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Horses rising – how high will auto manufacturers take factory horsepower?

Auto manufacturers are stuffing more and more horses under the hoods
of production models. This Dodge Demon is one heck of an example.

Dodge describes it as “a beast unlike any in the kingdom” and that’s true, to a point. The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon offers a spectacular display of what auto manufacturers can do with a factory engine’s horsepower, if they have the will to dream of more … and more.

The Demon clocks in with 840 hp. That’s from the factory, not a hotrod someone souped up in their garage. According to Dodge, it makes the Challenger SRT Demon the fastest production car from 0 to 100 mph.

One has to wonder if Chrysler thought the Hellcat Challenger was too warm and fuzzy – a hybrid family car? When the Hellcat engine was introduced for the 2015 model year, it came with an acceleration pulsing 707 hp engine. But, it’s not hard to see that Dodge saw the competition closing in; they upped their game with the Demon to ensure that they stayed at the top of the horsepower hill.

Ford’s 5.2L Ti-VCT V8, with “Flat Plane Crank,” produces an earth-shaking 526 hp. Anyone who has driven a high-powered automobile can tell you – that’s some serious horses. The 2017 Chevy Corvette Z06 6.2L supercharged V8 DI engine pumps out 650 hp. You can get the same engine in the ZL1 Camaro.

840 – 650 – 526: these are horsepower figures that promise heart-pounding performance. But, let’s put this in perspective. Let’s look back to the days of the Pony Cars.

A Wikipedia article claims that the Pony Era began in 1963, with the introduction of the 1964 Ford Mustang (the model would have been introduced in the fall of ’63) and lasted until about 1973. This was a decade of auto manufacturing that saw auto builders fighting the same fight – king of the horsepower hill. During that era, some of the top factory engines, with the most horsepower, were:

  • Chrysler 426 hemi – 425 hp
  • Chevrolet 454 LS-6 – 450 hp
  • Ford 429 Cobra Jet – 370 hp
  • Buick 455 Stage 1 – 360 hp
  • AMC 390 – 325 hp

It’s not hard to see that auto manufacturers have made quantum leaps in terms of the number of horses they’re able to pack into an engine block. The SRT Supercharged 6.2L HEMI is just over 378 cubic inches (the equivalent measurement to the cubic inch dimensions of the Pony engines above). This means that the late-60s/early-70s 426 ci engine puts out a little more than half of the horses of its 378 ci ancestor.

One thing has not changed though; auto racers and enthusiasts can still modify their engines to increase the number horses they have under the hood. For instance, and as it was years ago, you can still come in to an auto shop, such as Performance Unlimited, and tell them how many horses you want to pack under your hood. They’ll tell you what it will take to get you there.

The only question is, ‘How high will auto manufacturers go’ and ‘how many horses can they fit under the hood?’

NOTE: Foreign, sedan and luxury cars also come with high-powered engines. For instance, the Mercedes-Benz 4.7L engine comes with 523 hp. You can buy a 5.0L Lexus with 467 hp, a 2.9L Alfa Romeo with 505 hp, a BMW with 560 hp, an Audi with 605 hp and a Cadillac with 640 hp.

Of course, back in the days of the Pony Cars, you could also buy a Cadillac, with a 472-ci or 500-ci engine that put out, up to, 400 hp.

Tech kicks the tires with informative app – your car’s Pirelli tires can provide feedback

These new Pirelli Tires are amazing.
You can connect them to an app that will keep you informed of your tires' condition.
Tires have advanced over the years. Tire manufacturers have developed tires that grab the road with greater efficiency. They’ve created tires that last longer, that provide greater performance in varying conditions – such as wet, snowy and icy roads. Now, the manufacture of tires is about to take another leap forward.

Pirelli is introducing tires that will communicate with an app you can download to your cell phone. With the app, your tires will provide up-to-date information on the status of your tires. Status updates will include information about:

  • Tire wear      
  • Air pressure
  • Tire temperature
  • Distance driven
  • Vertical load

With the app, drivers with these new Pirelli tires – Pirelli P Zero and Pirelli Winter Sottozero tires – will know the condition of their tires in ways they never could have known before. They’ll recognize potential problems with their tires earlier than they would have before.

If you have a tire that is losing air pressure, the app will even tell you where you can find an auto repair shop in your area that can fix a flat for you.

As another bonus, Pirelli is offering the tires with different colored sidewalls:

  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Silver
  • White

Your vision is never overrated – whether flying a USMC Harrier Jet or driving Richmond roadways

That US Marine Harrier pilot knows how important vision is while flying. Vision, and proper adjustment of
rearview mirrors is equally important when you're driving on Richmond highways.

A US Marine who used to work on Harrier Jump Jets once said of the planes, “Wings are overrated.” Of course, he was kidding. In fact, the comment was funny because it was the absolute opposite of the truth. We all know that wings are essential to a heavier-than-air craft (dirigibles are considered lighter-than-air craft and helicopters, essentially, have wings that rotate above the craft).

If you were to say that vision is overrated when driving a car on a Richmond road, the joke is the same – it’s absolutely the opposite of the truth. Vision is absolutely essential to safely operating a car, truck or SUV – any motorized vehicle on the roadways.

When you talk about vision while driving, this refers to night and day, as well as front, back and to the sides. The better your vision, in all directions and conditions, the more you’re able to adjust your driving to increase safety.

Looking forward, this means that you should keep the windshield clean. You may want to take this more seriously than some do. Wiping down the windows may look good until the sun, or someone’s headlights, bear down through the glass. Suddenly, you’re liable to recognize the streaks your efforts left in their wake. Instead of enhancing your vision, you’ve actually harmed your ability to see clearly.

Make sure your headlights work and that they’re clean. In fact, you may want to ensure that you’re using the best bulbs in your headlights that will do the most to enhance your vision at night.

The principle of cleaning your car windows applies out the sides and the back. And, when the Richmond weather plays havoc with your vision, it’s critical to clean snow and frost away so you can see clearly. You may also want to warm the car enough so that the windows don’t fog up as you drive. But, rearward vision goes beyond cleaning the windows. It also applies to proper adjustment of the mirrors.

You generally have a side mirror on each side of the car and a rearview mirror suspended from the windshield. The goal when adjusting your mirrors is to eliminate or, at least, to reduce blind spots. A blind spot is a place where a vehicle, even a motorcycle, can drive near your car, truck or SUV and you won’t be able to see them. If you don’t know they’re there, you can’t take appropriate measures to avoid an accident. You may pull into them without realizing it.

So, how do you adjust your car, truck or SUV’s mirrors? Here is a short lesson in adjusting your mirrors:

Step 1. Adjust the rearview mirror so you have a clear view out the rear window. You should be able to see out the rear window without your own head blocking your view (use a different mirror to check your hair and not while you’re driving).
Step 2. Sitting in the driver’s seat,  move your head over until it’s pressed against the driver-side window. Now, adjust the driver-side mirror so that you can just barely see the side of your vehicle, looking along the side of the car and not at the ground or the sky.
Step 3. Lean so your head is over the console and adjust the passenger-side mirror the same way so that you can see along the passenger side of the vehicle.

Should you work with a local Spring Grove auto insurance agent?

Or, is it the same purchasing your auto insurance online

It’s Illinois. That means that you must have auto insurance if you operate a car on the state’s roadways – and that includes the roads of Spring Grove. Of course, you’d have to be crazy to drive without insurance.
Spring Grove auto insurance agent
It pays to work with a local Spring Grove auto insurance

As long as you need auto insurance, make sure you have a policy that works to your advantage. There are subtle differences that can make a big difference if you find yourself needing to use your insurance.

You want to sign up with a quality auto insurance company. That’s very important but it’s also important that you have an agent who will be there when needed – not just someone who sells you a policy and then disappears. And, it’s important to develop a relationship you can count on with your auto insurance agent, including:

  • When your auto insurance agent is someone you can count on, your agent is someone who will take the time to review your policy and its coverages on an ongoing basis so you’ll know that your coverage is current in accordance with your needs.
  • They’ll stay up on your policy so that you won’t lose discounts or get rejected with claims. This also applies to working with an insurance agent for your homeowners coverage.
  • They’ll help you access competent and reliable repair specialists if you do have damage to your vehicle or home
  • They’ll ensure that those reliable and competent specialists are local, which will save you the bother of going out of the area for service while supporting the local economy
  • You’ll talk to the same agent every time –  someone who knows cares about you and has a vested interest in your satisfaction as a customer 

One Spring Grove insurance agent told how he was working with someone who was purchasing a new policy recently. The standard coverage included $500 comprehensive coverage on their car. The agent pointed out that, by lowering that figure to $0, at the cost of only about $2 a month, if a branch falls and breaks their windshield, they can have it repaired at no personal expense. They were thrilled to hear this.

The agent also pointed out that, when someone purchases auto insurance online, they don’t have an agent sitting across the table making a personal connection who will notice and present options, such as how they can save some money on their policy, or save some money if they need to make a claim.

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