It's Detroit Auto Show time again and despite it's dreary location in the middle of the rust belt, many hotels in the area still exist, presumably for this one event. It is THE automotive show of the year... that isn't named SEMA and held in Las Vegas. Journalists from all over the world head to Michigan in the dead of January every year to be the first to see what's going to be on sale at 'a dealer near you' and what's coming down the road by overusing the phrase "very soon." This show unveils many shiny new things and is, indeed, a very exciting time... except for Pontiac, who no longer builds EXCITEMENT.
Ford made a huge splash at the show by announcing the return of the two-seater Ford GT. It's basically a race car that you can put a license plate on and is based on the mid 2000's Ford GT that was modeled on the original 1960's Ford GT40. The "40" means it stood 40 inches high and it only existed to beat the pants off of Ferrari at LeMans; which it did, back in the day of black and white cameras. Original examples are worth millions of dollars now, but the Ford GT from about 10 years ago was an even more amazing car. It had a big V8 with a whiney supercharger sitting on top of it and the whole engine and transmission sat about 4 inches behind the drivers skull, for added danger and giggles. It's a beast of a car that will easily kill you, but it's a blast to drive well north of 200mph and still sells for almost a half million dollars a decade later.
The NEW Ford GT is poised to be another revolutionary car, but it could mark the beginning of the end for the most iconic engine that humans have ever created: The V8. You see, this new Ford GT (coming soon) is powered by a 600 horsepower twin turbo V6 that doesn't really resemble the V6 that comes in the Mustang convertible you rented the last time you were in Vegas. The Ford GT's V6 is far more fuel-efficient and lighter than it's ancestors, and technology has apparently advanced so much that the iconic V8 engine - that gear heads know and love - is now on the endangered species list. This makes me sad.
Mad Max, the post-apocalyptic movie starring a young and less crazy Mel Gibson, saw this coming. Max drove a blown Ford Falcon police car that the wacky Aussies called "the last of the V8's." Further evidence that my worst fears are coming true is centered around talk of Ford dropping the iconic 5.0 V8 Mustang in favor of a V6 turbo powered Mustang. The rise of gas prices have forced the engineers to make more horsepower with less cylinders, and on paper, I guess that's a good thing. In my little reality, there are plenty of dead dinosaurs to pump out of the ground for hundreds of years, so please let me keep my gas guzzling... oooh, look… squirrel!
Nissan has been making it's GT-R with a twin turbo V6 for years now and there are very few cars that can even come close to being as fast as Godzilla here.
But the sound that a V6 makes, even one with twin turbos and internal witchcraft that give it 600 horsepower, isn't even comparable to the music that comes from a V8. I suppose that evolution dictates that, as time progresses, things get smaller and more efficient and that's usually a good thing. But you can have my V8 powered car when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers; or figure out a way to sell me a totally silent Tesla Model S that goes from 0-60 in 3.2 seconds for the same price as a Camaro.
I'll write about the new Tesla that gives me impure thoughts next week.
Erica Habedank | CW44 Tampa Bay
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