Old Cars Vs New

I was just looking at an ad for a '53 Dodge. It talks about the car having a 140 hp Red-ram V8 engine. It specifically mentions how all that power is like money in the bank because even if you never use it, it’s great knowing that it’s there. I sort of laughed because my '04 Honda Accord has a 340 hp V6 and probably weighs much less than the old Dodge.

So how would the two cars stack up in a quarter-mile drag race? what about a 20-mile straight run? I have no real “car-smarts” so I look forward to this answer.

53 Dodge what? Probably a Coronet, see here scroll down.
Though they were beefy, they were steel through and through. Your Accord would dance around it.

I saw one at a car show in Phoenix a few years back that was cut down to a roadster, that was a nice find…wish I had the 25k to snatch it. It was mint.

The V8 Coronet Club Coupe. Ooops, I mean,"*The V8 Coronet Club Coupe!"*Strangely, you really have to look close to see it. It’s like they’re advertising the engine and the Dodge name rather than the specific model.

What kind of batshit insane Honda Accord do you drive? The highest trim V6 Coupe had the 244hp J series engine. :eek:

That was a typo. It’s supposed to read, “240 HP.”

The only contest your Accord would lose would be a demolition derby.
or, perhaps… some kind of tractor pull event where the other car’s RWD gave it an advantage, but even that is doubtful.

The old car might be better for towing a trailer. The small engines need to wind up pretty good to make thier power. That is fine for accelerating up an on-ramp, but not good for longevity if sustained for hours at stretch. The heavy old dog will also tend to be wagged less when given a tail.

Maybe Rick or Gary T will weigh in here. I believe that HP rating is a bit of a game and depends on how and where, in the drive train, that it’s measured and methods have changed over the years.

What’s the torque rating on those engines?
Phlosphr’s link says the '54 Red Ram got 220lb-ft at 2,000rpm, which is pretty good. I found a page saying the 2004 Accord V6 has 212 lb-ft at 5,000rpm. The Accord’s gonna win a drag race, but if you tied them together and had a tug-of-war, it might be interesting.

Reminds me of a Top Gear comparison between an E-Type Jag, Aston Martin DB5 and a modern saloon car which was, surprisingly enough, a Honda Accord. Which of course left both those old cars way behind in a straight forward drag race.

You’re right on that, but if anything, the horsepower rating techniques common in the muscle car era and before inflate, not deflate, horsepower ratings.
That is to say, the horsepower rating advertised for a 1960 model would be substantially lower were it to be assigned a horesepower rating under the new system.

We have had threads that compare 60’s and 70’s muscle cars to today’s more mundane cars. There were a couple of exotic and rare muscle cars that were pretty fast by today’s standards but the average Mustang or Camero from the 60’s or 70’s would get easily beaten by your Civic in a straight-ahead drag race and absolutely destroyed in any curved course that requires good handling. Many people think fondly of them but their performance leaves much to be desired from an engine perspective and their handling was pathetic by today’s standards which greatly influences the real-world use of the power they could muster. They were louder though which seems to mean a great deal to some people.

Automobile technology has advanced so far in the last 40 years, that today’s econobox cars handle better and accelerate faster than yesterday’s luxury cars. Take tires-today’s radials last 4 times as long as permium 1960’s tires-and handle better! And engines-it is common for 4 cylinder engines now to have >140 HP output-while the “stovebolt” sixes of the 1950’s barely put out 90 HP. Add to the fact-a modern car will run for 100,000 miles with very few problems-cars from40 years ago required a LOT of mantainence!

As one who got his driver’s license in the great Muscle Car year of 1968 I would put my 1994 Mercury Villager minivan against any production car from that year on a quarter-mile or 0-60 race.

By the way, my father had a '68 T-Bird, which was one hot car for the time. It had a higher top speed, but my Pontiac Sunfire could beat it off the line.

The top speed’s not a really fair comparison, the Sunfire is artificially limited to 112 mph.

For the most part, I agree, but GM did put out some nasty big-block Vettes and Camaros around that time that were actually advertised a much lower horsepower than they had as to not piss off the insurance agencies and the federalies.

The fabled 69 ZL-1 Camaro was rated around 400 hp, but probably pushed out 600+ by some accounts.

These beasts were a small fraction of total “muscle cars” however. Only 69 ZL-1s were made, and quite a few went unsold for a couple of years.

Looking at the link, all I can say is boy have things changed, and for the better.

7.5:1 compression ratio? :eek: If I recall correctly my Volvo is 10.5:1. The only time you see compression ratios anywhere near this low on a modern engine is when the engine has some type of forced induction like a supercharger or turbo charger. The good news about that low compression ratio is you could probably run it on Coleman fuel.
Horsepower in the good old days was measured in SAE Gross. Until Una stops by, here is a wiki article on horsepower.

So that 150 hp engine would be rated quite a bit less in today’s measurement.

A two speed automatic trans? Either that car would have no acceleration to speak of, or that engine has to be wound kind of tight on the highway. Nowadays five and six speed auto boxes are very common, and I think BMW has a seven speed box.

About those older cars and their handling abilities, Jay Leno wrote an interesting article a while back. He was driving one of his classic cars on Mulholland*. As he came around a corner flat out, he saw a police car, and panicked thinking that he would get a ticket. Then he wrote that he came to the realization that a soccer mom in an Accord could go around that corner faster than he could, and he relaxed.

Somebody tell me again how cars were better in the good old days.

*Mulholland is a very famous windy road that runs along the crest of the hills that divide the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles/Beverly Hills/Brentwood. In the past, lots of street racing took place there.

As an aside, I think we may be past the muscle car nostalgia phase, and moving into the early 1990s Japanese sports car nostalgia phase. Cars like the Toyota Supra and Nissan Skyline, at the peak of their games in the early and mid 90s but rather mediocre by today’s standards, gaining cult status with the Fast and Furious crowd.
I’m still in the late 80s-early 90s Group B rally monster nostalgia phase. Where is the modern Inline 5 turbo Sport Quattro? I’m going to check out and possibly buy myself a nice first generation Lancer Evolution on the weekend. :cool:

Lexus is now advertising an 8 speed automatic for the LS!

What advantage does one gain from all those speeds? Smoother acceleration?