What would cars be like?

D

Doug Chahoy

Royal Smart Person
Nov 21, 2016
1,825
113
I’ve often wondered what cars would be like today if the insurance companies and gas crisis hadn’t put an end to the first muscle car era. Engines were getting bigger yearly. In the Chevy Impala/Caprice from 67 to 71 the base engine increased every year from 283 to 400. Hp and torque were above 500 for some special engines. But fuel mileage was around single digits with gas prices ( Pgh Pa ) between $.28 and $.32 a gallon. Would we have 1,200 ci. engines with 2,000 hp. ? Or would the manufactures eventually gone the route they have in getting good power numbers and MPGs on they’re own?
 
lilbowtie

lilbowtie

Comic Book Super Hero
Jan 7, 2006
2,894
113
Canton Mi
Good question that we will never know. You should have thrown the biggie in there - emissions. I know I said if gas ever hits $1.00 a gallon I'm walking - that didn't happen and you guessed I'm old. If you have ever driven a true 5-600 HP car on the street you know it's too much especially in the hands of someone that doesn't have a clue. Hard to say what supply and demand could have/would have been and goes back to your question IF.

Watch some of the show off fails vids

 
8

87National

Master Mechanic
Apr 15, 2009
369
43
eastern SD
I’ve often wondered what cars would be like today if the insurance companies and gas crisis hadn’t put an end to the first muscle car era. Engines were getting bigger yearly. In the Chevy Impala/Caprice from 67 to 71 the base engine increased every year from 283 to 400. Hp and torque were above 500 for some special engines. But fuel mileage was around single digits with gas prices ( Pgh Pa ) between $.28 and $.32 a gallon. Would we have 1,200 ci. engines with 2,000 hp. ? Or would the manufactures eventually gone the route they have in getting good power numbers and MPGs on they’re own?
I'd like to think that GM styling would have more or less remained the same. R&D dollars spent on meeting EPA regs would have been spent on better flowing cylinder heads....etc. The introduction of fuel injection might have been delayed.....and the evolution of the turbocharged 3.8 resulting in the mighty LC2 may not have ever happened.

I would say that without the gas crisis and EPA regs, by the end of the 70's.....cars leaving the factory running high 12s on street tires would have been a common sight.
 
69hurstolds

69hurstolds

Comic Book Super Hero
Supporting Member
Jan 2, 2006
3,651
113
The G-body GN, 442, MC SS, et al, would be the base model performance names....454's and 455's wouldn't have been killed off and/or neutered. 502's would be more in numbers. W30, GNX, SS 502, perhaps...heck, even the GN might have not even gone the way of a turbo 6. The world will never know.

Yet would the LS1/2, LT1, etc., have been conjured up? Maybe. Maybe they would have came anyway. They're kind of small enough to fit anywhere a SBC would have fit. Tucked between the frame rails of a Malibu....would they have the need to go FWD even? I could live with an LS1 style Malibu in a 2 door with RWD. And would they even styled in the jellybean effect? Green Deal promoters would have been ridiculed off the face of the earth.

But who knows. We may have got here anyway, albeit slower.
 
C

ck80

Royal Smart Person
Feb 18, 2014
1,061
113
One thing for certain, I don't think you would've seen downsizing of car bodies.

The big 3 showed ZERO interest in making cars smaller, and cars kept getting bigger year by year.

The public wasn't buying smaller cars and didn't show interest in the blocky, tiny, uncomfortable seat holding econoboxes being shipped in.

How BIG would vehicles have gotten? Pushing the width of the roads like a heavy duty truck/tractor/dump? I'd think trucks themselves may have gotten to that width, with dually just tucked further inside the bed. Just look at generation over generation changes.
 
pontiacgp

pontiacgp

Canadian Prime Minister
Mar 31, 2006
27,246
113
Kitchener, Ontario
I'd like to think that GM styling would have more or less remained the same. R&D dollars spent on meeting EPA regs would have been spent on better flowing cylinder heads....etc. The introduction of fuel injection might have been delayed.....and the evolution of the turbocharged 3.8 resulting in the mighty LC2 may not have ever happened.

I would say that without the gas crisis and EPA regs, by the end of the 70's.....cars leaving the factory running high 12s on street tires would have been a common sight.
and back then who would have thought we'd have grocery getting mini vans doing 0-60 in 7 seconds
 
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Supercharged111

Master Mechanic
Oct 25, 2019
427
93
I don't think we'd be where we are today. The manufacturers were forced to do it this way. They'll always choose the path of least resistance. We may have kept the power and the big cars, but I have my doubts that my tight, light, high 20mpg C5Z would have ever come to fruition in the form that it did. Don't overlook the crash testing rules that have shaped the modern car as well.
 
popeye1978

popeye1978

Greasemonkey
Jul 4, 2014
121
28
In 1995 my parents bought a '93 Bonneville; soon after that purchase my mother imposed a rule that from then on, whenever they bought a car she had to do a test drive which included going in reverse for a little bit ... this rule was imposed because it was difficult for her to see out the back on our long driveway (she's short & that car had high seatbacks + high rear tray) and apparently she hadn't done a test drive herself. For that reason I disagree with the idea the Big 3 cars would have just kept growing larger -- I think at some point there would have been a shift back to smaller cars (even if gas was still cheap) much like the swing to the Corvair & Mustang in the mid-'60s

For engine technology, I don't think "gas crisis" was as much a driver as "emissions" though I will cede the point that CAFE is stated in units of mpg ... as absent the gas crisis the swing to smaller cars would not have happened as quick as it did, so too I believe engine technology would be a few years behind, say in Alternate-2020 the state of the art would be what was state of the art in Actual-2014
 

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