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'Car Engineers Scoff at Enthusiasts' Modifications. But Not Always.'

Interesting article… mostly correct. I am a retired automotive engineer and an enthusiast who modifies his own vehicles. Mostly suspension as I buy the horsepower I want from the manufacturer because I’m tired of pulling engines!

I’ve worked with Richard Parry-Jones (very arrogant guy!), Dave McLellan (a nice guy - did a lot for the Corvette) and I have a copy of Tom Gillespie’s Fundamentals of Vehicle Dynamics on my shelf. These are knowledgeable guys.

The U of Michigan research assistant mentioned in the article, Jason Siegel has no clue at all. It is far easier to make power today with the tons of turbo-charged and super-charged engines on the market today. A simple calibration change from dozens of “tuners” offering modified cals, can boost horsepower and torque in a couple of minutes without even opening the hood. Let’s see an enthusiast do that on a 68 Camaro!

And in contrast to Siegel’s statement, is is both easy and cost effective. Cals can make far larger percentage changes in boosted engines than they can in NA engines. That isn’t without penalty, however, as we know.

I always wonder about those dynometer charts they show as a result of an enthusiast making engine mods. You know, hp & torque vs rpm. They seem to go by that chart as the showing it worked. But it seems like there is a lot more to making a car perform and behave than that chart. For one thing, I believe that chart is made by holding the throttle wide open. Who drives with the throttle wide open all the time?