Ford's new "Coyote" 5.0L V-8 might look like a traditional V-8 powerplant, but it's the fi
This month, we focus on the core of our readership-you. All across the country, guys and gals are concocting their muscle machines in their own garages with parts from a dizzying array of manufacturers-some of them aftermarket vendors and some of them original equipment manufacturers. We like to think what we're doing is unique. There's a decidedly American quality about bending and cajoling sometimes extremely dissimilar parts into combinations never dreamed of.
But taking a step back and viewing our hobby from a loftier vantage point, we see that all the fodder for our creations comes from a pretty modest set of key inventions. Consider the overhead-valve cam-in-block V-8 engine, the SLA front suspension, disc brakes, the unibody construction, and the torque converter, to name a few. Take any of these pieces out of the time line, and modern hot rodding life looks vastly different.
In this issue, we take our first drive in the '11 Mustang GT 5.0. Granted, none of the technologies in this watershed hot rod are brand new, but rather it is the synergistic way in which they are combined. If you're a true car nut, you need to testdrive a new 5.0-liter. Even if you're not a Ford guy, you'll appreciate the artfulness that went into this car to produce its scalding hot performance, its refined street manners, and its great fuel economy. You'll know from the first twist of the key that hard-core hot rodders designed and built it. On the GM side, we've also learned that they will be coming out with a Gen V small-block starting in 2013. For the first time in a V-8, it will combine a hit parade of technologies that will push performance and efficiency to unseen levels. We've all seen direct injection, independent camshaft phasing, variable injection timing, and displacement on demand, but combining them all together is a task that's never been done, let alone on such a mass-produced level. If we want to keep having our performance cake and eating it, this is our path.
It's pretty heady stuff. If you turn back the clock to 1955 and think about how much of a breakthrough Ed Cole's small-block Chevy engine design was, you can see where all this is leading. Up to that time, Ford's Flathead V-8-introduced in 1932-was the most influential hot rod engine ever produced. In another 25 years, the engines that are considered cutting edge today will proliferate under the hoods of hot rods, much as we've seen the LS engine do in recent years.
As time marches forward, the major technology pieces that the muscle car hobby draws from will change. As in the past, these parts will filter down from the OEMs and show up with increasing regularity in our creations. Electronic steering, six-speed automatic transmissions, stability control, and even hybrid engines will become commonplace, just as power steering, overdrive, disc brakes, and fuel injection already have. Early adopters will pave the way, making it less expensive for the rest of us. Eventually, we'll wonder why we did it any other way.
Only one thing has really changed. In the past, we've always had the freedom to choose our parts and our technologies. As we look ahead, the prospect for freedom of choice in our hot rodding affairs looks grim. As the past has shown us, when given the choice, most of us want clean air, fuel economy, safety, and efficiency. It turns out we want this for ourselves and our children, all on our own-without our government forcing it on us through capricious or arbitrary laws born of special interest.
If you want to continue building your project car at home in your garage, there is something you can do. To protect your passion, join the SEMA Action Network for free. Log onto www.SEMASAN.com, and find out how to protect your hot rodding rights.
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