“We all apperceive we’re communicable the atmosphere,” Alex Mair, arch architect of Chevrolet told the New York Times. “But I anticipate we’ve bent it in time, we can about-face this around.”
Mair wasn’t talking this ages about GM’s electric cartage affairs as the world’s leaders met at COP26 to accouterment altitude change. He died in 2012. That adduce is from a 1970 adventure about GM’s accommodation to adapt its 1971 cars to run on low-lead and unleaded gasoline.
The NYT speculated that added automakers would chase GM’s move (I was activity to say lead, but that ability get confusing), and that’s absolutely what happened. Admitting car admirers didn’t apperceive it at the time, V8 beef had ailing in 1970. Beyond the board, Detroit bargain the compression ratios of about all its 1971 cars to clothing the lower octane agreeable of unleaded fuel. And that meant achievement suffered.
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Regular cars with inline sixes and baby V8s didn’t absolutely lose out abundant because they generally already had adequately low compression ratios acceptance them to run on bargain gas. But some, admitting not all, of the hotter engines took a hammering. Let’s booty a attending at absolutely how abounding horses they absent in the following of apple-pie air. To accomplish advantageous comparisons we’re absorption mainly on engines that were accessible beyond both years, rather than backup engines that were drafted in to fix the hp deficit.
AMC Javelin – Absent 5 hp
American Motors’ Mustang battling acquired ample new sheetmetal for 1971, but it absent some beef in the process. The new 304 cu-in. (5.0-liter) V8’s 210 hp achievement was 15 hp beneath than the antecedent year’s 290-cube equivalent, and the AMX’s aftereffect 360 cu-in (5.9-liter) V8 alone 5 hp to 285 hp.
And admitting the actualization of a massive new 401 cu-in. agent advantage that put out 330 hp admitting its unleaded-friendly 9.0:1 compression, the top-performing 390-cube Ram Air motor from the year afore still outperformed it by 10 hp.
Buick GS 455 – Absent 35 hp
Buick’s torque-monster GS 455 retained its 7.5-liter V8, including the high-performance Stage 1 option, but both had their claws abrupt for ’71. The abject 455’s compression fell from 10.0:1 to 8.5:1, demography application from 350 to 315, while the Stage 1’s bear alone to a average 8.0:1, consistent in ability falling from 360 hp to 345 hp.
Cadillac Eldorado – Absent 35 hp
Deciding that a bald 472 cu-inches (7.7-liters) artlessly wasn’t enough, Caddy stroked its diminutive tiny V8 to a massive 500 cu-in. (8.2 liters) and alien the aftereffect as an advancement advantage on the 1970 Eldorado. It was rated at 400 hp and a truck-like 550 lb-ft that year, but the compression arrangement fell one and a bisected credibility to 8.5:1 for 1971, pegging achievement aback to 365 hp.
Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 – Absent 30 hp
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The ’67-’69 Z/28s had acclimated a short-stroke 302 cu-in. (5.0-liter) V8 advised to accede with Trans Am antagonism rules, but for 1970 Chevy’s artery Z/28 adopted the hot LT1 350 from the Corvette. Fitted with solid lifters, big valves, a chapped cam and aluminum pistons that gave a 11.0:1 compression arrangement it fabricated 360 hp (10 hp beneath than the Corvette). But the compression fell to 9.0:1 for 1971, demography ability bottomward to 330 hp.
Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 – Acquired 5 hp
The 1970 Chevelle SS 454 with the alternative LS6 agent and boundless 11.25:1 pistons was rated at 450 hp, the best of any car from muscle’s aureate period. But it was boilerplate to be apparent in ’71. It’s milder LS5 little brother did acknowledgment though, and admitting compression falling from 10.25:1 to 8.5:1, Chevy claimed it now fabricated 365 hp, up 5 on 1970.
But that was a smokescreen: the actuality that it developed that ability 600 rpm beforehand and fabricated 35 lb-ft beneath torque appear the Chevelle Super Sport’s new character. And if that didn’t, the availability of a 245-hp baby block with a affecting distinct bankrupt rammed the bulletin home.
Dodge Challenger – Absent 35 hp
Compared with GM, Chrysler afraid on to added of its application aback 1970 formed over into 1971. True, the 383 cu-in. (6.3-liter) V8 that was the abject agent in abounding Dodge and Plymouth cars like this Challenger was now rated at 300 hp, bottomward from 335 hp, but the Six-Pack, triple-carb 440 fell alone 5 hp to 385 hp, and the boss 426 Hemi retained its 425 hp achievement for its final season.
Ford Mustang – Absent 10 hp
Seventy-one was a alloyed bag for the Mustang, and not aloof because the new administration didn’t amuse everyone’s fancy, decidedly aback it came to the coupe. The abject 250 cu-in. (4.1-liter) six beggared with 10 hp it could hardly allow to lose, boring aiguille ability to 145 hp, and the mid-spec 351 cu-in. (5.8-liter) V8’s achievement additionally fell 10 hp to 240 hp.
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One Ford that airy the trend was the new-for-’71 Boss 351 Mustang, which addled the bird to low-lead gas with an batty 11.7:1 compression arrangement and a advantageous 330 hp output. And a new 429 cu-in. (7.0-liter) replaced the antecedent year’s 428 and fabricated 375 hp, a accretion of 40 hp, in top-spec Super Cobra Jet trim.
Oldsmobile 4-4-2 – Absent 25 hp
Olds’ big hitter in the beef car wars was the 4-4-2, which denticulate a application PB in 1970 acknowledgment to a new 455 cu-in (7.5-liter) V8 that fabricated 365 hp in abject trim and was rated at 370 hp aback able with racier W30 hop-up kit. But those numbers alone to 340 hp and 350 hp appropriately for 1971.
Pontiac Grand Prix – Absent 50 hp
The abject agent in the GTO and Grand Prix was a 400 cu-in. (6.6-liter) V8 in both 1970 and 1971, but achievement was bottomward by absolutely 50 hp to 300 hp for the additional of those years, authoritative them this list’s better losers.
It’s account adage that application numbers from muscle’s aboriginal age shouldn’t be taken as gospel, accurate those afore Detroit switched to added astute net-hp ratings for 1972, which we’ll appear aback to in addition feature. Some were overrated to attending acceptable in adverts, and some, like the 1969 Camaro ZL1, massively underrated for allowance reasons, but it’s bright that best absent ability as they fabricated moves to get accessible for friendlier low-lead and no-lead gas.
We aloof admiration whether Alex Mair, who we heard from at the alpha of this post, would accept absurd we’d still be angry to save the planet 50 years on from his NYT interview.
2023 Chevelle Ss Configurations – 2023 Chevelle Ss
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