Well, we haven't been down this particular trail for several years, so I guess that it's time to thrash it out for the benefit of the more recent members.
There are many reasons, all open to discussion as to whether they are fact based, or opinion based on personal usage by the more senior members which will often hold the same prestige as fact. I'll mention a few to get this started, but I yield to those whose expertise is superior to mine, which is just about everyone.
- #1 is the fact that the method of calculating an engine's horsepower has changed several times since the '60s and '70s, as well as the legal aspects of how many horsepower are allowed in a LT/GT to remain within those classifications. A case in point, name the make/model that was built prior to 1980 that came with a 20 hp engine. There are lots that came with 19.9 hp engines.
- Older GTs usually came with cast iron engines. Newer models rarely, if ever have cast iron blocks. They may have cast iron sleeves, but the blocks are aluminum.
- Old technology relied more on a brute force approach to getting the job done, whether pulling logs, or ramming air into the combustion chamber. The new technology uses computer modeling to get the same effect out of lighter and/or smaller components for feeding the engine its fuel/air allotment.
- In days gone by, a 2 hp increase often called for an increase in engine displacement, or a whole new block to allow that increase. Today, fuel induction (not necessarily fuel injection) changes will often allow 2 or even 3, two horsepower increment changes to the same block with no other changes required, much as the various horsepower Chevy 327s of the '60s that had nothing different than an intake manifold and carb change to go from 195 hp to 235+ hp.
- The old engines had splash lubrication which required owner maintenance dedication to achieve a long service life. The newer engines have pressurized and filtered lubrication delivery that is less of a maintenance hassle.
These are but a few of the talking points. Bottom line, compare apples to apples. Use the current methods of horsepower calculation and you may
find that the old engines were substantially under rated. They were certainly durable with proper maintenance. Keep in mind that lighter in weight scores positive points in hot air balloons, but it doesn't keep the tires in firm contact with the ground when pulling mom's car out of the ditch.
Okay, I'm done! Have at it gents.
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