GM squeezes the throttle on Silverado and Sierra pricing, Kimi Räikkönen heads back to NASCAR, VW unleashes an even more potent Golf. All this and more on today’s issue of The Morning Dump.
Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.
GM Cranks Up Full-Size Truck Pricing
It used to be fairly normal for each new model year of a car to come with a price hike. A little on the top for inflation, bing bong, out the door. Now though, things are shifting so rapidly within the automotive industry that the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 have received their third price hike since they went on sale. Third. [Editor’s Note: I’m fairly sure the Jeep Wrangler JL has gotten a price hike every year. This isn’t unusual, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck for consumers. -DT].
GM Authority reports that this latest round of price hikes adds $800 to the base price and $100 to the freight charge. That’s $900 extra across the board, whether you order a base-as-hell work truck or a fully-jammed Silverado High Country. Ouch. Still, it could be worse. If you need a Silverado HD for hauling anvils, towing bulk osmium, or pulling another Silverado HD, prices are going up by $1,000 on the MSRP and $100 on the freight charge. But what if you need to tow a 747 on your daily commute and don’t want a hideous truck? Well, that’s where the GMC Sierra HD comes in and it’s really going to cost you. Expect to pay an extra $2,000 across the board on MSRPs, plus another $100 ‘fuck you’ for the freight charge. Seriously? Right in front of my bagel? Look, I get that parts and raw materials are expensive these days, but why pump up the price on a GMC $1,000 more than the price on a Chevrolet? Is there just an ugly discount going on for the Silverado or what?
The Iceman Goes Back To NASCAR
How’s this for a weird headline? Kimi Räikkönen to race one of Pitbull’s NASCAR cup cars at Watkins Glen. Yes, it seems like Trackhouse Racing, owned by Justin Marks and Mr. Worldwide, is truly going worldwide with its Project 91 initiative. But wait, how did we get here?
According to Trackhouse Racing, Project 91 is an initiative to bring some of the best international drivers from all disciplines into NASCAR. For Räikkönen, it was a fairly easy step to take. The Iceman’s run at Charlotte twice, once in a Nationwide-series Car of Tomorrow, and once in a truck, so there’s some NASCAR experience on the table. What could help Räikkönen is the nature of the Glen. Even though NASCAR doesn’t use the full course, there’s still plenty of elevation change and spots to attack, things that almost seem tailored to a driver coming from open-wheel cars. Set an alarm for August 21 at 3:00 p.m. if you want to see what Kimi can do on a road course in a Gen-7 cup car. I must admit, I’m pretty excited.
Volkswagen Launches A Special Fast Golf
It’s hard to believe that the Mark IV Golf R32 launched in Europe 20 years ago, but here we are. While it definitely wasn’t perfect – the Mark IV was a bit of a pudding – it really set a super-hatch blueprint. Transverse powertrain, all-wheel-drive, sport seats, plenty of power. While we definitely won’t see another small V6 in a hatchback any time soon, nearly every really fast hot hatch in the past ten years followed that template. Of course it also helps that the R32 looks wicked with bold blue paint as the signature color, a sweet set of 18-inch OZ Aristo wheels, and a front bumper as deep as Jay Leno’s chin.
As it turns out, I’m not the only one feeling nostalgic – Volkswagen is too. In celebration of 20 years of R, the former Beetle-peddlers have drummed up a special version of the latest Golf R. Dubbed the Golf R 20 Years, the name may be very “does what it says on the tin,” but the tweaks go beyond visual modifications. Sure, blue-faced wheels are shocking and various marks of “20” add a certain flair, but the real meat and potatoes is the revised powertrain calibration. Power is up to 328 from 315, there’s a new Terrify Your Neighbors Every Morning Before Work mode that revs the engine to 2,500 upon startup, and the ECU can now pre-load the turbocharger to reduce lag (possibly a spark-cut function). If you’re the sort of person who knows what part number 199 398 500 A is, you’d have likely realized that this is the most powerful production Golf of all time. Job done then. Oh, and before you think this is some sort of European-only deal, some version of the Golf R 20 Years is coming to North America. Here’s to hoping we get the full 328 horsepower.
Dodge Drops A Gaudy Durango
Is Halloween your favorite holiday? Did you own at least one article of clothing with Jack Skellington on it? Are you a Mopar fan with questionable taste? If you answered yes to any of these, Dodge might just have the vehicle for you. It’s called the Durango R/T Hemi Orange, and it’s a great concept with somewhat sub-par execution.
Look, V8s are good, yeah? So a throwback-inspired Hemi Durango sounds very good on paper. Unfortunately, not everything happens on paper. Instead of anything bold or stylish, the Durango R/T Hemi Orange gets a sad offset black-and-orange stripe, orange emblems, orange interior stitching like a Nissan Sentra SR, and a satin black tail light that Dodge currently isn’t showing. Opt for the confusingly-named Tow N Go package and you also get orange Brembo brake calipers. Look, I understand that orange is an important color in Mopar history, but why half-ass this? Paint the whole damn SUV orange, give it massive black strobe stripes, make the Tow N Go package with its Bilstein dampers and massive brakes mandatory. Ensure bystanders know that it’s a factory job rather than some kid who got hold of some Plasti-Dip. I understand that this special appearance pack is meant to mimic the Hemi Orange Challengers and Chargers, but it just doesn’t work on this scale. The stripe on the Durango doesn’t even go over the roof. Now, if you do happen to like poorly-executed stripes, you can tack the Hemi Orange pack onto any Durango R/T for $1,995. Honestly? I’d recommend putting that $1,995 toward the excellent Tow N Go package instead.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on this edition of The Morning Dump. With Kimi coming to NASCAR for another race, I figure it’s time to play a fantasy game. If you could get any driver to compete in any discipline of motorsport, what would be your first move? Personally, I’d really love to see Sebastien Loeb do some dirt oval racing in a sprint car. There have to be some transferable skills there, right?
In the same vein as the Silverado price increases:
My sister-in-law’s boyfriend ordered a Camaro ZL1 1LE about 6 months ago and has heard that if his car doesn’t get built soon as a 2022, the price (in Canada at least) will be getting bumped up $5000 in 2023. I’m not sure if the price increase applies to all ZL1s or just the 1LE package (or a combination of both), but it sure seems like GM is actively dissuading people from ordering cars GM really doesn’t want to build.
“If you could get any driver to compete in any discipline of motorsport, what would be your first move?”
Katherine Legge in whatever the hell she wants to run. I’ve met her in person, wonderful person, and an amazing driver. She’s already done just about all there is (IMSA, DTM, IndyCar, European LeMans, and NASCAR.) Just let her pick her ride. It’ll be a damn good show.
Price hikes? Get used to it. Manufacturers have been gleefully bragging to shareholders that they’re going to squeeze blood from consumers by ratcheting down production to keep supply severely constrained, and using the excuse of the supply chain to increase base prices. For months. It’s not inflation, it’s exploitation.
Every single manufacturer has openly said that they absolutely will not return to pre-pandemic production, period. They want dealers with less than a month’s worth of inventory on their lots. They want the entire supply chain to be ‘just in time’ so they can have 10 people bidding for 1 car.
And thanks to unfettered and unchecked mega-consolidation, you can now expect to get screwed with a “market adjustment” on a new car by one of AutoNation’s over 350 dealerships, one of Penske’s thousands of locations, CarMax, or Lithia. Which they also have been crowing to shareholders about.
“WELL I’LL JUST BUY USED!” Used what? People aren’t able to buy new cars, so they have to keep their current car. There weren’t enough new cars to go around, and the quantity of 2021 Chevy Silverados can only go down over time. But sure. Buy used. CarMax and Carvana and Vroom are literally laughing their way to the bank.
Look at prices. They’re literally charging more for used cars than they sold for new. And people are paying it. A ’19 Civic EX with 28k miles will cost you $27k at CarMax with “no haggle” pricing. The original window sticker was $24,255.
And if you think the people in power are going to let any of this change ever again, dream on. They’ve already said they will literally do anything to ensure the situation never improves for you. Because it makes them more money.
It would literally be impossible for the people in charge to care less about the middle and lower classes of this country.
And pray that your current car doesn’t get totaled in a rear ender (mine did). The insurance adjusters haven’t caught up to the current market yet. I ended up paying paying quite a bit more for a lesser version of the car that got totaled.
How long ago did this happen? Did you appeal the adjuster’s decision?
Because Progressive just paid out far more than the remaining loan value for a car totaled in January, and I thought the loan was very upside-down. It was bought used last year, around March, based on immediate need, for what I thought was a ridiculously inflated price. And now the insurance payout is more than the original purchase price.
Eventually one of the OEMs will start producing cars and cut prices and everyone will follow. if they don’t, a Chinese company will come in and undercut them. either way eventually they’ll change their tune. Its going to suck until then though.
It’s just a bad time to buy a car, and a really bad time to buy a used car. I had to buy a truck last year. I was looking at 2019 Ram 1500’s and was finding that the used ones with half the warranty gone were only about $2000 less than a new one was going for (if you could find one). I was able to find a 2021, mostly configured the way I wanted, and at a dealer that charged me MSRP but still gave me the supplier discount (about $6500) plus another $500 conquest rebate). It felt crazy at the time to spend that much, but 10 months later, after seeing the price hikes and no improvement in the supply chain, I don’t feel as bad about spending that much or about buying new. The trade in value is still higher than I paid (because things just don’t make sense right now or money is just worth that much less), and a new one with the same equipment is almost $4000 more in 2022. And at least I traded in my 8 year old car for only about $3000 less than I had paid for it after using it for 5 years. I don’t typically buy new cars, but it was a better financial decision than getting my typical 2-3 year old car last year. it just means I’ll have to keep it for 8-9 years instead of my typical 5-6. I have to replace my wife’s car next year, and I want to get an EV again, but those are super hard to find. I hope it’s better by March.
Crap, I wasn’t even close with my “$4000 more”. I just priced my truck again, and it’s just shy of $7000 more if I bought it today. Trade-in value is still about the same I paid for it a year ago, and a private party sale would get me my tax payment back too. This is all just stupid and the price of used cars and gas (and transportation costs of goods and food) hurts so many hard working people in our economy.
You’re definitely misunderstanding my point though.
It’s going to permanently be a bad time to buy a car now.
Remember, in order for there to be used cars, people have to be replacing them with new cars. And once FCAlantis starts making ’23 Ram 1500’s? The supply of ’22 Ram 1500’s only goes down. This means that there are less cars for the used market, which pushes the used prices up. Which pushes more people out of the market.
The manufacturers are all actively conspiring to maximize their profit by ensuring this is a permanent state of affairs, where getting a new car is nearly impossible, and depreciation doesn’t happen.
This in turn makes more profit for them (higher prices and higher margins on new cars, less costs to make them,) makes more profit for their dealers (obscene margins on used cars, “market adjustment” bullshit, etc,) and results in a terminally lower supply of cars. If you assume a reasonable 5% per year attrition rate (accidents, lemons, etc.) average across all makes and models, and a 10% reduction in people looking for that model after 1 year (so basically we’re accounting for folks who will buy the one on the lot for a year or willing to buy a <10k mile repo, lease return, loaner, or demo,) the math looks something like this:
Year 1: Demand is 100%. Supply of the model is 85%. Prices are elevated.
Year 2: Demand is 100%. Supply of the model is 80%. Model does not depreciate.
Year 3: Demand is 90%. Supply of the model is 75%. Prices just stay high.
Year 4: Demand is 80%. Supply of the model is 70%. Prices are still high.
Year 5: Demand is 70%. Supply of the model is 65%. You guessed it.
Obviously I'm oversimplifying a great deal here, but it's a classic death-spiral. There's less supply for unchanged or increased demand on a durable good, production is deliberately being manipulated to be insufficient for demand, this results in fewer goods being available down the line (the used market,) which was already showing that supply was insufficient for demand. And now there's going to be less upstream supply for the downstream market, further starving it.
Yeah Rootwyrm, I get the death-spiral, and I don’t feel like anyone is doing anything to pull us out of it. I don’t want it to turn into a political discussion, because I come here to talk about cars. I don’t know that it’s the manufacturers of the cars so much as other forces. I see the parking lots around me full of trucks that they can’t sell because they are missing chips. History has proven that the automakers will produce way more cars than they should and then discount the crap out of them (through leases or rebates). Maybe they are changing their ways now that they see the scarcity causes them even greater profits, but I think the costs have much more to do with scarcity of certain components and transportation costs of those components. Regardless, it’s all bad and the impacts for the poor and middle class are going to be unbearable if something isn’t done to slow things down. In my industry (electrical distribution for buildings), components are up in cost almost 40-50% over last year, and yet factories still can’t make enough. The Consumer Price Index is a lie. Inflation is considerably worse that what is being reported. Whew…. that was a post full of joyful optimism for the future.
I’m so, so, so tired of people acting like cars aren’t political. Rant time. I really need to write an actual proper essay on this. So to be clear, this isn’t necessarily directed at you 3WiperB. We cool.
This is the culmination of years of “STICK TO SPORPS” and “I’M NOT POLITICAL, I’M CARS.” And a fucking car meet this week where I had a guy tell me that if I didn’t ‘vote right’ they were gonna come take away all our gas cars so they could murder more babies.
Cars are politics. Period. They always fucking have been and always fucking will be.
LISTEN UP, KIDS WHO SHOULD’VE BEEN FLUNKED OUT OF MIDDLE SCHOOL CIVICS. YOU WANT YOUR CAR LEARNING, YOU’RE ABOUT TO GET SLAPPED WITH SOME. (Again, seriously 3WiperB, we are 100% cool. I just NEED to say this and people need to read it till it gets through their skulls.)
On August 12, nineteen fucking oh eight, a man named Henry Ford ordered the Model T into mass production. Because he wanted to make a shitload of money right? WRONG. If he wanted to make a shitload of money, he could have joined the coachbuilders, selling exorbitantly expensive horseless carriages to the wealthy at absurd margins. Nope.
The very act of introducing the first ‘reliable,’ mass-market, affordable automobile was EXTREMELY political. Know where Henry Ford was before FoMoCo, back in 1901? The Henry Ford Company. When they brought in a consultant, Henry left, and it turned into a little company you may have heard of called Cadillac.
Crazy Henry had the wealthy clamoring to buy the fastest car in the world from the newly formed FoMoCo in 1903. They wanted his successful racing car, the 999. He could have said “fuck it, we’re gonna sell supercars.”
Instead he made the extremely political decision to focus the entire company on mass producing a car they could sell profitably at a price of $825. Because this would give millions of Americans the ability to enjoy unrestricted travel whenever they pleased. And he was the one who demanded the price drop every year.
Yeah, that’s right. The Model T cost $825 in 1908. It cost $800 in 1910. And kept going down. Sure, he wanted to make a bunch of money in the process. But there is absolutely no getting around the fact that putting easy mobility and freedom of movement within easy reach of tens of millions of people is an inherently political decision, for good or ill.
“Yeah, well that was just back then! Then everyone had cars! They didn’t have to be political!”
Sit. Your. Ass. Down.
Auto Union, perhaps you’ve heard of them? “Oh, no, that’s bu-” SIT. DOWN. The Saxony Regional Bank basically called in DKW’s loans in 1930, and installed Richard Bruhn on the board. Who then pruned the shit out of the dozens of vaguely automotive related companies that DKW had gobbled up, and turned it into Auto Union AG. Know how he got that job in the first place? Richard Bruhn was a card-carrying member of the Nazi party.
“Well that was ju-” SIT. DOWN. In 1933, this Adolf guy announced two new programs. One was the KdF car. The other was a state-sponsored racing program. The state gave Auto Union literal bucketloads of cash, and forced Dr.-Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG to sell them assets. Why? Ah. Right. Because of the other Adolf – Adolf Rosenberger. Who changed his name to Alan Arthur Robert when he immigrated to the US in ’39.
Nevermind that the first Adolf guy is also responsible for the Autobahn being built. Which isn’t entirely dissimilar to how the US Interstate system got built – Eisenhower and politics.
There are exactly ZERO points in history where the automobile and politics do not intersect. Not a single one. The GM EV1 was incredibly political. The 1973 oil crisis was OPEC using dependence on cars to achieve political aims. Every small car of the 1980’s was deeply political. Don’t even try to claim that the ‘BUY AMERICAN’ bumper stickers aren’t political.
The home country of the marque you drive is political. “Hondas are Japanese!” despite every single Odyssey being built in Alabama, and Civics in Indiana or Canada. “VWs are German” while being built in Chattanooga and New Stanton at actively anti-union plants. “GM is American” driving a Blazer built in Mexico or a Buick built in China.
Nevermind the impact of cars on things like voting, protesting, participation in society in all it’s forms, connecting people, changing landscapes, and so on and so forth.
Cars are always political and have always been political.
Like I said. I need to turn this into a real essay, because believe you me, I can rattle this shit off like Jason can expound on tail light manufacturers and David can talk about rust – I mean Jeeps. And it’s right there in basic freaking history. I’m old, but I’m not that damn old. I remember quite clearly civics textbooks that talked about how cars specifically reflected, influenced, or directly impacted politics in every decade. And I don’t just mean things like JFK getting shot in one.
Which I suppose is a big part of why I need to vent about it and why I’m so goddamn pissed off about it. Because again: cars are political. If I wanted to affect the greatest amount of political change in the US for the least amount of effort, you know what I would do?
Fuck with people’s cars. No joke. Look at the bullshit that gets spread around the millisecond gas prices go up ten cents, much less a dollar. Doesn’t matter who’s in office, everyone demands they pull the triple secret presidential lever that controls gas prices. And refuses to accept that there is no such lever. They will insist that the president totally sets the price of gas till they are blue in the face or come up with a neverending stream of excuses for how they totally can do that with things that don’t exist.
And if I were a manufacturer? It’s even easier. If I wanted to really force the right to repair issue in my favor, I wouldn’t run non-stop ads everywhere about how independent mechanics make your car pollute more and contribute to gun violence, or how antifa can then haxor you and tune your radio to NPR.
I’d do exactly what they’ve done in states with right to repair legislation – take things away from people’s cars. Just a step further. If I completely removed the infotainment, cruise control, distance following, and told customers it was because right to repair was going to make them ‘illegal’? There’d be non-stop protests, violence, and death until every politician in the country got up on stage and swore to take a bullet before they’d allow right to repair to become a law.
Want to change the outcome of an election? Just make it impossible for people to buy cars. And when they demand to know why, hem and haw, and use the double secret code phrases like ‘just not being made over here any more’ and ‘China supply chain’ when telling customers, in all your press, just keep doubling down on it.
I want to be hopeful, but again, I’m old enough to remember when it was ‘civics’ and not ‘nationalistic indoctrination.’ I’m old enough to have learned about the gilded age, company towns and scrip, and what happens when all the money is hyper-concentrated in the hands of a tiny few. Especially when those tiny few are at each other’s throats constantly. Ethics, morals, decency? They have none of it. “You can have an F150 with no radio, audio, cruise, smart cruise, or heated seats today. Or you can have it never.”
Scarcity? No small portion of it is pure bullshit. A convenient believable lie. Some parts are short, I’d certainly know. But the kind of widespread intractable problems they’re still crying about? China literally instituted slavery to solve for that. And they’re going on 2 years with no design work to fix it either. Transport shortages are nothing more than refusing to even back down slightly from exploiting the most vulnerable.
Eventually you reach a point where you’re just so fucking tired of being so fucking tired of fighting the same goddamn fights. And getting nowhere.
Thank you for this informative comment.
Well said. Overdue.
It should be mandatory reading for everyone who has ever whined about that “other” website being too political.
Politics is simply the art and science of dividing up the benefits a society gets by being civil with each other. EVERYTHING in society is political. Anyone who argues “I want a space free of politics to just enjoy things” is deliberately avoiding basic facts.
And the more we avoid politics in our daily lives, the more the extremists and radicals get to set the agenda. Don’t avoid politics in daily life.
There are other factors to consider regarding this death spiral:
1) Conventional oil production peaked in the 2000s decade. The oil industry destroyed our ground water supplies and poisoned the land via fracking in order to keep production up, and now unconventional oil production may be peaking or may have peaked. It’s still too early to tell. Within our lifetimes, the oil will become scarce. This effects the price of everything dependent upon oil.
2) The U.S. Petrodollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency is in peril. Because of ending the Bretton Woods agreement and going off the gold standard more than 50 years ago, there is nothing else backing the U.S. dollar other than military force. A lot of the meddling abroad by the U.S. government has been in effort to preserve the dominant status of the petrodollar. Once that goes, say hello to out of control inflation, or possibly even Weimar-republic style hyperinflation.
3) There’s also the issue of the COVID relief stimulus. Trillions of dollars were printed up out of thin air and handed to the largest corporations and the billionaires. They got to spend all of that money first before it lost value. All the average person got was a few minor stimulus checks.
I think we’re eventually going to end up living in a set of circumstances where the automobile market in the 1st world becomes akin to the way it currently is 3rd world geographically isolated areas, where ALL cars even clapped out used ones, are precious and over-priced, where efficiency, serviceability, and reduced operating costs will be the most desirable traits, where even a clapped out used car could end up costing 2-3x the yearly wage of the average working person. Note that this is NOT a worst case scenario, quite far from it. We could be facing full-on civilization collapse depending upon what happens.
Environmental collapse? Nuclear war? End of industrial civilization? Some combination thereof? Don’t dismiss it outright because it sounds outlandish. It’s actually quite plausible considering current trends.
5. A “Hemi Orange” package that includes a little bit of orange on the hood stripe of a white or gray SUV is almost as bad as calling a model “Plaid” and not including plaid interior trim.
Nah, it’s a fair shake. The Hemi Orange package requires selection of the 5.7L Eagle which is a Hemi.
How do you spot a Hemi owner?
1) Don’t worry, they’ll tell you it’s got a Hemi.
2) Look for the person sobbing uncontrollably at the gas pump.
If Dodge built an ultralight streamliner with one-half the weight and one-third the aerodynamic drag of an ordinary car, retaining the engine from a Hellcat or Demon, it would get Prius-like fuel economy in ordinary use, AND the performance would be totally bonkers. But that doesn’t jive well with the auto industry’s ethos of planned obsolescence. But there would be less sobbing at the gas pump, for sure.
That’s simply not true. You can’t avoid the fuel penalties of additional friction and mass.
You can’t build a driveline tolerant of brutal performance without adding a lot of weight and losing efficiency. You can’t contain a Hellcat or Demon motor in an ultralight chassis and still remain a decently safe vehicle. A heavy driveline requires sturdy surrounding chassis, and then all that weight then requires additional strength to protect the occupants at the cost of even more weight.
The aero gains you propose simply aren’t there to attain. To be useful as a vehicle, you have to have a certain frontal area, and the coefficient of drag is already pretty low on most vehicles, including several cars with big motors, yet they don’t get the economy you think is possible when driven carefully.
There is some efficiency lost to styling of the Challenger and the Charger. But even if you went full smooth aero, the difference is nowhere near enough to get Prius economy out of that driveline.
Not only that, but people keep forgetting that the 5.7 Eagle is the 5.7 Gen III is the 5.2 Magnum is the LA. An engine that has been in continuous, uninterrupted production – albeit with major revisions to the top – since 1964. It was never an engine designed for big power; it was designed as a lightweight replacement for the A engine. It is the 318, the 318 LameBurn, the 340 Six-Pak, the 360, the 5.2, the 5.9, the Magnum, the 3.9 V6, it’s literally every Chrysler engine from 1964 to 1999 that isn’t an RB, a 426 Hemi, or a 4 cylinder. And when they tried to make something ‘better,’ instead we got the 3.7/4.7 “PowerTrash,” a notorious boat anchor.
So, what did they do?
Yep. They went back to the LA.
Is it a high tech engine? Fuck no. It’s stuck in the 1980’s at it’s technological peak. You can put all the fancy materials in it you want, and it’s got plenty. That’s not the problem. The problem is the fundamental OHV, pushrod V8 nature of the beast. That’s why it’s still MPFI, and can’t be converted to DI. That’s why the 6.4 NA was abandoned for ever larger superchargers and going for absolute broke on the ‘LOOK IT’S A HEMI LIKE THE OLD HEMI’ marketing bullshit. They literally renamed the 6.4 to the 392 Hemi as part of that.
It has reached a technological dead end.
Remember, this is an engine that requires dual plugs and wasted spark to achieve sufficient combustion to pass emissions as-is. Cranking the base CR is right out, because they’re up against mix limitations. To bump the CR they’d have to shrink the chamber, which would require smaller valves. Enlarging the valves reduces the base CR because you have to enlarge the combustion chamber. And there’s no room to make the heads bigger.
You want to know just how bad it is? The Hellcat uses ‘larger’ 2.140in intake and 1.65in exhaust valves, according to FCAtlantis marketing.
The 5.7 GenIII uses 2.05in intake and 1.55in exhaust, the 6.1 GenIII uses 2.165in and 1.650in. Now I might be bad at math but… carry the four, divide by zero… 2.14 is smaller than 2.165. But the 6.1 packs a CR of 10.2:1 – WAY too much for 15psi on MPFI – and the 5.7 is down at 9.6:1. It very, very clearly illustrates just how dead-end the architecture is.
“Wait, what? You’re not making sense.” I’m getting there. The 6.4’s with superchargers are VERY well known for blowing head gaskets, burning valves, and dropping valve seats. Even when properly maintained. Problems specifically associated with running lean or excessive compression. The 5.7 will eat boost for little gain because of a large 85cc chamber volume; the 6.1 found compression by cutting that to just 74cc. The 6.4? 10.9:1 for NA, absolute limit of the setup, and 10:1 for trucks to put margin back in without sacrificing too much torque, 65cc.
In short, the chamber’s too fucking small and if you do not have ABSOLUTELY PROMPT ignition? You don’t have misfire, but you have significant fuel blowout – especially under boost – which causes non-symptomatic lean-out. If it’s 1 in 10,000 where you have a single cylinder’s A/F stochiometric at say 13.5, let’s do some math.
1 in 10,000 ignitions, engine turns at 2,300RPM highway, so that’s 138,000 revolutions per minute, so that’s 13.8 lean ignitions per minute, driving for an hour that’s 828 unevenly distributed (hotter spots will be more prone due to reduced air density,) and yeah I think you get my point sufficiently there yeah?
That’s exactly why FCAtlantis spent gods only know how much money (a fucking lot) on the GME-T6 “Hurricane” with the very blatant goal of making it equal or superior in power to the 5.7.
They know the LA block is decades past it’s sell-by-date. But the 3.7 was an unmitigated disaster, Dumber-Chrysler refused to invest a penny in engines, Shitberus demanded they find ways to make engines cheaper and warranty costs someone else’s problem, and FCA said “HAHAHA WE’RE SELLING SO MANY CHALLENGERS JUST KEEP PRINTING MONEY!! Everything else is a Future Us problem! Preferably a future not-us!”
If the GME-T6 turns into another Powertrash, they’re in incredibly deep shit, to say the least. Ecodiesel has been… well, even if it was perfect, go look at diesel prices. But it’s miles from perfect. That’s no longer a credible bet for anything, not even trucks. And they’ve got a big bet on the Wagoneers, where owners won’t accept a noisy diesel that requires pouring cow piss into their $120k 6,500lbs luxurytank.
The Hellcats and Demons are already fairly large cars as it is. And they use conventional materials, with a body on frame design. Build a composite monocoque sturdy enough for using that powertrain as the various supercars do, and it may be possible to cut 1000+ lbs off of the weight. THEN you shrink the size from a midsized car into a compact with a low frontal area, reducing material use and cutting weight further. Keep the interior rather spartan, with maybe just AC and roll-up windows, minimizing features to keep weight down, and dare I say it’s possible to keep the weight in the upper 2,XXX range, lugging that oversized powertrain around. It wouldn’t exactly be unprecedented given the supercars that exist today.
Hell, someone managed to put a Hellcat engine and powertrain in a Mazda Miata and still kept the weight well under 3,000 lbs, although it had zero traction. The article was showcased long ago on Jalopnik.
The average new car has a drag coefficient on par with the 1921 Rumpler Tropfenwagen, about 0.28. There are plenty of gains to be made, considering decades ago there have been road-worthy concept cars that had close to half the average drag coefficient. See the GM Precept, GM Ultralite, Chevrolet Citation II, Ford Probe IV, Ford Prodigy, Ford 2000 concept, ect. A Cd in the mid 0.1X range is very achievable in a road-worthy car and isn’t even approaching the Cd values of solar cars and velomobiles(Those can get into the < 0.10 range). Such a design won't appease the marketing team, but there is no technical reason it can't be done.
Regarding drag, the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is even worse than today's average new car, with a Cd of 0.41 and a frontal area of 27 sq ft, having a curb weight of about 4,500 lbs. It gets 22 mpg highway according to the EPA.
Couple a Cd in the 0.1X region with a frontal area reduction to roughly 20 sq ft(slightly smaller than a Prius), and we can get to about 1/3 the overall aerodynamic drag and half the weight vs. a standard Hellcat. Doing so will translate most of that load reduction into a proportional reduction in fuel consumption. Yes, I get that there are still all kinds of pumping losses and frictional losses in the engine that don't go away, and they are negligible compared to wind resistance and rolling resistance.
You could select your gear ratios and using a BSFC chart of the engine of choice, run a calculation of what the fuel economy would be in steady state cruising at various speeds. The Hellcat engine would be an excellent demonstration given how shitty and inefficient it is. Because even with that engine, in the right chassis, sufficiently light and streamlined, 50 mpg @ steady 65 mph may be possible.
Throw a modern 3-cylinder in such a car and it would approach 100 mpg at the same speed.
I meant to say “Chevrolet Citation IV” in that last comment. The Citation IV had a Cd value of 0.18, but even well before the 1980s, the auto industry knew how to make road-going cars with drag coefficients in the 0.1X range. They simply had no desire to even attempt to sell such a thing.
Load reduction has arguably been where most of today’s fuel economy gains have come from versus 30 years ago. And massive amounts of load reduction were achieved in spite of greatly increasing the mass of the vehicles today versus then. Most of the load reduction came from aerodynamic drag reduction and improvements in tire technology, along with optimizing the gear ratios available to allow the engine to operate at more efficient points on the BSFC map. This is how obese cars with antiquated dead-end engine technology and brick-like aero like the Hellcat can still manage 13 mpg in the city, when 30+ years ago a car with the same engine but less tech would have been in the single digits.
Sadly, this load reduction we’ve seen over the decades was annoyingly incremental. There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit to pluck, given that today’s automobile designs aren’t very slippery(matched by the 1921 Rumpler) and are also extremely obese and feature-laden to cater to the upper middle class and wealthier that can actually afford these vehicles since everyone else is too broke to afford much of anything.
I want Seb Loeb to race on ice in the Andros Trophy
I bet he’d win the championship outright
A friend bought a new 3.0 Duramax Silverado last month, and I got to drive it across the state. I feel like there are obvious quality issues that GM skipped on. The sheet metal on the fenders is so friggin thin, that he dented it just while leaning against the truck. A lot of squeaks and wind noise from the window paneling. The interior was a cheaper feeling than I would’ve thought.
Don’t even get me started on the belt driven oil pump.
At least they’re ugly…oh, wait…
Not to be a negative nelly.. but I’m not really seeing a “wicked” or “sweet” Golf there. Looks boring AF to me.. truly yawn-inducing… but to each their own.
If this was the golden age of NASCAR, ol’ Kimi would get a good share of rubbin’ (racin’), if not spun clear off the oval as a welcome from his fellow drivers. I’d tune in for that.
“Price hike? Meh, just tell me what my monthly is. So I take another year to pay it off. Big deal.”
Let’s get the Block family as an F1 team.
Not gonna lie, I completely forgot the Durango still existed.
How could you forget that minivan?
My town actually just bought one as their latest police cruiser. It looks odd amongst all the Explorers.
Honestly Kimi might be competitive at Watkins Glen. The new cars they’re running now has modern race car things like competent brakes, independent suspension, and a sequential transmission. Trackhouse has been running really well this year too and already has a win on a road course so they know how to set a car up to go left and right
Watkins Glen is a fun track to drive, especially in a street car. 55 mph doesn’t seem fast except in the turns, especially the esses. The guide cars make it look easy. For someone unaccustomed to performance driving it was eye-opening.
Stock cars around it are always a hoot, like bears tap-dancing. Can’t wait to see Kimi wrestle one of those overpowered and under-braked beasts around it.
“That New Chevy Silverado You Want Just Got Even More Expensive”
That’s impossible. I’d have to want a truck that looks like … THAT! YUCK! I’m a lifelong GM truck fan, but GM screwed the pooch on their current trucks. I’d take one for free, but I certainly wouldn’t pay actual money for one.
A face only Mary Barra could love.
I would like to see Ricky Bobby do F1
Or as Jean Girard would say – “Formule Une”.