is Speed Holes Racing team captain Cadillac Bob. Cheap junkyard superchargers are easily obtained, as long as you go for a Toyota Previa centrifugal blower or a GM 3800 V6 Roots blower. Bob went for the latter option, figuring a pair of superchargers meant for an engine of 231 cubic inches displacement apiece should be just about right for a single engine displacing 454 cubes.

The plan is to push about 5 PSI of boost down the factory throttle body, using this industrial pressure gauge to keep the driver in the know.

Bob fabricated a plenum and mounted the blowers backwards on its sides. The compressed air will come out the top, once he cuts a hole and mounts a flange for ducting.

Because the supercharger input shafts will now rotate backwards, Bob had to do some surgery to flip the internal drive gears around and keep the vanes rotating in the correct direction.

The nice part about this setup is that removal of the entire supercharger assembly should be pretty quick, when if something goes wrong with one or both of the blowers at the track.

Meanwhile, Bob’s shop has filled up with projects. In the foreground is a LeMons-bound Jetta that needed its janky cage fixed. In the background is my ’66 A100 van, which is getting new axle kingpins.

In the rafters of the shop, an early-60s-vintage rail dragster.

Beneath the dragster, a seriously chopped Coupe DeVille.

Nearby sits an old-timey hot-rodded Model A four-cylinder engine, awaiting installation into Bob’s super-slammed Ford coupe.

What sort of car should receive this WW2 military-issue Cadillac flathead V8?

The B.F.E. GP takes place weekend after next, so there’s plenty to do between now and the green flag. Still, compared to last years’ panic-stricken thrash, this time around should be a walk in the park. I look forward to hearing those blowers screaming on the race track!

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We Live In the Golden Age of Cheap Superchargers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/01/we-live-in-the-golden-age-of-cheap-superchargers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/01/we-live-in-the-golden-age-of-cheap-superchargers/#comments Sat, 01 Jan 2011 16:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=378949 Back in the day, where could you go for a cheap supercharger? Maybe grab a grungy 8-71 off a million-mile transit bus? Thanks to GM’s decision in the early 1990s to plop Eaton blowers on all manner of 3800 V6-powered machinery, the going rate on a junkyard supercharger is well below a C-note. I spotted […]

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Back in the day, where could you go for a cheap supercharger? Maybe grab a grungy 8-71 off a million-mile transit bus? Thanks to GM’s decision in the early 1990s to plop Eaton blowers on all manner of 3800 V6-powered machinery, the going rate on a junkyard supercharger is well below a C-note.

I spotted this blown Park Avenue at a Denver self-service yard last week. The price? 75 bucks. Too bad the engines in my current stable-o-vehicles displace 1.5 and 5.2 liters, respectively, and are thus unsuitable for this unit (though perhaps two of these on a Chrysler 318 might be just the ticket).

And that’s not your only low-buck blower option these days, thanks to Toyota’s decision to add a supercharger to Previa minivans starting in the mid-1990s. The Previa unit has an electrically-operated clutch, which means you can turn it on and off like Mad Max in his Falcon XB. Works great in a 320i!

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Review: 2011 Ford Mustang GT500 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/review-2011-ford-mustang-gt500/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/review-2011-ford-mustang-gt500/#comments Mon, 28 Jun 2010 15:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=359622 If you read my Mustang GT introduction and Performance Pack on-track test articles, you know that I am an unabashed fan of the 2011 Mustang GT. On a road course, it is very probably the fastest normally-aspirated ponycar in history; it’s certainly the best-conceived, best-assembled, and most satisfying ponycar I’ve ever had the pleasure of […]

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If you read my Mustang GT introduction and Performance Pack on-track test articles, you know that I am an unabashed fan of the 2011 Mustang GT. On a road course, it is very probably the fastest normally-aspirated ponycar in history; it’s certainly the best-conceived, best-assembled, and most satisfying ponycar I’ve ever had the pleasure of driving.

The 2011 Shelby GT500 hasn’t received quite the amount of media attention devoted to its five-liter little brother, but it is packing two significant upgrades. There’s an SVT Performance Pack, which includes larger forged-aluminum wheels, revised suspension settings, a 3.73 axle ratio, and a unique Goodyear F1 Supercar tire. Ford has also taken advantage of a unique “Plasma Transferred Wire Arc” process to create an aluminum 5.4-liter V8 that makes 550 horsepower, ten more than last year’s iron-block monster. The payoff is a 120-pound weight savings.

Lighter, stronger, better-handling. Let’s go to the track.

The GT500 was made to hunt Corvettes on a dragstrip or road course. This image, one of just a few captured by our “Flip” camera before it self-destructed at one hundred and thirty-eight miles per hour or thereabouts before the famous “Kink” at Nelson Ledges Road Course, shows one of the highlights of a dogfight we had with a NASA ST1-prepared Corvette. 440 horsepower at the rear wheels, big Hoosier slicks, and a competent driver. In the end, he wrung out about a 1.5-second-per-lap advantage on us, but he was sufficiently impressed by the Shelby to stop by and ask how it handles on-track.

My answer was, “Very well.” The bespoke Goodyears don’t quite deliver a Hoosier’s worth of grip, but they do have one R-compound-like trait: the gap between squeal and slide is fairly small. I’d require an identical-car test to make sure, but I’m of the initial opinion that they are probably very close to the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup in terms of overall dry-weather performance.

After our exploratory first session with photographer Neil Switzer on-board, the Shelby never again had to yield for anything short of a true race car. Street Corvettes, STis, EVOs, M3s, and the like were mere snacks for the gaping grille. The 2010 GT500 had a far more “pointable” front end than its predecessor; the 2011 offers a similar improvement. Yes, it understeers; every production car does. With that said, it doesn’t understeer much and it more or less matches its five-liter sibling in steering feel and feedback.

Power from the supercharged engine is solid, delivered in unsurprising fashion across a broad band, and very subject to heat soak on our ninety-two-degree Ohio day. The Cobra’s best laps were its first few, before the tires could cook and the brakes could fade.

And do they ever fade. I complained about the brakes in the 5.0 GT not being up to the car’s raw speed potential. These are the same calipers, pulling back the reins on an additional one hundred and forty horsepower. It was necessary to completely change my braking philosophy, often “coasting in” briefly before stabbing the pedal all the way to the floor and over-dialing steering for an initial slowing effect. As a result, the GT500 isn’t nearly as kind to its tires on a road course as the 5.0. A change in pads and fluid would bring the Brembos up to snuff for light track day work, and I’m sure most owners will make the change.

When they do, they will discover what a pussycat the GT500 is on a racetrack. Seriously. I’ve never driven a car with this kind of pace, particularly a RWD-only car, that was so easy to operate. There are no surprises. Nelson Ledges is famous for the washboard surface used for braking after the “Kink”. It’s not uncommon for cars to loop out there with very little provocation, as shown by yours truly below in my NASA Performance Touring Neon:

The Mustang is flawless in this zone despite the solid rear axle. There’s a bit of hop-and-skip, but the rear end never threatens to come around. This is a well-sorted car. We turned AdvanceTrac off from the first session on and never had cause to regret it. The GT500 requires no electronic babysitter; the inherent stability of a big, heavy (though not as heavy as previously) engine serves as the paperclip on the nose of this particular paper airplane, and the well-damped suspension ensures that the body never acquires enough motion above the tires to cause difficulty. A solid throttle foot will assist in turning the car during slow corners but that’s more for show than go.

The GT500 is wonderfully track-ready, but most of them will never see a road course. To display the car in an alternate light, I took it to the ComFest in Columbus, Ohio and exposed it to a crowd of hippies. I would like to tell you that they cheered as I smoked the tires all the way through second gear, a block away from the Natural Hemp Products booth, but the curses and thrown objects seemed rather half-hearted. Perhaps they are Ford fans in the making. The stunning, perfectly tanned young woman who took me in her pedicab from my parking space to the concert area smiled with approval at the SVT-Pack-unique narrow stripes and black wheels, pronouncing the car “kind of neat”. This, from a woman who rides a bicycle for a living.

It’s impossible not to like the GT500, even if you’re a alterna-chick who probably considers the Prius a wasteful use of the planet’s nickel supply. It’s an unashamed love letter from Ford’s SVT division to traditional America, Friday nights, and pretty girls in halter tops reclining against the Cobra-emblem fender. I’d like to own one myself. I’d fix the brakes and see if I could get the “Shelby” crap off the car. This is an SVT product and it deserves to be badged as such. With all respect to the chicken farmer and his long legacy of suing everybody from his friends to his fans, there’s no reason to have the Shelby name on this Mustang. SVT Cobra should suffice.

There is one tiny problem. All the improvements over the 5.0 GT are worth having, except perhaps the supercharged engine. Even with the improvements, the blown 5.4 simply doesn’t shine against the standard 5.0 the way it did versus the three-valve 4.6. My perfect Mustang has all the goodies from the Shelby — the SVT performance pack, the forged wheels, the Alcantara wheel — and a fully-tuned, max-power normally-aspirated V8. No heat soak, no extra weight, no complications. Big V8, revving hard. I’d call it… the Boss.

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