Michael de Kock is a blogger, because he likes it, a Psychology graduate, because he thought it’d be interesting (so many essays) and is currently a content writer for HotCars.com, because it actually pays.
In the meantime, why not help him with paying the bills by buying his new book?
Human actors aren’t the only stars when it comes to movies and TV-series. Sometimes they can be overshadowed by machines – not androids or robots, but heart-warming, engine-revving automobiles with beauty and style and flair. So here are some of my favourite ‘caractors’. . .
My first favourite is the 1963 Ford Ecoline Van, which doesn’t sound very exciting, but is also called The Mystery Machine – which sounds much more exciting. Yes, the psychedelic blue and green van from Scooby Doo is one of the most famous film/TV vehicles around and if you ever see one, tell the girl in the orange jersey and glasses that it was probably the theme park owner who did it.
Another famous storage container on wheels is the Chevy Van, driven by the angriest man in the world – Bosco “B.A” Baracus. It is of course the A-Team van with its iconic red stripe running along the side. It is awesome and usually my go-to paintjob for any van I own in racing games.
Probably the most famous station-wagon in the film world is the 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor, also known as the ECTO-1. If you don’t recognise the name – it’s the car from Ghostbusters (the original two movies, not the 2016 remake). It is set to appear in the new Ghostbusters film, which will apparently ignore the last movie, if movie leaks can be trusted.
Charger and Gran Torino
Another awesome movie car is the 1969 Dodge Charger R/T (the General Lee) from The Dukes of Hazzard. It is one of the coolest muscle cars ever and the stunts done with it were just ridiculous! The stunt team totalled quite a few Chargers. Speaking of muscle cars – what about the Ford Gran Torino from Starsky & Hutch? Much like with the General Lee, its iconic paintjob makes it instantly recognisable with movie fans.
One of the most expensive cars to star in a movie is the 1962 Ferrari 250 GT California from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I had a miniature petrolhead panic attack when it went through the garage window and plummeted the few meters towards the ground. Luckily, it was a fake built for the movie, but it sold for nearly $400k! It’s still a few million short of the price for the real thing, but coughing up that much for a fake is quite preposterous.
Another famous Ferrari is that of the Hawaii-based ex-navy-veteran-turned-private investigator, Magnum PI, played by Tom Selleck. The series ran for eight seasons and each season saw a new version of the Ferrari 308 GTB/GTS. It is an awesome car and one of my favourite Ferraris with its manual V8 and Targa top roof.
Who can forget the sheer awesomeness that was Mad Max? The movies forever immortalised the Aussie Ford Falcon XB GT as the ‘Pursuit Special’. It was modified to look post-apocalyptic-y with its faded black paint and fake supercharger on the front. (The supercharger was functional for Mad Max 2 and Fury Road.)
For the 2015 film, as many practical effects as possible were used, meaning that most of the vehicles seen in the movie are real – from the War Rig driven by Charlize Theron’s Furiosa, to the Doof Wagon with all the speakers, and the man with a guitar-flamethrower-thingy hanging from a stretchy rope, to my favourite vehicle in the movie – The Gigahorse. It’s essentially a Cadillac El Dorado sandwich with two V8s as the cheese and some plumbing as the mayonnaise. I love it!
Fast & Furious
I will not be able to name all the various Fast & Furious cars, but I’ll give it a try: Brian’s Toyota Supra, Dom’s Dodge Charger (any of them), Han’s Mazda RX-7, Letty’s Jensen Interceptor, Jesse’s VW Jetta, Brian’s R34 Skyline GT-R, Brian’s Mitsubishi Eclipse, Letty’s Dodge Challenger, a Lamborghini Murcielago SV, a Honda S2000, the Koenigsegg CCX, the heist Dodge Chargers with the scaffolding on the back, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII, the Ford F150 SVT Lightning, the three Honda Civics, those two weird ramp cars, the Plymouth Superbird/Dodge Charger Daytona, the Ford Escort RS1800, the Ford Mustang Boss 429, the Aston Martin DB9, a Lexus LFA and many, many more.
Quite honestly, I have given up on the Fast & Furious franchise, because it had become less about the cars and more about doing increasingly outrageous and far-fetched stunts from badly written storylines – and it has become less enjoyable over time. I enjoyed the movies up until the runway scene in FF6. After that, it just got silly – and not Leslie Nielsen-silly either.
When I saw Dom “The most important thing is family” Toretto Spidermanning a Ford Mustang GT500 between some cliffs in the F9 trailer, I decided that I’m done with the franchise. Jumping a W Motors Lykan Hypersport between buildings (which has been proven to be impossible) was silly enough, but this was just stupid. I will watch F9 though, because Helen Mirren power sliding a purple Noble M600 is one of the coolest things I have ever seen.
Whilst not entirely a real car, Lady Penelope’s FAB-1 from Thunderbirds also makes this list, because I was in love and obsessed with it after I saw the 2004 movie. It used a Ford Thunderbird (wink-wink) as inspiration, but it also had wings, a jet engine and hydrofoils. It was the coolest car of my childhood and I even liked it in pink. I used to draw the FAB-1 with various extra modifications to make it even cooler. Plus Parker was an awesome valet. Ah, the nostalgia…
The Italian Job
Probably the most famous cinematic use of the Mini Cooper, occurs in The Italian Job movies and are enjoyable to watch. The 1969 movie is incredibly long-drawn-out, as movies were in those days, but it is still makes for good entertainment. The 2003 version was just used to drive up sales of the new Mini Cooper, but it was still a good movie with lots of car chases, explosions and funny quips.
Then we get to the world of Gotham City. Bruce Wayne has had quite a few awesome cars throughout the years. The coolest being the 1989 Batmobile with Michael Keaton at the wheel – the beautiful curves and jet exhaust protruding out the back and the bat wings on the rear haunches like a 1950s Cadillac. It’s such a cool car! Another favourite is the Tumbler from 2005’s Batman Begins. It is literally a tank with a motorbike coming out the front. How cool is that?!
I’m not a fan of the Justice LeagueBatmobile as it’s too fantasy-like and too physics-ignoring. I am, however, excited for the new one with Robert Pattinson, because the new Batmobile reminds me of the Quadra Type-66 ‘Cthulhu’ muscle car from Cyberpunk 2077.
Herbie – everyone’s favourite (slightly disturbing) sentient Beetle! Yes, this racing liveried VW Beetle is probably the most famous ‘Bug’ in cinema. From doing rally stages in the 1970s and going bananas to NASCAR racing with Lindsey Lohan at the wheel, it has had quite a colourful film history. I just have a few questions though: Why is Herbie the only sentient car in his universe? Why does he make noises? WHY IS HE A BEETLE?! I NEED ANSWERS!
There are very few animation films that I wholeheartedly enjoy. The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2, Finding Nemo, Finding Dory, Shrek 2, WALL-E… That’s about it. However, in the not too long ago year of 2006, an animation movie was released that spoke to my inner petrolhead heart. That movie was Cars. I mean, come on. CARS! I watched that movie over and over and over and over. It is my favourite animated movie and will probably forever be.
The story, the characters and the setting are just perfect. I still love it! And apart from Mater, my favourite caractor is Doc Hudson, the legendary Fabulous Hudson Hornet, a car with a brilliant racing history, with its revolutionary low centre of mass. It is one of the most famous race cars in the motoring world.
Then Cars 2 came out, and it was about Mater and had spies in it! Even better! James Bond in animated car form! How utterly cool and petrolheady is that?! And there was even a big Navy boat in it! My only question still is: Why are taxis and busses a thing? Who rides in them in a car world? Trains and plains, sure – you can get in them if you are a car, but not taxis or busses. The physics of the Cars dimension still elude me.
When Cars 3 came out, I wasn’t all that impressed with either the movie or the cars featuring in it, except for one of the new caractors, which is an almost BMW CS Vintage Concept look alike. The storyline is boring, the ending you could see from a mile away and characters have about as much emotion as actual cars. It had child-friendly moonshiners and a tedious NASCAR history lesson in it. (As if NASCAR isn’t monotonous enough with everyone just continuously turning left for 500 laps.)
The Ford Mustang has been a staple of American Muscle since its introduction in 1964. In 1968, it became immortalised by Steve McQueen in his action movie Bullitt, where a dark green Fastback has a chase scene with a Dodge Charger R/T. It is such a famous car that people have tried to recreate it with each generation of Mustang – so much so that Ford themselves decided to make an anniversary edition with the 2020 version, the Mustang Bullitt, that I lust after. Plus, it is the only newish Mustang you can get in South Africa, which comes with a manual transmission, other than the new Mach 1.
Another ‘Stang that people keep trying to recreate is one known as Eleanor and is from the newer Gone in 60 Seconds, released in 2000. It was designed by the famous Chip Foose and, I must say, whilst it is a cool car – I have become bored with it. In every car game people try to replicate it with varying success and it is just annoying.
However, my favourite movie Mustang is the green/grey one from the first John Wick. It is a Mach 1 rebadged as a Boss 429 for the movie. It is an awesome car and the 1969 Mustang is without a doubt the best looking Mustang ever created (plus, a red ’69 Mach 1 lives a town away from me and I get to ogle it every now and then).
The Great Gatsby
I watched The Great Gatsby (2013) with intrigue as the whole setting is magnificent to behold. The art-deco setting of the movie with the 1920s high-life style is just brilliant! But I was even more intrigued when I saw the cars – more specifically the yellow 1932 Duesenberg Model J, which Jay Gatsby drives. (I just got that. J Gatsby drives a Model J. Funny.)
This is all wrong of course, as the movie takes place in 1922 and most of the cars in the film were produced after the movie’s setting – like the blue 1933 Auburn that Tobey Maguire’s character drives.
One of the most beautiful cars ever produced is a certain red Duesenberg Model SJ LaGrande Dual-Cowl Phaeton which, in 1932 when it was built, was the most powerful production car in the world for three years – until it was surpassed by the 1935 Duesenberg Model SSJ. The model SJ Phaeton was also the fastest car in the world in 1932, with its supercharged straight-8 and non-syncro-mesh 3-speed manual. It’s sad then that by 1937, Duesenberg had gone bankrupt and ceased to exist, leaving one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in its wake – the curious case of the ‘missing’ Duesenberg Coupé Simone…
Ah, Austin Powers. What wonderfully weird movies – with an awesome Union Jack-themed Jaguar – sorry, Shaguar. Yes, just like James Bond has his Aston, Austin Powers has his E-Type. In the second movie, his American counterpart has a Stars & Stripes-themed Chevrolet Corvette C2, which is equally awesome!
Unfortunately, in the second movie, his spy car is a be-flowered VW ‘New Beetle’ time-machine in which he travels back in time from 1999 to 1969 – and in the final movie, the spy car is a Union Jack Mini Cooper which could swim and attach itself to Dr. Evil-shaped submarines. Yes, the whole thing spiralled out of control a bit, but it was still funny.
Who can forget all of James Bond’s marvellous spy cars? From the Sunbeam Alpine in Dr. No (1962), to (what looks like) the Aston Martin Valhalla in No Time to Die (postponed to October 2021, but who knows when we’ll actually be able to finally see it? Grumble-grumble). All these cars were excellent in their movies, except maybe the Aston Martin DBS V12 in Casino Royale which chased the baddie’s Jaguar XJ for all of two minutes before getting totally… totalled. Luckily, it got the chase scene it deserved in the prologue to Quantum of Solace.
The best and most famous Bond car – and definitely one of the most famous and most beautiful cars in the world, is the 1964 Aston Martin DB5. It made its debut in Goldfinger (1964), which is one of my favourite Bond-movies, and went on to star in Thunderball (1965), GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Casino Royale (2006), Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015). It is also set to appear in No Time to Die (please be October, dammit!) where it is again doing some stunts in an Italian village. In an interview with the stunt driver, it wasn’t explicitly said, but was implied that underneath the body it was an E46 BMW M3 with various stunt modifications.
It is difficult choosing a favourite Bond car, so I have rounded it down to three – the Aston Martin DB5, the Lotus Espirit and the Toyota 2000GT. I chose the DB5 because it is a film icon and because it is utterly beautiful in every way – from the styling and the contour lines to the wire wheels and the classic Aston Martin grille. It’s just brilliant! The reasoning behind the Espirit is because of the sheer silliness that it is. One of my favourite bits of all Bond films, is Sir Roger Moore’s smug face as he drives the Espirit out of the water and onto a French beach. It’s hilarious!
I chose the 2000GT (one of very few Toyotas I actually like) as a favourite because it has a cool story behind it. Apparently, Toyota said that it’s okay if they want to use their car as a Bond car, but when Sean Connery got to Japan to begin filming, they realised that he was way too tall to fit in it. (Standing at 1,95m myself, I can certainly relate.) So within two weeks, they cut the roofs off of two 2000GTs and strapped some covers on to make it look like a convertible – even though neither of them have functional convertible roofs. And thus, those are the only two 2000GT ‘roadsters’ in existence.
My favourite movie car is the DeLorean DMC-12 from the Back to the Future franchise. It looks like a concept car that was actually put into production, much like the modern BMW i8. Yes, apparently it is terrible to drive and the engine is pitifully underpowered, but it is an awesome car nonetheless. I mean, the gullwing-like doors make it unquestionably cool already, but then it was chosen to be a time machine in one of the most loved sci-fi movies franchises of all time. I love it!
The cool thing is that there is still a huge following for the DeLorean and thus parts and upgrades are available – not only in the USA, but in Great Britain as well. Many DeLorean owners swop the puny 2.85L V6 out for Chevy V8s and even convert them to EVs, which is splendid!
My choices may not be the ones you like, but they’re mine and they may change as new caractors are being cast in future movies. Not everyone might like cars (speaking of you, Greta) or think of them as a terribly exciting subject, but they are a part of our everyday lives and they will continue to be for the foreseeable future – in one way or another. So, why not continue celebrating them in everyday entertainment?
Michael de Kock is a blogger, because he likes it, a Psychology graduate, because he thought it’d be interesting (so many essays) and is busy doing a National Certificate in Motor Mechanics to get more skilled, as he struggles to get a job in this day and age in this country.
In the meantime, why not help him with paying the bills by buying his new book?
What do you get when you put an uprated version of the Corvette Z06’s engine, a luxurious Cadillac saloon and a chocolate ice-cream together? The answer? The most powerful production Cadillac ever mass produced! And a chocolate ice-cream.
The new Cadillac V cars have been announced for the 2022 model year. I have to say, I am really excited. First up is the new CT4-V Blackwing (the red one). It is about the size of a 3-Series and C-Class, which makes sense as it was built to do battle with them. It has a 3.6L Twin-Turbo V6 producing 350KW and 600NM. It looks really good with the angular design language of Cadillac and that large ducktail spoiler on the boot.
Next up is the new CT5-V Blackwing (the white one). It has a supercharged 6.2L V8 from the Corvette Z06 and Camaro ZL1, however in this application it produces 498KW and 890NM of torque going to just the rear wheels, making it the most powerful production Cadillac ever. Fitting that it is most likely the last petrol-powered one.
Next up is the new CT5-V Blackwing (I cannot decide if the name is silly or just plain awesome. I’m leaning towards the latter). It has a supercharged 6.2L V8 from the Corvette Z06 and Camaro ZL1, however in this application it produces 498KW and 890NM of torque going to just the rear wheels, making it the most powerful production Cadillac ever. Fitting that it is most likely the last petrol-powered one.
The most surprising of all of this is that both cars come with a manual as standard. Yes, hugely powerful, manual Caddy Vs. Who would’ve thunk it?! The most powerful Cadillac ever comes with a manual as standard! I cannot get over how cool that is! Yes, you can get the 10-speed auto if you want and that is probably the one Hennessey would ask you to pick if you want to make your hugely powerful, M5 and E63S top speed beating Caddy even more powerful. I, however, would just leave it – mostly – stock and tinker with the exhaust a bit to make it sound even more ridiculous than it is.
Unfortunately, they are both quite expensive, starting at $60k for the CT4-V and $84K for the CT5-V, which can go up to $125k when loaded with options. The other unfortunate thing is that apparently all of them have already been sold out. Jip, the only way you’ll get one now is if you pay an astronomic amount of money to the first owner who pushed up the price ridiculously high – as they do in the US of A with limited-run muscle cars (see Dodge Challenger Demon).
I’ve always liked the V Cadillacs. Since the first CTS-V in the early 2000s, to the one James May hated and then loved, to the more modern one before Chevy bungled all the names about. Cadillacs in general have this aura of luxury about them, but that is almost still achievable – like Jaguar. You could have a second-hand one for much less than the original owner bought it for, plus you’ll look rich (I’m betting Cadillacs’ services are cheaper than Jaguar’s though).
Stuffing the engine from a sports/muscle/super car (whatever the Corvette is these days. See a previous blog) into a big saloon car sounds stupid and unnecessary, but in reality it is one of the most awesome things a car manufacturer could do. I was hoping for the 560KW (755HP) Supercharged LT5 V8 from the C7 Corvette ZR1, but then Cadillac put a manual in it and the world was filled with hope again.
The V8’s days are numbered and that is a sad thing. Let’s enjoy them for as long as possible before they disappear into the history books to be replaced by hybridised 4-cylinders and electric motors (looking at you, AMG!).
Only you have the power (and money) to help! Save a life. Adopt a V8.
Michael de Kock is a Psychology-graduated job-seeking petrolhead nerd (who’s currently on his way to becoming motor mechanic if he can figure out the math), fascinated by wooden tulips and generally thinks too much about cars.
The V8 Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) is a magnificent piece of engineering and is probably the engine with the most character. But before we get into that, a brief history:
The first known V8 engine was built in 1904 and was called the Antoinette. It was built by Frenchman Léon Levevasseur for use in speedboats and airplanes. It weighed 86kg and had a whopping 37KW (50HP). In the same year, the V8 was put into small-scale production by Buchet and Renault for use in their airplanes and racing cars respectively.
In 1905, the first V8 used in a motorcar was a 3.5L in the Rolls Royce V-8 however, they built three cars before reverting back to straight-sixes. Officially, the 1910 De Dion-Bouton was the first car to use the V8 in large quantities and the 1914 Cadillac ‘L-head’ V8 was considered to be the first mass-produced V8 engine. This engine was assisted by Cadillac’s pioneering use of the electric starter motor.
Since then, the V8 engine flourished in popularity in a range of different sizes and outputs. In the USA, V8s were abundant and aided to the creation of various motorsports – the biggest being NASCAR (which pretty-much only Americans watch). Australia decided to throw their hat into the ring with Holden stuffing V8s into many of their cars, resulting in the popular V8 Supercars racing competition.
The V8 became so popular that people started putting them into cars that really shouldn’t have them. Ford did this a lot. In South Africa, a company did it with the Mustang’s Windsor V8 in the Capri and called it the Capri Perana. Another one of these swaps was with the Sierra XR8 – an incredibly boring hatchback-sedan-type thing with one of the best noises I have ever heard. It’s absolutely glorious!
Europe – not wanting to be left out – produced some of the best V8s in the world, with my absolute favourite being the M156 which was the first in-house engine from AMG. The glorious grumbly noise from the naturally-aspirated engine is just awesome! The same goes for the slightly tuned M159 in the SLS AMG (my all-time favourite car). BMW also have a good history with their V8s, with the most popular versions being in the E90 M3 and the M5 from the E39 generation onwards (excluding the E60 because of the impostor V10).
Jaguar was behind a little bit, but eventually they caughtb the train with their AJ V8 engines which were even used by Ford. Morgan simply decided to ask for engines and thus got a contract with BMW for their 4, 6 and 8 cylinder engines. Finally, Aston Martin used the Jaguar engines for its Vantage up until 2018 when they got AMG’s 4.0L for the new model. For the 2020 model year, one can order a V8 Vantage with a manual, making it the only manual application of the AMG M177. Awesome!
Ferrari had their go with the V8 and it worked out brilliantly. From the 308 GTB to the new SF90 Stradale, the V8 engine (along with the symphonic V12) is the exploding heart of the Prancing Horse. Their naturally aspirated V8s are some of the highest revving road-car engines and everyone was suspicious when Ferrari announced they were going turbo-charged. It worked however, and it worked so well that people who drive the cars fitted with these engines say they feel no turbo-lag. The new SF90 has recently set the fastest lap of the Top Gear Test Track, beating the time set by a 488 Pista by 1.4 seconds. Granted, it has the same engine and power-output, but it comes with three extra electric motors, boosting it to 735KW (986HP), around 200KW more than the Pista.
Maserati has also had its history with the V8, harking back to 1964 in the 5000GT. The best of the lot though is the Tipo F136 engine which was a Maserati/Ferrari collaboration. It was used in almost all Maserati’s between 2001 and 2019 – from the Coupe, Spyder and GranTurismo, to the Quattroporte. It was even put in the GranTurismo-based Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione and gorgeous Disco Volante limited production car. Ferrari used it in the F430, California and heavily altered in the 458. The best sounding applications of the engine however, are in the GranTurismo S and the Quattroporte S, where it is 4.7 litres of harmonious glory. I make a point of it to own a GranTurismo in whichever racing game it is featured in just to listen to the noise.
As we all know, Volkswagen owns many, MANY different automakers – particularly Audi, Porsche and Bentley – which uses the same 4.0l Twin-Turbo V8 in their cars, albeit in different states of tune. The coolest applications being in the Audi RS6 Avant, RS7 and new Bentley Continental. Porsche boosts their version of the engine with additional electric motors in the e-hybrid trims for the Panamera and Cayenne, reaching an awe-inspiring 500KW out of it. My question thus is, why not put those versions in the larger Audi RS models? Imagine an RS6, RS7, S8 or even a new R8 with that much power.
The USA is probably the V8 capital of the world with both the crappiest V8s ever made and the most powerful by far. The go-to engine for hot-rodding pretty-much anything is the Chevy LS3 6.2 N/A V8. It is hugely popular and really reliable with its straight-forward and simple design. However, the most popular V8 currently for sale is the Hellcat. A 6.2L Hemi with a HUGE supercharger sticking out the top producing a ridiculous stock power output of 526KW(707HP) and 850NM. Ask a tuning company nicely (and with money) and they’ll put an even bigger supercharger on bumping a 1000HP (750KW). Shocked emoticon. Luckily, we get the Hellcat here in South Africa, but only in the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, which is awesome, but costs a lot of money.
To think, in the late 70s (during the oil crisis) you could get a 5.0L big-block with an ‘atmospheric’ 112KW. My 1.6L Turbo has more power than that. Even the 4.9L Turbo Trans Am used in the filming of Smokey and the Bandit II needed nitrous oxide boosting to get the desired power out of it. How sad it that?!
Here in South Africa, we have a surprising amount of V8s to choose from – AMGs, Ms, RSs, Rs, SVs, SSs, GTs and VXs. A few years ago, you could even buy the coolest bakkie (pick-up truck), the awesome Aussie Chevrolet Lumina SSV Ute. It had a 5.7L and later a 6.0L with 270KW in stock form. However, if you look for one online now, many of them are supercharged and pushing 400KW (according to the seller that is). Now the only V8 bakkie you can get, is Toyota’s incredibly generic and vastly outdated Land Cruiser 70 with the 4.5L turbo Diesel V8 – producing a pithy 150KW and 430NM – for the astronomical price of almost a million Rand. My dad’s Hyundai Santa Fé produces approximately the same power from its 2.2L Inline-4 Turbodiesel and didn’t even cost a quarter of that!
I’d like to someday soon own a V8, preferably one with 300 plus KW. I have looked around and one could get away with it for under R400K. In that budget, you could get something like a Chrysler 300C SRT, a BMW E90 M3, a Mercedes C63 AMG W204, an Audi RS4 B6, a Chevy Lumina SSV, a Jaguar XFR and even a Maserati Quattroporte (with a lot extra money for maintenance). For a little more than the budget, you could get a Ford Mustang, which would be awesome, as the Coyote V8 grumbles like an American V8 should.
V8s should make you feel special. They should excite your inner petrolhead and make you permanently go BWAHHHH! For me, when I drive behind a car that has a V8 and the person driving leaves his/her right foot on the accelerator just a bit longer than socially acceptable, I get all giddy. The other day, I was walking in town when a Mustang GT and a Jaguar XKR had an impromptu sound-off when they each pulled away from the traffic light. It was marvellous! The low bellowing of the Mustang’s V8 reverberating off the building’s windows and the XKR’s raspy V8 a few pitches higher was absolutely magnificent. Those 40 or 50 seconds of unadulterated noise made my day. I drove back home in the best of moods. I can only imagine my mood the day I actually get to drive something like that.
All this being said, the V8 is fast becoming an extinct species. Governments and environmental institutions are hammering automakers to cut down on their emissions and thus those automakers downsize their engines. This has been happening for the past decade and it is terrible. The beloved Audi RS4 now comes with a Twin-Turbo V6. Big American barges like the Ford F150 Raptor and Lincoln Navigator are fitted with EcoBoost V6s. Performance cars are mutating into shadows of themselves with smaller engines. An excellent example is the new Mercedes C63 AMG. A test mule has been spotted going around the ‘Ring, but no one knows what drivetrain it’s got. The most likely is a 4-cylinder. I’d be really surprised if it retains its V8.
This whole situation is saddening. Yes, I know it’s all to save the planet and I’m all for saving said planet, but ease up a bit on the sports cars. Pretty soon, we’ll all be driving around in electric toasters with grumpy faces, because it doesn’t make a noise or is very exciting to drive.
The only good thing about all this is that we will still be allowed to drive old cars that make stupid noises and burns petrol in glorious explosions whilst we laugh maniacally at the sheer awesomeness that is the internal combustion engine. I know it will be around for a little while longer, but we petrolheads will miss it. Like you’d miss an old loyal dog from your childhood.
So in an effort to not sound too much like Jeremy Clarkson in his review of the V12 Vantage, I’m going to end with this; whilst the magnificence that is the ICE is still around, let’s burn as much fuel making stupid noises as we can, shall we?
Today I would like to talk about the three big German automobile manufacturers. This excludes Volkswagen, but also doesn’t as Audi is owned by them. The problem I have with them is the fact that their new performance V8s, respectively from Rennsport, AMG and the M-Division, are almost the same.
Audi was the first to introduce their engine a few years ago in the RS6, RS7 and S8. AMG introduced theirs in the AMG GT as a replacement to the brilliance of the M156 and M159 engines. The M156 is my favourite engine and I would put it in an older Merc if I could.
Anyway, these manufacturers used to have diversity in their performance engines by having big 5.0L V10s, 6.2L V8s and 4.2L V8s – all naturally aspirated. These are brilliant engines. I actually have been in an RS5 doing lots of revs on a very short piece of road.
Now we will have three executive saloons with the same displacement engines. Not to mention that this is from the three biggest competing manufacturers. Now I understand the reason behind it all. The respective regions have their own emissions regulations and so forth, thus manufacturers are trying to get as much power as they can out of smaller engines. Heck! Volvo is saying they want 400+KW out of four-pot engines!
I am for saving the planet and all that, but these are cars – things that make people like me very happy. My mother just rolls her eyes and smiles when I put my foot down in our 3.0L V6 Pajero. It is not the best sounding car in the world (it sounds like a hair-dryer at low speeds), but hearing the engine work at high revs makes me happy. Having these smaller engine cars will be better.