Battle of the Dinosaurs

The new Ford F-150 Raptor has been announced for the next model year and it brings some updated styling and probably more power. As standard, you’ll get the normal Raptor with the 3.5L Twin-Turbo EcoBoost V6 producing around 360KW and 730NM. But, for the following model year, there will be a Raptor R which is reported to have a 500KW V8. Whether it will be a 5.0L Coyote V8, the 5.2L Voodoo V8 or the 7.3L Godzilla V8, either of them with a supercharger or twin-turbos, we don’t know yet.

The reason for the Raptor R is most likely because fans of the pick-up really wanted a V8, but mostly because Dodge built the new RAM TRX – which stands for T-ReX, because the Americans do that sort of thing (see the Dodge Challenger Demon and Hennessey Exorcist). The RAM TRX has the ever-awesome supercharged 6.2L Hellcat V8 producing 526KW and 850NM. It is quite frankly magnificent!

Chevy on the other hand, seems not to have bothered to join the party. It’s probably a good thing, because the Silverado is a bland pick-up. The only good thing is the diesel V8 in the biggest 3500 trim, with the dually wheels at the back. The front is too flat and the current generation is ugly to look at. It can however, tow a really big anvil for when the one in your blacksmith shop just won’t do (I don’t know either, must be an American thing).

So in the Battle of the Dinosaurs, I think the TRX wins. Yes, the Raptor is a cool pick-up and it is probably more user friendly and easier to live with day-to-day, but the RAM has a Hellcat in it. I mean, how could you not love the whole idea?! Now if only it could have been rear-wheel-drive…

Now a word from our sponsor: Me. Every year, thousands of V8s are killed by emissions regulations forcing car manufacturers to downsize their engines. Help end the suffering.

Don’t hate – adopt a V8!

©2020 Michael De Kock 

Michael de Kock is a Psychology graduate, busy doing a National Certificate in Motor Mechanics to get more skilled, because he struggles to get a job in this day and age. Can you believe that? I can’t…

Old is Good

I don’t want to sound like an old fart, but some things were better in the past. Yes, things now is cool in the way that everything is interconnected, meaning that your hairdryer can talk to your toaster, which in turn can talk to your fridge and then tell your car that you need milk, which adds it to a digital shopping list that you can view whilst watching TV or playing VR games… It’s pretty cool. I like it. But some things were better. In this instance, I will be using cars. Today, it is about how much power it has, how light it is, how many aerodynamic-ey flaps it has and how much downforce it produces. The McLaren Senna comes to mind…

Don’t get me wrong, I like the Senna. With its 4.0L Twin-Turbo V8 and enough fins and flaps to create 800kg of downforce. It is a magnificent piece of engineering. But that’s the problem. As Jeremy Clarkson once said about the MP4-12C, “It is an amazing car, but it’s got no soul”. This is the problem with many of the current top-ranking cars. They are brilliant, they go around corners in the best possible manner and reach speeds that would make a 1920s person laugh at the absurdly high number. But they are cold and clinical. They are ones and zeroes that work together nearly perfectly to attain ultimate performance.

This is all fine, but for petrol heads, it’s not enough. We like cars with character. We value the feel of a car above all. It doesn’t matter if the thing has 1 KW or 1000. If it has a good feel, then we love it. Things like the Bugatti Veyron are and always will be a feat of engineering. It was the car that changed the whole motoring world’s perception of what speed was. Yes, it’s fast and powerful, but it’s terrible (personal experience around Tsukuba on GT Sport). Then you get the Hennessey Venom GT. It has much horsepower and is scary as all hell to drive. It even tends to lose traction when passing 320kph – which from what I’ve read – is quite scary. Stuff like that give cars character. I was recently at the annual Cars in the Park held at Zwartkops Raceway. It featured many cool cars. Loud ones such as straight-piped Chevy Lumina Utes, classic and modern Mustangs, modded Nissan Champs and Morris Minors (meh). One of the cars that fascinated me most was the Ford Sierra XR8. Here you have a relatively boring, everyday Ford, but with the time’s Mustang 5.0L in it. It’s glorious!
I was at this weekend’s Hermanus Whale Festival as well. The Saturday morning there was a car show at the local primary school and there were a lot of really nice cars. Ford Falcons, Holden Monaro GTS’, Jaguar E-Types, MGB’s, an Aston Martin Vantage Superlaggera and a Pontiac Trans Am but to name a few. It was bloody brilliant. The event just re-cemented my personal theory that older cars were just better. Driving involved the driver, it made you hear the engine noise, it was meant to be an experience. Not like in modern cars that actively try to cancel out the sound, drive by themselves and stop you if you are trying to do something stupid (that last one is actually quite good, to be honest). They are safe for pedestrians if you miss a stop sign, they can alert you if someone around you is doing something stupid and it can actively avoid getting into a crash – like those many videos of Teslas accelerating away.

In old cars, you are forced to focus, to take in your surroundings and experience the car. It makes you want to master it, to learn all of its little quirks and to appreciate it for what it is. Not just some hunk of metal to get you from point A to point B, but rather an instrument that allows you to make automotive “music”. I absolutely love it – the feeling of driving an old car, the noise, the vibration, the gear-changes and the overall experience. I love it. Well the closest I have come was a 1991 BMW E30 316iM, but I absolutely loved it. I will buy me a new-ish first car and then start saving up for an older car, preferably something with a V8 of some sort… hopefully the fuel price in South Africa drops a bit…