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grumpyvette

when is it FAST ENOUGH!

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we all seem to be on a constant quest to make our cars faster, now having been this route over and over for fourty plus years and many cars, dozens of engines ETC.and having spent a small fortune on cars and engines over the years it EVENTUALLY sinks in that YOULL NEVER have the fastest car around and you only get to ENJOY your car when its running correctly.

So, whats a realistic goal, whats IMPRESSIVE to you? and what will make YOU happy?

now I sat down and spent some time thinking this thru, thinking about what it takes, to have a good car, and for ME its not all about speed or E.T.,

Ive owned a very low 10 second corvette, Ive had several 11 second cars, but the cars Ive enjoyed the most were the ones I got to drive on the street with both performance and FEW PROBLEMS,CARS that while faster than average, were also cars that appeared to be nearly stock, and didn,t attract a good bit of attention, its just a P.I.T.A. to drive a car when your constantly needing to think about keeping the plugs from fouling or the local cops hearing it running,or one thats about to get stolen if you park it,without constant supervision,ETC. and when the local track requires a certifed roll cage, trans blanket,blow proof bell housings, and battery disconnects, ETC. and you can,t drive to the track, it fast becomes a P.I.T.A.

most of the cars Ive really enjoyed driving were big block cars that would run in the low 12s or high 11 second range on street tires, they could be driven on trips to the store, or on vacation,, DEPENDABILITY was a HUGE PLUS, what made them so great was that they were both dependable and faster than ALMOST all the cars they got to play with on the street,you could EMBARRASS the local street screach ricers and mustang crowd, and there was little worry about breakage or problems, and you could park them without needing to watch them every second.

I just thought ID point that out for the newer guys here!

don,t get so worried about running fast! build your car so you can ENJOY it and DRIVE IT.

having 600-700 hp is nice, but nearly useless if you can,t go anywhere with the car............think it thru......you may really want 400-500 hp and a dependable car rather than a 600hp-900hp garage queen!

having a larger displacement engine generally means you can run with the engine slightly out of perfect tune and still have impressive performance, as in most things a compromise needs to be struck, but having a car you can enjoy on the street beats having a toy you can rarely get to drive, and only at the track, in most cases.

 

 

 

Ive worked on hundreds of cars over the years and the trend seems to be that a skilled driver in a good ,well thought thru combo can have a relieable car in the high 11 second range,to the low 12s, but once you get into a much faster car the problems opperating it on the street muiltiply to the point where you don,t enjoy driving it and spend an enormus amount of time and money just maintaining it.

and a guy who knows how to tune/adjust,a large displacement big block or car with a power assist like a turbo, nitrous,or in some cases a supercharger makes the goal far easier because your engines not putting all its potential power out all the time at a given rpm range.

now Im certainly not saying you can,t build a good 9-10 second combo, but its going to take a good deal of thought and an enormus amount of money if you want it relieable, and your driving & mechanical skills better be good:D

the one factor I didn,t touch on was power to weight ratio while its very unlikely you can do it starting with a nearly stock corvette due to the weight, the LIGHTER the WEIGHT the easier it is to ACCELLERATE AND SLOW a car and the LESS STRESS the suspension and drive train will be under, so there ARE OPTIONS if you want a fast street car, but they may NOT be a corvette, there are some kit cars, t-buckets, etc. that can be built that weight easily a full 1000-1500 lbs less than a stock corvette, that will allow a 500hp engine to produce astounding performance.

 

http://www.miata.net/sport/Physics/

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Well said. My goal is to produce enough power to beat almost any "Production" based vehicle.

 

Those damn vets walk all over me right now, I'm NA for now.

 

The hardest part for me is, do I really "Need" that much power? No is the answer, but it's an addiction, hobby and outlet.

 

I'm very, very, cheap, so I buy parts that are only deals. Otherwise I'd be done along time ago.

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I honestly thought a 12 secound car would be fast enough. Well that didnt last long. About to the time that I ran a 12.8 at the track with lowered boost to help my clutch not to slip so much and it still slipped, and with my horrible driving and hitting the rev limiter a few times. So right now im kinda hoping that a 11 sec car will be fast enough. Cause I cant afford to build a faster engine right now lol.

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Very well said Grumpy.

I had the same basic goal as you with my Z and have come real close.

It can be a bit of a pain for me to drive on the street right now because I don't have a good set of rims and tires for street duty and it rides a bit rough but it's street legal. :)

With 275hp at the wheels and ~2500lbs of car that makes for ~9.1 lbs/hp. Add to that a very flat torque curve and it makes the car easy to drive on the street with enough punch to out run MOST of the fast cars around town.

The best part is I have the reliabilty of a basically stock GM V8 with very high performance and the satisfaction of having built it myself. :)

 

Wheelman

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The power to weight idea that was mentioned is exactly why I chose an S30 over some of the other cars I was looking at for a "toy".

 

I usually set goals to meet and know that they will not be the end goal, but it's much easier to meet those smaller goals and be happy for a while, then to never meet or take years to meet that larger goal.

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One can always redefine the goals......gad....I have over and over. And it had driven our race to continuous improvement.

 

But when I now do... its for my own benefit!

 

Grumpy has opened quit a can of worms!

 

I usually set goals to meet and know that they will not be the end goal, but it's much easier to meet those smaller goals and be happy for a while, then to never meet or take years to meet that larger goal.

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Let me put my definition in. My stock Z in first gear pulled LESS than my Z does now in third gear. My only gripe is that the roads are so poorly maintained (geared to the SUV driver) that I wish I had some sort of switch to raise the car and soften it up for taking the wife out to dinner. Other than that, my Z satisfies my need for thrust. Of course everytime I turn around, I think about adding "just a little more" boost. :wink:

 

It is mainly always driveable, has AC, comfortable seats, heat, drives quietly when I want, and loud when I want. It will go slow and it will go fast just as well. Even though it has no modern safety gear, I feel safest and in most control with the Z.

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I have to agree with GrumpyVette all the way. We had a lot of fun with our car last year but the heat the blower was making runing race gas just slowed us down so much, on a hot day we would loose as much as 8 tenths and on a cold day we were awsome. So I decided to go blown Alky. Man let me tell you the Power is like night and day compared to race gas.

 

Now we have to much power and can't even make a decent full pass. We went to the track Sunday to tune it down. 1st pass we left the bunout linkage limter on but it was spinning then hooked and had a run but only had 1/8 of throttle. 2nd pass we took the linkage limiter off since we tightned the front limiters up and again we were doing wheelies again even after retarding the timing another 8 degrees, which brought out total timing to 20 degrees.

 

Now what do you do? I guess I will have to under drive the blower and see if that takes enough power away to run the car or Just pull the engine and build another car to put the engine in. We are only runing the blower 2% overdriven.

 

So how fast do you want to go? We would be happy at consistent 8.50's 1/4 mile but can't even make a decent pass now. :icon55:

 

John

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i thought a mid-12s car would be fast enough for me as my last car only went 14.0's

i find myself wanting more power and more torque (the true 'feeling' of power IMO)

I've also learned that making power is nothing if you can't put it down to the street without breaking parts (right Jerry? :) ) This has made me learn even more about the cars and has been a very enlightening process.

I'm hoping that 11's next year will happen and that will be enough to satisfy my needs. I too like having a fast car that is 100% streetable and stock looking. That is probably the BEST part about this car. Close the hood and doors and it looks like i have a nicely painted datsun with a set of rims, nothing more. Sleeper till I get on the loud peddle. :)

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LOL, I just love the fact that Grumpy's cautionary tale of avoiding excess includes limit as low as 400 to 500 HP... But in support of what he is saying, I have driven 250ish HP S30's that were no fun at all, or beat the crap out of you due to gearing and suspension, and one with an auto tranny V8 @400ish HP that was a dream to drive. I am fully aware that while the bug to get more power or speed will always be there, I want to daily drive the car, and anything over 400 HP might diminish the experience. I would not be suprised to find that I end up driving it at a mild tune and far less HP. I find all the more extreme examples being built here just cool as hell... but I don't really want one one for my self.... = )

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both dependable and faster than ALMOST all the cars they got to play with on the street,you could EMBARRASS the local street screach ricers and mustang crowd

 

My sentiments exactly. To be a sleeper that can take others by surprise and embarrass cars that cost way more than yours. It has to be able to beat most of the wannabes--fast enough though if it is beat then you just give props to the guy who beat you. If I had a 10 second car and was beat by some ricer fair and square then my hat's off to him. But at the same time if a guy beats me because he gutted his interior, or because he gets 3 mpg, who's the real winner?

 

Way more than being fast, a car is fun if it is quick, but only if most of the other features are preserved. Lightweight, small, and hence easy to drive, yet comfortable are a great combo (which is why I think the s30 is a terrific candidate). I would hate to ruin any of this by not being able to drive the car comfortably on my wallet, knowing that it cost me a fortune on gas to cruise around town, or that the powertrain is being so worked that it is just a ticking timebomb.

 

In the end, you get bored with a car when you run out of upgrades, be that the largest turbo you can find or the most pointless novelty footpedals they sell. Does this mean that for some people "enough power" is when either the car blows up or wraps itself around a tree? Absolutely.

 

I'll take 500hp, 500mpg, 500W, and a/c, please. Also, it would be nice if the roof didn't leak. :D

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Well said. My goal is to produce enough power to beat almost any "Production" based vehicle.

 

Those damn vets walk all over me right now, I'm NA for now.

 

The hardest part for me is, do I really "Need" that much power? No is the answer, but it's an addiction, hobby and outlet.

 

I'm very, very, cheap, so I buy parts that are only deals. Otherwise I'd be done along time ago.

 

I'll buy into "addiction, hobby, and outlet" and add some others: the satisfaction that comes from designing the car, scrounging the parts, and earning whatever figures are on the timing slip.

 

My "change of life" vehicle is a MazdaSpeed MX5 (Miata) daily driver. It is more fun than anything I've ever owned... and only 177hp. So much fun that it really recharged my drive to finish the Z.

 

Here's the mantra: If "some" is good, "more" is better, and "too much" just about right.

 

g

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I like Jay Leno's take on this equation. He regularly gets a kick going "fast" in any number of his slower older cars, and seems to have just as much fun, if not more than driving one of his fast cars. If the car gives the illusion of speed then your mind tricks you into thinking you're going faster and having more fun (and getting away with it).

The practicality of a street driven car is what 99% of people think about. You have a car to get you from point A to point B. The rest of us are the 1% who have to push the limits, but like grumpyvette says, There's always someone faster than you.

By the time I'm to the top of second gear in my Z, I'm already traveling faster than all but freeway speeds. That's plenty of get up and go for someone who doesn't live anywhere close to an official track. Plus, having a 36 year old car that pushes you back in your seat and makes noises unlike anything else at 6500+ RPM makes for lots of excitement any day.

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Fast enough or not.... Low 12's and 120 mph on street tires seems to be the magic number, since the stock rear end setup starts to break things in the 11's.

 

Comfort level in the car (AC, exhaust noise, idle, ect) can vary greatly when it comes to 11 and 12 second z's. As I got older, I slowly figured out the trick is to keep the car comfortable and make it fast.

 

But, thinking back. I had the most fun in my 240 when it was only a high 12 second car. I ruined it for the street when it became a 10 second car. And that power made it dangerous.

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