Hypothetical question:

If the OPEC oil crisis never occured, realistically what would muscle cars have developed into if the trend in 1964-1972 pre-Crisis was already cars getting bigger, with bigger engines?

More of the same? Could we realistically have seen midsize become as big as full size with engines breaking the 500ci ceiling and even wilder graphics than what were put on many (GTO Judge, 1970-1971 'Cuda, etc.)?

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  1. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    at some point they would stop growing because they would reach a point where weight to power ratio makes them actually slower despite having bigger engines
    note that 426 turned out to be better than 440 despite being smaller. generally on longer run small blocks outlived big blocks. big blocks are now used only in suvs and pickups.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >Could we realistically have seen midsize become as big as full size
      While this is possible I think it only would have happened to some cars. All cars started scaling up in size in the 70's so it definitely would have happened to at least some of them, but this was also partly due to the crisis as well. Until about 1975, luxury meant three things: speed, comfort, looks. If you couldn't have speed, then you had to double down on comfort and (what they thought at the time to be) looks. That's how we got boats; if you couldn't have a fast car, then you sure as hell had to give people a comfortable one. In a world where that market calculation didn't have to be made I think that most of the cars would have stayed roughly the same size. It's also worth noting that a lot of the surviving models from the muscle car era, such as the Camaro, Trans Am, and Mustang, actually did keep their overall sizes.

      >engines breaking the 500ci ceiling
      You would have had the frames and styles that you got in the late 70's but with more properly-tuned engines. Turbo and Superchargers would have been the next big battleground because after a while you would have had diminishing returns, not to mention you would have ultimately had limits on the sizes of engines that you can shove into certain cars.

      >even wilder graphics
      This is the one I doubt. While we might have gotten that for a little bit, even before the crisis it was clear that things were kinda trending away from this in terms of taste. Sleek minimalism and gaudy luxury were the looks of the day and continued to the 80's.

      While this logic is sound at very large scales, the 426 is not better than the 440 due to the 440 being too big. They're better because the hemispherical combustion chambers of the 426 delivered more power. Even then, the difference is surprisingly slim and you can build 440s that rival 426s easily. There are even shops that build hemi heads for 440s and at that point the 426 is likely toast.

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        The 426 is good at making high revving power the RB 440s just couldn't make. RBs are limited to lower revs, while the Hemis, and B-block 383s could rev much more freely compatible to performance LA small blocks like the 273 Power Pak and 340. You get much more torque out of an RB hence why they put them in yachts, trucks, and RVs

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          >yachts, trucks, and RVs
          And as gas generators, surprisingly.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      The Hemi wasn't better because it was smaller, it was better because it was a thinly disguised thoroughbred racing engine with the bare minimum changed to make it somewhat streetable, whereas the RB family were ultimately bog standard family car engines.
      Compare the Ford 427 side oiler to the Ford 428CJ.

      We would have worse engines because OPEC forced manufacturers to deaign EFI and other shit

      That being said, OPEC should have been nukes for that and the west (USA) should have taken control of it.

      Fuel injection had been a thing since the 1950s. EFI was the natural evolution as computers got better. It would've taken longer to get there, but it definitely would've gotten there by the 1990s. I think mechanical fuel injection would've developed more instead.

  2. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Hypothetically, if fuel prices didn't jump up in 2008 and if CAFE standards didn't exist, would we have a 707 horsepower supercharged Dodge by 2014?

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Maybe we'd have one by 1980

  3. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    We would have worse engines because OPEC forced manufacturers to deaign EFI and other shit

    That being said, OPEC should have been nukes for that and the west (USA) should have taken control of it.

  4. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Muscle cars were already dying out by 1972 because insurance companies had caught on to the scheme and were jacking the rates on 'factory hot rods' through the roof. There's a reason why the cutoff is generally considered 1971 rather than 1973. Remember that the switch from gross to net horsepower was to placate insurers.

    Cars would've continued to get bigger in the pursuit of more interior space and high speed long distance cruising (I can imagine more states would've either abolished speed limits like Wyoming/Nevada did, or raised them to above 75mph), and the performance gains from the horsepower wars would've meant even basic family cars would've ended up with north of 400 horsepower as standard. Japanese and European cars would've never gained a foothold, meaning their associated automotive sectors would be a fraction of what they are today (there was a period of about 30 years when ¾ of all Japanese and Euro cars produced were being sold in the US).

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >Remember that the switch from gross to net horsepower was to placate insurers.
      The thing though is that engineering-wise this didn't really do a whole lot until smog, emissions, and efficiency controls started to really get serious in 1974+. The switch from gross to net was a wink and a nudge and initial smog controls were just extra parts bolted onto existing engines, sometimes with a slight detune. It was the industry's way of saying "oh nooooo, our cars are too fun? Guess we'll have to DROP THE NUMBERS and DE-TUNE them!" while keeping the majority of the engine the same and passing performance parts along via direct-from-factory magazines. By re-tuning engines and removing smog controls you could get all the power you wanted out of early mid-70's engines, a practice which people still do today.

      Once those engines stopped being made and less-efficient heads became standard on those that did, it was over.

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        You can say the same thing about engines from deep in the malaise era. the only appreciable difference between a 350 from 1979 and one from 1971 are the cam profile, carb tune, and the smog equipment.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          That's cool actually, didn't know that they remained so similar even that far in. Boomerlore often talks about how everything in that era is unsalvageable, but then again Boomerlore is often just as wrong as it is right so I should have anticipated this.

  5. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Realistically, we would have had a distillation of motorsports research and development hitting broad consumer manufacturing. What people seem to misunderstand is that there were serious developments in performance outside of horsepower happening simulatneously during the era. By 1973, pushrod V8s had reached a point of diminishing returns. The 500ci Caddy engine was not the monster that the 426 Hemi or 427 Cobra Jet were.

    Without restrictions, we likely would have seen further development into aerodynamics and suspension geometry. Both were seeing huge developments by the late 60s. This was being driven not just by the performance of the Daytona and Superbird, but also because of Trans Am racing and, most importantly, NHRA racing. The big kicker from the era is that the 340, 350, and 351 were beginning to eclipse the big blocks in terms of packaging for performance. A 426 was insane at the time, but guys were camming 340s and getting comparable performance in an engine less prone to failure.

    Logically, what we would have probably seen is nearly what happened. Development would have shifted to mid-sized platforms (Challenger, Camaro, Mustang) utilizing high revving small blocks, sophisticated coil spring suspension, and aerodynamic bodywork to gain higher performance at lower consumer cost. Furthermore, by the 70s both supercharger and turbocharger technology was getting to the point of ubiquity. Loads of NHRA teams were fielding force inducted cars pushing absolutely batshit horsepower. Manufacturers were taking notice and were toying with them already. The aforementioned, theoretical car could have easily been sold with optional force inducted engines, further driving the preference for small displacement engines that could handle the boost more efficiently with higher RPM ranges.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      There is a world where, in 1979, Dodge produced a Challenger T/A with double wishbone front suspension, coil sprung rear axle, an aerodynamically refined, almost wedge-like body, powered by a 340ci, positive displacement V8 rocking 600 crank horsepower and rolling on radial tires that could actually put the power to the ground.

      Frick.

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Wedgies being aero friendly is a normalgay meme

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Cope, high drag gay

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >By 1973, pushrod V8s had reached a point of diminishing returns. The 500ci Caddy engine was not the monster that the 426 Hemi or 427 Cobra Jet were.
      I think we would have reached a plateau with engine size, since the 500 only reached the market around the time the crisis and emissions happened. The caddy 500 was also a luxury car engine meant to make smooth power, but aftermarket proved them to be capable engines. I think what really would have happened is head technology and performancr experimentation with forced induction would have reached greater heights. Imagine if instead of meeting emissions tech, companies poured r&d into building engines more capable of running boost and whatnot. We'd probably have decent mechanical fuel injection by the end of the 70s and turbocharged big blocks & small blocks. I could see the 80s being the era of ohc small blocks and a renaissance of forced induction. The big 3 would probably end up having their own coyotes by then but with even greater displacement. The average engine size would probably end up around 400ci seeing how that was the upper limit of the small block, with the lower end models being 350. Another real thing that could have happened is rotary engine developement. The oil crisis killed it but gm had a proven 4 rotor at the time planned, and without the emissions and oil price rise, I could see it having become a thing, even if for only a few years, which would be enough for a handful of more companies to keep it in their lineup for smaller sports cars. I'm not sure whether downsizing was something planned before or after the oil crisis though. Its hard to say. I want to say the cadillac downsizing was planned since before the crisis, but I also know lincoln outsold cadillac while selling the same big continental with a big block, so the market change wasn't as exaggerated as most companies would have banked on

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        It's a fun thought experiment. I do disagree on one thing, though. I find it unlikely that OHC would habe become a standard. They were experimenting with them during the era, but pushrod V8s were lower complexity and more cost effective. Even when considering factory boosted applications, they likely would have stuck to OHV because of the cost effectiveness and reliability. After all, boost compensates well for low RPM engines - especially with positive displacement superchargers which were becoming popular in the street racing and NHRA scenes.

        If anything, I think there would have been a splinter off of the V8 Wars. Imagine Dodge selling a Dart with an OHC Slant Six outfitted with a twin scroll turbo setup. There might have been a whole renaissance of compact performance out of the US and probably a whole different landscape of Rally. I can see Novas and Darts competing right alongside Group B - trimmed to weight and pushing moronic power figures out of massive displacement I4s and 6s. It would have been magical.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          I think this is the better call. People have to realize that those massive engines were rare for a reason: they were really fricking expensive for the average person. The number of 426s were low because there just weren't enough people around to buy them, so they just didn't get assembled.

  6. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    I often wonder where we'd be if Nascar didn't ban the Ford cammer engine.

  7. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >tfw you will never live in a world where every car has a huge V8 pushing 400 HP minimum, has cam profile buttons and factory exhaust cutouts, and gets over 30mpg
    why do crybabies have to whine about emissions? Who cares about the planet when cars are cooler?

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