?Diesel – The New Muscle Car
The muscle car era hit Americans roughly around 1964. It was a race between Detroit automakers to produce the meanest, fastest, most powerful cars on the street. Cars were rated by the rumble coming from under the hood, not just how they looked on the outside. The young generation of drivers wanted a car that had plenty of horsepower, could lay down 2 strips of rubber a mile long, and was able to barrel down the 1/4 mile faster than anyone else. But that period in time slowly faded out and by the mid-70’s was over with.
Have Americans entered a new muscle car age? No…but they have been introduced to a muscle truck. The light duty diesel market has produced some very powerful machines in recent years and the race is on to produce the most powerful diesel powered truck. The big 3 are fighting (not literally) for the top spot, and in such a poor economy you most definitely need popularity. Though it is debatable, I believe the diesel market to have received its biggest boost in popularity somewhere around 2003. It was 2003 that the 6.0 liter Power Stroke diesel was introduced into Ford pickups, and the jack rabbit acceleration of these trucks seemed to have started the torque wars between automakers. Imagine a 6,000 pound vehicle capable of out-performing (in every aspect) any gas powered truck on the street (with the exception of a few high-end sports trucks being offered). Not to mention, there are not many cars coming off the lot these days that could come anywhere near matching the performance of these vehicles.
What is truly fascinating about the new diesel trucks is their power potential. With fairly simple upgrades, these trucks can put out 500+ rear wheel horsepower without any internal modifications. How many gasoline engines can do that? And for the diesel enthusiast, a 700-1000 HP daily driver is no longer just a dream; its a reality! The parts and information necessary to turn your heavy hauler into a street machine have long been available. The potential of these engines has increased the popularity of diesel motor sports, including drag racing and sled pulling.
Sadly, we may have seen the end of our second “”muscle car”” era. The government is cracking down on diesel emissions and this has eliminated much of the power potential through the use of aftermarket parts. However, the diesel market is far from dead, and with every major automaker moving towards diesel powered vehicles, who knows where this could lead…round 3? With the big 3 increasing horsepower ratings to 350 HP recently, the diesel truck market is still booming despite being hurt by new emissions requirements. At this rate, it will not be long before Ford, Chevy, and Dodge are selling 500 horsepower diesel powered trucks…and possibly cars?