Anyone who races cars (or toasters, anything for that matter) is a cheater and as someone who writes/talks about cars I am without question a liar. Quarter mile time, price, color and the granddaddy of them all, horsepower. All is subject to the automotive equivalent of creative license. BS factor increases directly in proportion to beer consumed and number of people within earshot. Reading about cars on the internet? Count on a flat 40% BS factor being applied to all statements. So how is one to sort the facts from fiction when you can't just 'whip it out'? We use a measuring stick that can be discussed in mixed company without fear of yet another indecent exposure case. In today's lesson we discuss measuring horsepower.
There are two generally accepted measures of any given cars 'power', the manufacturer's 'Rated HP' and the numbers spit out from a dynamometer (dyno). Manufacturer figures are taken 'at the crank' and not 'to the wheels'. Quoting power at the crank is often a qualifier of BS, for example:
'My car has 345hp, men fear me and women's panties drop when I drive past.'
'I am calling BS, have you had it on a dyno?'
'Well no, that's at the crank, probably.'
Read as: 'I took the manufacturers claim of 300hp and the manufacturer of my exhaust's claim of +45hp and added them together'.
These numbers impress no one but your mother and the AWD folks (25% drive-line loss bro). Power to the wheels is what ends most arguments where HP is concerned.
So dyno numbers are the great equalizer? Whoah, slow down there Turbo, was it a Mustang Dyno, DynoDynamics or a Dynojet? Eddy current or hydraulic brake? What was the ambient temperature when you ran it? Humidity? Altitude? Well the 2004 Cobra has a manufacturer claimed 5% HP loss due to daylight savings time…..seriously, we will argue about anything. That being said, dyno numbers are the closest thing to 'proof' short of God himself coming down from on high and telling us that NSX torque numbers are adequate.
I am going to get to the point here. Promise. Don't lie, you have already watched the video anyway.
Tipping the scales a shade over a ton and a half, numbers wise the 930 punches above its weight even to this day. Round 280hp when it rolled off the line bound for America (yes, that's at the crank, and yes that's what Porsche quoted…shut up) with a 0–60 tested time of 4.6secs. Impressive to be sure but in 1986 this blew the minds and hairlines of the automotive press back to their collective asses. It was fast. A big hipped 911 Turbo could cleanly knock off panties from two city blocks away. But here is the rub, and it's a big one.
Today you can go down to a Kia dealership and pick up 2014 Sportage whose 4 pot turbo mill does a manufacturer claimed 260hp. Or go nuts, get a 2015 'Stang GT with 435hp of STFU on tap. Suddenly the 930's hp figure feels…quaint. Sure, you tell yourself 'but the 930 is lighter' that however won't help you sleep at night or ease the stoplight anxiety when dad rolls up in a new Kia…..sigh.
I know, it's a terribly unfair comparison to make of the old girl, but….it gnaws at me. Every car person at some time feels this grating in the back of their mind. As the time passes those 280 manufactured claimed ponies stop pulling their weight when it comes to bench racing. And who knows just how many have escaped the barn over the years. What I am trying to say is that the nostalgia wins no arguments. So what can be done?
A dyed in the wool enthusiast will first try to silence the gnawing by fixing it with money. New exhaust, +45hp. New cams +30hp. K&N, +5hp. You are an embarrassing amount of money lighter but your argument is +80hp better right? The car is +80hp faster right? Not really. You are no more convinced than anyone else is when you rattle off your new estimation of power. Then you look at your credit card bill and realize you couldn't have dug a hole any faster than if you'd used a nuke. So, what do you do, you strap your pride/integrity onto a dyno and let it ride. You get a receipt for all your stupidity.
When you put a car on a dyno 'you know'. You see, hear and have paid an impartial party to tell you just how much swagger you should rightly have as you pull into the local Cars & Coffee. When your credibility is questioned at the bar you slap down that shoddy faded dot matrix dyno print out that you keep in your wallet right next to the photo of daddy's little girl. And proud we all are of her.
Fun Fact: You can always spot the guys whose HP claims have been called BS too many times. They will be the ones tossing a dyno print out on their dash while at the grocery store getting milk.
I purchased my car already modified. Cams, headers, no cat, exhaust, TiAL wastegate etc. This is a great way to mitigate The Gnawing, on someone else's dime. I added a bigger intercooler this year so yeah, scratch that last sentence. I still needed 'to know'. So again, I fixed it with money and got Black Betty strapped to the rollers at a local dyno where they 'know me'. So here it is, the naked truth.
337hp/342ftlbs at ~13lbs of boost.
The numbers laid bare on the altar of truth the excuses can begin in earnest. In the interest of berevity I only offer one.
It was hot. Heat in most situations is a HP thief and in a turbocharged car intake air temperature is critical. Low is good, high is bad. This is why I bought that great big damn intercooler. At idle just the up-pipe temperature into the intercooler on my car read as 110F. Wide open at full boost it was hitting 195F. Hot. It's hard to say just how much the new intercooler actually helped once the air hit the cylinders. But given what I now know…perhaps a bigger still intercooler wouldn't be a bad idea.
I have had good days on the dyno and bad days on the dyno. Whether its your pride or a binder full of 'service history' you go onto the rollers with some amount of expectation/trepedation. I told myself that if I walked away with 300hp then I would consider it a good day. No sooner had the dyno sheet hit my hand and the humble/brag texts been sent then The Gnawing returned. Sure, I cleared my bar but…more would be better right?
So where does that leave us? With something you have heard me say before. How much is enough? A little bit more than too much. That's enough. Armed with where I am now in terms of power what is that number? 425hp. I think that's the number. I think.
In the next installment, Christmas comes late to the 930's gearbox. Thanks for reading.
Want to read more, cant be bothered to decipher Kinja? Click here.