QOTD: Have We Entered the Golden Age of Horsepower?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Over the weekend, Chevy unveiled the chest-thumping Corvette ZR1, the fastest and most powerful production Corvette the world has ever seen. That they chose to hold the reveal of this great American nameplate in Dubai says a lot about current world affairs.

Regardless of its debut city, we’ll enjoy the fact we live in a world where one can purchase a 755 horsepower Chevy with a factory warranty. Certain corners of the internet weep into their Ovaltine about “the good old days,” hemming and hawing over the superiority of muscle machines from the ’60s and ‘70s. They were great cars, to be sure, but today’s gonzo levels of horsepower have us wondering – and asking you – where’s the upper limit for factory hot rods?

We all know Dodge laid down the first salvo of the in-the-affordable-realm horsepower war with the Hellcat, in both Challenger and Charger form. A full 707 of the roartiest Detroit horsepower attached to a chassis not fundamentally changed in an automotive eon was just the ticket to draw out all the superlatives from this author’s thesaurus.

They upped the ante, of course, with the Demon. Fun fact: Dodge announced just on Friday that the 2018 Demon has officially started shipping to dealerships. This means customers in the snow belt will get their 840 horsepower rocket sleds just in time to put them away for winter. Those in the southern states will be roasting tires, not turkeys, for Christmas.

Even the Shelby GT500 of 2011 was no slouch, boasting a robust horses out of its then-new 5.4-liter aluminium mill. Shedding over 100 pounds compared to the cast-iron lump available in the previous model year, the engine in the ’11 GT500 made 550 hp.

Which brings us neatly back to the ZR1. Its LT5 6.2-liter V8 is topped with a supercharger uses GM’s first dual-fuel-injection system, employing primary direct injection and supplemental port injection to make its power. Those horses, all 755 of them, are routed through either a seven-speed manual or an eight-speed auto with paddle shifters.

We blew through the 500 hp mark at the beginning of this decade, zipped past 600 hp not long after, and now find ourselves with several 700 hp options from which to choose. Not to mention, of course, the 800 hp club over at FCA. Question is, where do you think the upper level of horsepower is in a factory car?

[Image: General Motors]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • Bachewy Bachewy on Nov 14, 2017

    "Dodge laid down the first salvo of the in-the-affordable-realm horsepower war" I find that statement highly inaccurate. You can say they were the first pony factory car to 700hp. However, the sticker is higher than the previous king - 662HP GT500 from '13-'14. MSRP for the Hellcat STARTS at $64k while the Ford started in the high $50k.

  • Jmiller417 Jmiller417 on Nov 14, 2017

    Yes, we entered it around 25 years ago.

  • Doug brockman hardly. Their goals remain to punish us by mandating unsafe unreliable unaffordable battery powered cars
  • Lorenzo It looks like the curves are out and the boxy look is back. There's an upright windscreen, a decided lack of view obstructing swoop in the rear side panels, and you can even see out of the back window. Is Lexus borrowing from the G-Class Mercedes, or the Range Rover?
  • Lorenzo Didn't those guys actually test drive cars? I was told that one drove like an old lady, another like a maniac, and the third like a nervous middle aged commuter who needs to get to work on time and can't afford big repair bills, and they got together to pass judgement within their individual expertise. No?
  • Lorenzo Aw, I don't care what they call the models, as long as they don't use those dots over the O's.
  • The Oracle GM just seems hapless lately