What will we do when all the Dinosaurs are dead ?
Those mechanical relics that chew copious amounts of fuel, make tremendous amounts of power and sound like soul stirring music to the ears to generations of automotive power junkies. What will we do when they're all dead and buried in the face of the latest fossil fuel crisis?
Petrol prices here in Australia have doubled in the past two years, putting a strain on the budgets of most working families. Now more than ever, keeping that special car with a V8 heart is increasingly difficult to justify.
Like it or not, the V8 engine has a place in the hearts of several generations and its a national icon in my country. Most people fondly recall their first ride in a "bent eight" with a passion rarely used to describe other types of cars. Take racing for instance, the two litre touring car series (four cylinder cars) that was kicked off in Australia after a healthy following in Europe went surrepticiously belly-up in short order from a lack of spectator support. Not so for the famed V8 Supercar Series since its inception over a decade ago.
I fear that the new generation of hybrid and alternate fuel vehicles are most definitely not going to offer anything like the gut wrenching power, wild eyed excitement or smooth charisma of the V8 muscle cars from the last five decades.
The days of owning a fast, interesting and distinctive V8 are rapidly coming to an end my friend and I can only suggest that anyone with the means to run one of these beauties does so now, while they still can. I will bet my last dollar that the next ten years will see all those great pieces of automotive significance legislated out of existance by beaurocrats that drive little tin box bland-mobiles.
Is there any hope for the V8 lover?
Short term, yes there are things you can do to lower your fuel bill. You can lightly modify your car with the addition of a more efficient aftermarket exhaust system that will let your V8 make an additional thirty or so horsepower. It acheives this feat by making your engine more efficient which can also mean lowered fuel consumption if you drive accordingly. Another avenue is a strict regime of servicing and tune-ups to keep your pride and joy running at its best. Lastly there is one other avenue worth exploring..... a cheaper fuel source.
Enter LPG or Liquified Petroleum Gas as its known in academic circles. It is a blend of Propane and Butane gas and its cost per unit is quite often half of petrol. LPG also has a hidden bonus for the performance enthusiast; an effective R.O.N. octane rating of around 104.
For the V8 dinosaur enthusiast this is a lifeline that allows them to run 70's supercars with minor modification that were originally designed to operate on 100 octane leaded fuel. Any motor already capable of running on unleaded fuel can easily operate on LPG and those that are still set up for leaded fuel will need either an upper cylinder lubricant or their valves and valve seats changed out for hardened items.
LPG is a fossil fuel and is unfortunately also a finite resource.
Live the dream while you can.
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