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Mark Goulette
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421 Posts
Don't get too wrapped up in HP numbers. An engine doesn't produce HP, it produces torque. HP is a mathematical calculation on how fast it can perform the work. More hp means the engine can do the work faster.....

That being said......there's no substitute for cubic inches. There will be some people that say they have smaller engines making more power, but they tend to be either turbo or supercharged, and all you're doing there is artificially making the engine "bigger" by forcing more air and fuel than it can take in on it's own. If you see a smaller engine with a lot of HP, check it carefully as it will tend to have a very high rpm peak for the hp and a very low number for torque, which will make it a slug to drive unless you rev the piss out of it.

As to what it would feel like to have more torque, here's how i'd put it: for example, if you had 300 ft lbs of torque and it pushes you into the seat, then at 500 it might crush you into it....and at 1000 you'll get blurry vision, have difficulty hanging onto the steering wheel, and might even have slight difficulty breathing.....but the other factor to put this into context is the HP factor. Have those torque values, but at low hp, you'll never notice them or they will be modest at best....but have those values with a combo that makes a substantial amount of HP in addition to that, then BAM!!! A big, over the road diesel these days can produce in excess of 2600 ftlbs of torque, but only make approx 650 hp. Yes, that's a huge amount, but how fast will the truck actually accelerate? Not real fast due to weight and other things. But put a 1000 hp, 800 ftlb engine into a car and what happens? INSTANT SPEEDING TICKET!!!

My dragster makes 1510 hp @ 7200 rpm. Torque is somewhere above 1300 ftlbs and that peak is below 5600 rpm. Not sure exactly what it is because when it was dyno'd the sweep started at 5600 rpm and the torque curve was already dropping at that point. So we had to guess. Car weighs 1935 lbs with my fat butt in it and a full tank of fuel. My 60' times are in the 1 second range....It's actually painful to launch the car because it hits so hard when the transbrake releases....and for the first 100 feet or so my vision is blurry and I feel like I'm being crushed...after that I'm still being pushed into the seat pretty hard, but it's not as violent as it is at the launch.....and this is all without the nitrous turned on....add the bottle and it gets worse....MUCH worse.....But damn it's fun!!!!
 
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