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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. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 41,124


    Torque is applied power. Power can be anything that can be measured, light, electricity, heat it is a nominal term.

    On a side note in theoretical physics it is accepted that light can move or displaced weight. theoretical being the operative word here. They have not yet designed a metering that can measure light actually moving anything of substance. But men/women working in applied physics are still trying to prove the theory. I think that they eventually will but it has no bearing on how much power is too much or enough when it comes to traditional hotrods.
    Desoto291Hemi likes this.
  2. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 43,668


  3. boo
    Joined: Jul 6, 2005
    Posts: 530

    from stuart,fl.

    just finished hopping up for more HP. hi com. pres head large valves, 302 CRANE cam, full balace, newer ign, large bore, after market intake, later carb lighten flywheel, OD. 4.11 rear, now i have a blistering 50HP in my A, all i will ever need....can still out run my brakes.
  4. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,250


    I had to run South, to take care of a customer today. I was in the wife's German road missile, locked-in at early tripple-digits, in the hinterlands.

    I got passed by a McLaren P1, like I was going backwards, at 50.

    Were it not for seeing the wing tuck down, I would not have been able to identify it.

    No matter what you have, someone will be faster, and will be able to afford the tickets.

    And it occurs to me, I don't recall seeing a license plate.

    At that speed, nobody could read it, no California jurisdiction will chase it.
    swade41, 31hotrodguy and chevy57dude like this.
  5. For me personally, there’s always going to be someone faster. Build what you want. I’ve never really been into speed as the cost to go fast will take away from another purchase (car, parts, tools, toys.....). Speed and A.D.D don’t go hand in hand.
  6. Ask Kevin Hart's buddy about to much HP. :rolleyes:
    rockable and Deuces like this.
  7. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 4,760

    jimmy six

    That bozo could drive...what a maroon.
    Deuces likes this.
  8. Black_Sheep
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 1,020


    As long as it scares me a little when I drop the hammer, that's enough. The car itself is a huge factor, I've been in cars that were terrifying at 100mph and others that 100 mph was completely comfortable...
    Deuces likes this.
  9. Pete1
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 1,659

    from Wa.

    It doesn't matter what venue you talk about, there is a point where most people say that is enough horsepower for me, OR, they say I don't have enough but can't afford any more.
    For me, too much was never enough in vintage circle racing. I had a car that handled like it was on a string on dirt.
    It had WAY too much hp for the car but after learning to drive it, it was the most fun you could have with your clothes on.
    Most of you have seen 410 sprint cars on TV and I can say that is a scary ride at first but like anything, seat time makes it super fun. Any time you can do a 1/4 mile circle dirt track under 11 seconds, IT IS FUN!!!
    At my age I am not going get out there with other cars though.
    Right now I will stick to Bonneville. Only one car on the track at a time and it has as much hp as you can afford.
  10. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 3,706



    There have been many times that I wished my 1940 Ford Sedan Delivery still had the 348 Chevy motor in it. With the lightweight body/chassis of the smaller sedan delivery and all of the 348 Chevy power that I know about, that sedan delivery would have been the next thing to Nirvana. At the time, no one had that combination of motor and hot rod styling body. There was an Buick motor in a 2 door sedan, an Olds in a 34 coupe, but no 348 in a sedan delivery, or for that matter, in any car except for those 1958 Impalas.
    The 1958 Impala had 280 hp from the stock 348 ci motor. It was very powerful with the added Racer Brown Cam and lifters, some head work, maybe 300hp. It was the C&O Stick Hydro that made the difference. Get a lead and the 348 holds it well for 14 seconds, for a powerful “throw you back in the seat” acceleration and race.

    1940 Willys Coupe with a 292 SBC with 671 and all of the speed parts necessary to go 12.6 seconds was over the top in acceleration and power. If the seats weren’t bolted to the floor, we would have been thrown back out of the window. That motor was a special build and maybe not for everyday driving on the street. We did take it for several Friday and Saturday night hot rod cruises, but the 2.5 Moon Tank limited us on distance with stopping for gas every 20 minutes.


    Currently, my wife has a 300 hp station wagon. On You Tube, there was another completely similar wagon, set up exactly stock, it turned 13 sec in the quarter and beat a Dodge Challenger in the race. That is enough horsepower for her and still gets 20 mpg. She feels safe and comfortable while being able to pass obstructions in the driving scene.

    She comments that I could have any car I want, but secretly, she has the final controlling factor in most decisions. She knows I like power, even though throughout our time together, it has been mostly good power to weight ratio cars, not over the top cars. They not only have style, but get great gas mileage and comfort for our road trips. No hot rod, show car power was needed, just something that gets from one place to another with ease.

    But after seeing a sports coupe one night on a dinner outing, in the back of our minds, that was THE car to have one day. So, a few years later, it just happens to have 333 hp and goes fast on any surface. The cornering and braking is top notch with the added power over stock. My wife calls it the modern version of a 50’s hot rod sedan. But with much more in safety and handling, as well as 333 hp.


    Does it throw you back in the seat upon full acceleration from a dead start? Yes and more so, as the car flies down the street. My wife is happy and so am I. It too, has more acceleration than the last version of the 300+ hp 58 Impala. Back then, the Impala was impressive at the drags and full power races in Bixby Knolls. But, this newer “hot rod” is not just a drag race car, it is a daily driver with untold extras for that quiet moment that explodes with full acceleration.

    The three items are keepers for the last time in this long haul of ours. The two cars sitting in the garage and my wife. (actually 4…our little dog, too.) When asked what old hot rod build we would be driving around these days if we had one? A 40 Ford Convertible for my wife and a 4 speed, 65 Chevelle 2 door station wagon… have to be practical, you know. Those two would be enough for both of us, for now...IF.
  11. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 574


    300 to 400 horses spread out with a nice wide lobe separation of 112-114 with 500 lbs of torque.. My present 454 is a low compression 1978 motor. I have the timing set to 21 initial, 12 mechanical in at 3000, no vacuum. It has a th400 and a 2.73 rear end gears.. I really like how well it performs on the street.. For the street, I like the power to be right off idle, not up in the 3000 range..
  12. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 3,866

    Ned Ludd

    Enough is the absolute maximum which money and cleverness can produce within the parameters of my chosen design ethic. I don't have a lot of money, and I don't hold with a lot of current technological paradigms; so that means I'll need more cleverness.
  13. This is a great subject. I just had this conversation with my 74 yo Uncle. He had a Hemi Charger when I was a kid. We got passed by a newer Corvette on the Highway and he said “why does anyone need something that fast” we started talking about Demons, GT500’s, Hellcats and he didn’t get it..said 400hp is enough to kill you and anyone around you in a good wreck, says where ya gonna drive a car like that. I got the “go fast” bug with my Falcon..but instead of taking the easy junkyard 302 roller motor I decided to go the old school route and build a 289 motor with some go fast goodies thrown at it..realistically the 1 hp per cubic inch rule is pretty good with a relatively mild motor with a little more cam , maybe some compression, and a good tune. I wanted torque in this motor..that’s what ya feel in the seat of your pants. I’m hoping with the cam, heads, and compression I put into it I’ll get 350 hp with a solid torque curve...but for what I got into the motor, trans, upgraded brakes , and suspension I coulda bought a used 8 yo 5.0 and had ac, power steering, etc etc...but I still don’t think it would be as fun as my Falcon.
    AHotRod likes this.
  14. I'll let ya know when I get there

  15. 1953naegle
    Joined: Nov 18, 2013
    Posts: 212


    I'm young and still have a lot to learn, but my signature sums it up for me. It really has nothing to do with the numbers so much as what the numbers DO. My 53's an old cruizer. The stock power plant is perfect for that. I don't really know how my 115 HP translates, but It gets me from one point to another in style and is really fun to drive. It picks up and impresses me regularly too (for a rusty 4-dr.).

    My 54' is going to see some improvements to the 235 6, but It's more of the same with hopefully a little faster response and more "fun."

    I don't race, but I know it's about a lot more than just 1000's of HP. It's tactical and takes a lot of skill and brains. HP is just one tool in the shed. I think seeking more HP than you "need" goes along the same lines as alot of misguided expectations in the old car world. People build a car with a check list of things that they are "supposed" to have without ever stepping back and thinking about why they want to build a car in the first place and what does the car have to offer to begin with. You don't HAVE TO chop, lower, bag, patina, shave, etc. etc. to have a really cool and unique ride that's fun to drive, gets the girls, and gets you in trouble. If knowing that you have more HP than you'll ever use on the street is what YOU want, that's cool. It's not my thing though.
  16. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,282


    I think it largely depends on what your goals are in the build. There's no one right answer. For those of us who aren't trying to build a performance car necessarily, but just want a car that has strong acceleration, less may be fine. But that number may be significantly different in say a Model A versus a big 50s era barge. Vintage performance is cool for sure, but it's just not what I'm really into.

    There's also a difference between actual speed and perception of speed. 60 mph in a model A with unboxed rails and a flatty may feel like the space shuttle on reentry, whereas 120 mph in a modern German sedan is a walk in the park. The former will be far more exciting than the latter.
    31hotrodguy, X-cpe and rockable like this.
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 2,750


    Its like my Granny told me, just before she fell off the Harley,
    "Sonny, if some is good...
    and more is better...
    ...then too much is just enough."

    But Granny also said there was no substitute for cubic inches.
    WRONG Granny.

    Traction control
    Ride control
    MORE boost
    Knock sensors
    Direct injection
    Materials Science
    and a whole host of other technological features that make mega HP viable in today's cars.
    I've got a 250-ish HP 5.0 Mustang GT engine in a buggy sprung Model A tub and its a white-knuckler for sure.
    But my Ford Engineering buddy took me for a ride in his CobraJet Mustang 750HP-upgraded-to-900HP. Rolling along at 55 he stabbed it and lit 'er up like a Top Fueler, leaving two black streaks right down the middle of the Southfield Freeway and leaving us nearly bonded to the seat backs. The car barely even whimpered and went straight as a string.

    You don't have to like or even understand it but for some car buffs if the auto industry can do it then they want it. And if enough want it then the auto industry will do it.
    In some respects these are 'the good old days' of motoring.
    Others may argue, "Progress was OK once, but it went on too long."
    Its a big world with room for varying opinions.
    BrerHair and 31hotrodguy like this.
  18. What normal hot rodder doesn't want to let the teenage idiot loving inside us out ever so often, to blister the tires and drive faster than the posted speed limit, the problem is we often don't pick the proper time to hand the controls over to the "damn the torpedo's full speed ahead" young man just waiting to be released.

    When that happens common sense goes right out the drivers window, been there done that, and unlike the old saying I got the T shirt to prove it, I got the ticket for excessive speed & reckless driving.

    My old beater has enough power to get me in trouble, regardless of my mental state. o_O HRP
    31hotrodguy and Dick Stevens like this.

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