QOTD: Have We Entered the Golden Age of Horsepower?

qotd have we entered the golden age of horsepower

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]

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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.

  • Luke42 I like the Metris quite a bit, but I never bought one.Two problems kept me from pulling the trigger:[list=1][*]It was expensive for what it was.[/*][*]For the price they were asking, it needed to have a plug for me to buy it.[/*][/list=1]I wanted a minivan that could tow, and I test drove one and liked it. The Mercedes dealer stocked both cargo versions and conversion vans. It was a nice vehicle, and I really wanted one for a while.This is the inevitable fate of cars that I like, but don't actually buy.
  • Garrett I would have gone for one of these if it had AWD. If they had offered it, it could have done far better.
  • Michael500 Sorry, EV's are no good. How am I supposed to rev the motor to impress girls? (the sophisticated ones I like).
  • Michael500 Oh my dog- this is one of my favorite cars in human history! A neighbor had a '71 when I was a child and I stopped and gazed at that car every time it was parked outside its garage. Turquoise with a black vinyl. That high beltline looks awesome today!
  • ScarecrowRepair I'd love an electric car -- quiet, torque, drive train simplicity -- but only if the cost was less, if recharging was as fast as gas (5 minutes) and as ubiquitous. I can take a road trip and know that with a few posted exceptions (US 50 from Reno to Utah), I don't have to wonder where the next fuel station is, and if I do run out, I can lug a gallon of gas back.Sure I'd miss the engine sounds and the joys of shifting. But life is all about tradeoffs.
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