Friday, December 28, 2007
Are Muscle Cars Facing Extinction?
Are muscle cars facing extinction? The answer should be on the negative. I do love muscle cars.

And if the production of these cars will be stopped, I will be one of the many buffs that will be disheartened. Sigh.

When General Motors Corp. pulls the wraps off its new supercharged Corvette at the Detroit auto showin January, it could also mean the beginning of the end for the great American muscle car.

The car's chief engineer Tadge Juechter has said the Corvette ZR1 may be the last performance car from Detroit. "High-performance vehicles such as this may actually be legislated out of existence," Juechter said at a recent showing of the ZR1.

President George W. Bush recently effected a law that calls for more fuel efficient cars and a wider used of ethanol, describing it as a ‘major step’ to free the country from foreign energy dependence. The legislation requires automakers to raise fuel efficiency by 40% to an industry average 35 miles per gallon by 2020.

But Aaron Bragman, an auto analyst with the consulting firm Global Insight said predicting the death of the muscle car might be premature. Although fuel economy figures were not released for the ZR1, he said the Corvette is fuel efficient when compared with its competitors and, according to him, gets around the same mileage as a Chevrolet pickup truck.

"I think it's a little over-dramatization," Bragman said. "GM wants to sell big, high-performance, fun cars. And typically that's what Americans want to buy." He added that performance cars of the future may be powered by smaller engines or electric motors, but they will not die.

2009 Corvette ZR Specs:

* All-new LS9 supercharged 6.2L V-8 targeted at producing at least 100 horsepower per liter, or 620 horsepower (462 kW), and approximately 595 lb.-ft. of torque (823 Nm)
* Six-speed, close-ratio, race-hardened manual transmission
* New, high-capacity dual-disc clutch
* Higher-capacity and specific-diameter axle half-shafts; enhanced torque tube
* Specific suspension tuning provides more than 1g cornering grip
* Twenty-spoke 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels
* Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires--P285/30ZR19 in front and P335/25ZR20 in the rear--developed specifically for the ZR1
* Standard carbon-ceramic, drilled disc brake rotors--15.5-inch-diameter (394-mm) in the front and 15-inch-diameter (380-mm) in the rear
* Larger brake calipers with substantially increased pad area
* Standard Magnetic Selective Ride Control with track-level suspension
* Wider, carbon-fiber front fenders with ZR1-specific dual vents
* Carbon-fiber hood with a raised, polycarbonate window--offering a view of the intercooler below it
* Carbon-fiber roof panel, roof bow, front fascia splitter and rocker moldings with clear-coated, exposed carbon-fiber weave
* ZR1-specific full-width rear spoiler with raised outboard sections
* Specific gauge cluster with boost gauge (also displayed on the head-up display) and 220-mph (370 km/h) speedometer readout
* Only two options: chrome wheels and a "luxury" package
* Curb weight of approximately 3,350 pounds (1,519 kg)
posted by Car Addict @ 5:03 AM  
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