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Technical How much is enough for you?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by rockable, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 10,560


    Personally, it all comes down to Power-to-Weight
    Many of these new cars with driver are in the 4400# area and with say 750 HP they are right at 5.86# per H.P.
    There are many variables, but with current technology of 8-10 speed transmissions and traction control, they make this power range seem like not enough.

    My Coupe with me is 2100# and my engine is realistically in the 350-380 HP area which puts me at 5.52# - 6.00# area.... which in these 'Senior Days' of life is quite sufficient for a thrill from 0-100 mph which only takes a few seconds.
    This same car when I built it the first time 30 years ago was powered by a 388 SBC that made 541 on the dyno and it ran high 9's in the 1/4 on street tires then and it was a riot to drive all over the place.

    Hot Rods have Power, you decide on what is enough.
  2. It has been said before, "You can never be too thin, too rich or have too much horsepower".
  3. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,480


    My wife's daily and my daily both have 200hp, and 6-speeds. Plenty fast for regular use. The wife's car weighs 900lbs more, but has more torque.

    The target for my Hemi is mid 600s. That will be in a vehicle that is barely 2000lbs. Any more will just break parts.
    rockable likes this.
  4. As fast as technology, after market suppliers and their wallets would allow them. The desire is a given.
    loudbang and lothiandon1940 like this.
  5. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,480


  6. I have never had more horse power than I needed and I have never worried about gas mileage, I do have enough power to keep up with traffic and tthe cars will exceed the posted speed limits, I have the citations to remind me.

    So to be honest I guess I have enough since I don't race everybody that pulls up beside me. HRP
  7. brokedownbiker
    Joined: Jun 7, 2016
    Posts: 553


    I have never owned a car that had more than 300 HP under the hood and somehow I've managed to have one heck of a good time. No matter how much you HP you get, there will ALWAYS be somebody with more. Once I came to terms with that fact (thankfully when I was still fairly young) I stopped worrying about it: as long as I can do a nice burnout occasionally and reliably expect the car to start every day and exceed the speed limit, I'm a happy guy.
  8. topher5150
    Joined: Feb 10, 2017
    Posts: 2,010


    I think it's pretty amazing what horsepower you can get, and what MPG you can get from a modern engine compared to 20+ years ago. I think if your not doing any racing but you want to do some spirited driving and have fun scaring the hell out of the wife I think the 300-400 range is more than you'll ever use.
    LM14, blakejr57 and rockable like this.
  9. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 18,496

    from Michigan

    The tach in my car starts redline at 7400 rpm.... I haven't taken the motor passed 4000 grand..... Yet!
    Guess I'm a chicken shit... :confused::rolleyes:
    Or, I'm getting to old for this crap.... :(
  10. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 4,521

    from red oak

    My avatar has a factory 427, my first car when I turned 16. People think it`s fast. I don`t tell them otherwise. Maybe I never knew slow. My next build will have a Mopar flat 6 with dual carbs.
  11. 6sally6
    Joined: Feb 16, 2014
    Posts: 1,209


    Come on guys.:mad: "250hp is enough for me.....I don't NEED to go over the speed limit.....I want 300HP and 18 MPG and that's fine!!!!!"
    I still can't get past the tight feeling in my chest(or pants!) when the carb is moaning and the headers are growling and the ass-end jerks to the right when I pin the throttle and wring-it-out occasionally. When I want 20+ MPG I get in the wife's Altama.
    Its more a mental thang than anything else.
    Same thing with a bad-ass may not be the fastest (or the biggest):rolleyes: but its more than the average showroom ride.....and you just KNOW it and know what to do with it.
    So get out there and turn that timing up/get a tunnel ram/install that 'max-effort' cam and drive them hot rods like you did 50 years ago!!
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
  12. ratrodrodder
    Joined: Feb 19, 2008
    Posts: 56

    from Baltimore

    I understand the desire for more power, but I also don't understand the actual need for it in a daily. Sure, I love to pass someone without having to wait...and wait....and wait, but I also love not getting speeding tickets, or being worried about spinning out in front of an oncoming dump truck when I'm trying to make the light while it's raining.

    The most HP I've ever driven is around 300hp, and that was a lot of fun in a 3500lb car. I can only imagine what some of the Hemi-fied hot rods, big block Cobras, etc. are like.

    Of course, that all being said, I'm currently building a SBC that should be good for 500+HP when I'm all finished, so who knows... *wink* *shrug*
    And at the end of the day, I'd really rather have more torque than HP, because unless I'm at Bonneville, I'll never see all that HP actually put to good use.
    Truckdoctor Andy and rockable like this.
  13. blakejr57
    Joined: Mar 7, 2017
    Posts: 39

    from Austin, TX

    Maybe I'm not the best to weigh in on this topic as I have never been a speed demon or risk taker, ever since I was a little kid. But another OT car site I follow has had me thinking and wondering some of the same things as the original poster.

    The mildly warmed over flathead in my shoebox is likely somewhere around 200 hp. As a cruiser, that's the sweet spot for me. What always gets to me when I am out for a drive is how fast everyone wants to go in town when there's stoplights every block, Ubers and Lyfts stopping in traffic everywhere, people on f*ing scooters darting in and out of traffic....If I'm not off the line and up to speed practically instantly, people are right on my ass.

    I have driven my father-in-law's OT C3 a handful of times, which comes in somewhere around 600 HP, and I couldn't imagine trying to wring the top half of that out of it even on the deserted roads you can find down in the Rio Grande Valley where he lives. Perhaps it's living in godawful-traffic-having Austin, but I can't see where most of the people driving these high HP cars can utilize even a fraction of it without taking it to the strip. Of course there are plenty of them ripping around I-35, MoPac, 183 like aholes, but you can also see guys doing that in clapped out 20 year old Civics with paper tags and rotten exhausts.

    I don't really buy into the whole "compensation" idea that a few have raised, but I do think it's kind of a stupid competitive thing with most of the people who are buying them (not that they themselves are stupid, for the record). Like, it's one thing to be competitive if you are actually building it, or doing the work yourself, but I'd venture a guess that most of these buyers are not; the real competition is who has the credit score or $ to buy one. I don't have anything against people who want to buy them, only the ones who drive them on city streets in such a way to put everyone else at risk. Probably most of those people aren't car people so much as attention seekers and bauble collectors, but I know there are some true gearheads out there who look around and see where we are now with engines, HP, and auto technology right now and think they are in heaven.

    Anyway, last thought is that I definitely agree with the guy who said it's more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow. Had some of the most fun of my life ripping around rural roads in Central Texas in my friends' little OT econoboxes in the mid-late 90s--and some of them were 3 cylinders with less than 100 hp!
    rockable likes this.
  14. 31hotrodguy
    Joined: Oct 29, 2013
    Posts: 1,806


    Do big horse power cars impress me? Why yes, yes they do. With that being said, I’ll typically walk right by a big blower bbc car with huge tires that couldn’t pass tech without being reconfigured to look at an old jr stock car or gasser that maybe made 400hp in the old days (300hp or less if it is a jr stocker.) I guess I prefer real hot rods over big money show cars with power adders. So how much is enough??? I’m building an on topic 57 with an off topic engine combo (which strangely will look more on topic than a lot of guys stuff I see on here but per the rules will remain off the hamb) and it will comfortably make enough to push the car right up to the no roll bar limit.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  15. I have always had a car that was modified to produce excess horsepower, and always enjoyed the better performance. I don't speed (more than 10 over the limit) any more, but I thoroughly enjoy having the power and torque of a big block. 400 hp or so, is enough, but power to weight and a good handling vehicle are the keys to an enjoyable hobby.
    I used to fly fighters, so I have a need to feel that acceleration every once in awhile, but it is for the acceleration and not the top speed that is exciting to me, and always on a good deserted stretch of road and no traffic. It is not the same as the 60s, when you might be the only car on the road.
    31hotrodguy, Deuces and rockable like this.
  16. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 13,612

    from oregon

    In all honesty, I didn't start driving until 1969 but all my early cars were built before 65.
    I never had a problem going fast, the stopping on the other hand was sketchy.
  17. I'll take a mid '60's Mopar that looks mean and sounds nasty and probably won't break 13 seconds any day over a 10 second modern day computer in a car body.
  18. S10_Man
    Joined: Oct 29, 2018
    Posts: 18


    Long ago I had a car that I stuffed a Street Hemi into, with a 4 speed. Don't know the hp, but it was a blast to drive. But with manual steering and drum brakes it was a terror if things got a little sideways, and it nearly killed me once. A light T or A with a small block anything would be plenty now at my age.
  19. Slopok
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,562


    I have a hard enough time trying to not wet my pants without having anything to stimulate a situation!:eek:
    j-jock, 31hotrodguy, i.rant and 3 others like this.
  20. Torana68
    Joined: Jan 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,179

    from Australia

    The limit is my wallet , I could build a high horse power engine but then I have to find the $ for the drivetrain. So I’m limiting the model A to 450-500hp and still keep the engine “old” looking.

    Attached Files:

    31hotrodguy and mgtstumpy like this.
  21. As someone else pointed out, I’d much rather have higher torque than horsepower. To me, the torque is much more fun than horsepower. I think that’s why my daily has only 370 Horsepower, but 860 foot pounds of torque.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  22. gto66pont
    Joined: Feb 11, 2006
    Posts: 22


    Starts up good. Sounds good looks cool gets me there. That’s all this old man needs these days
    1953naegle, Deuces and 47ragtop like this.
  23. I hope this enough for me.

  24. X-cpe
    Joined: Mar 9, 2018
    Posts: 978


    If you have more HP than chassis to handle it, you're just pissing away the most expensive portion of the HP.
    AldeanFan, 31hotrodguy and AHotRod like this.
  25. RmK57
    Joined: Dec 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,544


    Truckdoctor Andy likes this.
  26. I feel that 375-400 HP is just a healthy street motor. That is what I usually run my small blocks at in my own cars.

    I am also 65 and while I tend to drive a little more sanely than I once did I am still liable to exceed the speed limit on the open road.

    Now someone is no doubt going to say that you cannot have too much HP. I don't have to read the thread to know that. I have proven than you can. In the @raven 's roadster when we were running my small block on the 7.00x16s I had it tuned so that he could run low 12s (consistently). he insisted that he needed more zot so I set it on kill, just to prove a point. He went up in smoke then slipped and slid to a low 13. yes to can have too much. ;)
  27. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 13,612

    from oregon

    When the final results came in from the dyno session on my roadster engine I was expecting horsepower in the 500 plus range but my builder told me the single biggest limiting factor would be the hydraulic roller cam, he was right, even with a few of his own parts swapped in, it only squeaked out 465 hp but considering the cars' weight I'm sure I'll still be able to get into plenty of trouble.


    wicarnut, j-jock, 31hotrodguy and 4 others like this.
  28. I will take a good honest 250 to 300 horsepower on the street all day long.

    I don't believe the horsepower numbers on these new cars.
    Modern Big Block D.I.R.T. modifieds (467 C.I.D.) are making 800-850 H.P. with all after market parts block, cranks, rods ect...
    There is a 427 L.S. spec option, it uses the stock 427 L.S Corvette block the displacement is increased to 454 with after market crank, rods,heads a racing cam.
    It uses a Holley 4 bbl and an accessory drive mag. They are making 650-700 H.P. (These engines get a wight brake)
    How can an engine that supposedly makes 800 H.P. in its stock from be bored, stroked and loaded with race components and make less power?

    Where are they making this horsepower? What good is 600, 700, 800 horsepower if it is made out of the R.P.M. range you are ever going to see on the street?
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
  29. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 8,176


    My 35 Chebby has 190hp 5lt SBC, my 46 Olds has a 450hp 383SBC and my 64 Ford has a 425hp 427. I haven't got the budget or balls to go for any more HP. The faster you go or the more HP you want it costs, and when it breaks it costs more to fix.
    Why do the manufacturers do it, because they can and have the resources and knowledge. They give people what they want and if they don't want it, they soon will! Brinkmanship or phallic symbol, mine is bigger and better than yours, it makes more HP or torque and is environmentally friendly at 30mpg with reduced emissions. ;)
    loudbang and rockable like this.
  30. My roadster has a built 425 Buick nailhead around 450Hp in a 2000 pound car that's enough for me. Gets with the program real nice.

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