Yes, you read the title right, emissions standards are a good thing. If we didn’t have them, we wouldn’t have all the awesome engines that we have today.
Muscle cars were already on the decline before the manufacturers had to do much of anything with emissions standards. And having to clean up the exhaust on the cars forced them to make major improvements to the engines. Yes it was painful for a while, but look what we have for engines now.
As a comparison, let’s look at the Ford 302 and the modern DOHC 5.0. There is only like 9CC difference in displacement, so it is close enough to call them the same. The highest power rating I could find for the 302 in the muscle car era was a Shelby HO version that put out 315 horsepower and 333 lb-ft of torque. The 5.0 in Boss 302 trim made 444 HP and 380 lb-ft of torque.
And the modern 5.0 is rated for 17 MPG city and 26 MPG highway with the manual transmission. I would be surprised if the 302 could manage 17 MPG highway. Yes, I know the overdrive transmission in the new car helps, as does the improved aerodynamics, but it is a big improvement.
Now I think things may be going to far, since there are rumors that Chrysler is going to stop making V8 cars. Sure it is just a rumor, but that would mean no longer having awesome engines like the Hellcat available. Sure, I will probably never own one, but just the fact that they exist is great.
Yes turbo V6 engines such as the Ford EcoBoost are awesome, but lets hope the V8s continue to be around.
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