The United States Environmental Protection Agency apparently sees the hysteria about "global warming" as another 1970s-style power-grabbing opportunity.
Undoubtedly buoyed by the twin engines of 40 m.p.g.-Democrat talking points and the U.S. Supreme Court’s command to take a hard look at carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act, Margo Oge, director of the EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality laid down the law at the SAE 2007 World Congress.
According to the Automotive News (www.autonews.com), she taunted the assembled SAE engineers (who are actually the ones required to "make bricks without straw" when the coming CO2 regulations decimate the Second Supercar Era): "For many the first reaction was, 'The sky's falling. We cannot do it.' Well, you know what? The sky didn't fall," Oge said.
TRANSLATION: Kiss your chance at a factory-built supercar goodby.
Margo speculated that "many in her audience at the SAE 2007 World Congress would remember when tough new emissions limits were posed in the early 1970s."
As do many in the automotive aftermarket and millions of automobile enthusiasts.
Most of us could advise Margo that the "sky did fall" for performance car enthusiasts in the 1970s. Between 1970 and 1975, horsepower was cut in half on most new high performance cars. The number of high performance models dropped by about 90%. Hot Rod magazine was forced to start covering go-slow van conversions and four-cylinder Japanese cars due to a lack of hot Detroit offerings. Builders increasingly turned to street rodding in order to circumvent the EPA’s automotive stranglehold. The legendary supercar dealers -- such as Mr. Norm’s Grand Spaulding Dodge, Berger Chevrolet, Don Yenko, Fred Gibb, Ace Wilson’s Royal Pontiac – disappeared.
It got so bad that in order to make "Smokey and the Bandit II," the stunt men were forced to retrofit their Pontiac Trans-Ams with nitrous oxide kits just to be able to spin the rear tires for the cameras.
The hottest Ford Mustang in 1975-78 pumped out less than 140 horsepower and took around SEVENTEEN SECONDS to cover the standing start quarter mile. Nothing "Boss" about those numbers.
And this is the era the power-hungry environmental regulators get misty-eyed about?
Attend virtually any car show and you’ll see evidence of how unloved the 1970s were. For example, at this weekend’s Oklahoma Centennial Mustang Nationals, put on by the Mustang Club of America, out of the hundreds of ponycars displayed from over forty years Mustang history, only three mid-1970s Mustang II s were shown. And only one of those cars appeared to remain in the original EPA- approved low-performance tune.
Margo also glosses over the fact that to get back to 1960s levels of OEM performance required twenty years and millions of dollars. She ignores that the escalation in the technology required to build a modern supercar has priced such vehicles out of the budgets of millions of enthusiasts.
For example, at the aforementioned National Mustang Show, the vast majority of car owners were aging baby boomers. While the spectators included a reasonable mix of car-crazy youngsters (who somehow made it through the rampant anti-car indoctrination of the public school environmental curriculum), they could only look longingly at custom, supercharged Foose Mustangs, 425 h.p. Roushes, and 500 h.p. Shelby GT500s. These modern supercars are wholly out of the reach of the vast majority of the "youth market." A large share of the blame are the unseen "taxes" on high performance from government regulation and insurance industry greed.
In fact, Ford Motor Company seeming viewed the marketing prospects so dimly that they didn’t even bother to show up for this national event.
Margo also discounts the fact that most of the easy fixes have already been adopted. Sure, a mild hybrid GT500 built out of aluminum instead of steel and with exotica such as direct injection and cylinder deactivation could probably yield mild efficiency gains. But how many clock-punchers could ever hope to afford a $100,000.00 Mustang?
Apparently, bureaucratic hacks like the EPA’s Margo Oge have little respect for market choice and freedom of automobility. Instead they salivate at the renewal of "central planning" and monotone "appliance motoring."
While the excuse to intrude on our rights this time is to "prevent" global warming, the end result for performance car drivers will be the same.
What do you want to bet the 55 m.p.h. national speed limit is next?
For what the other side thinks, see http://speedzzter.blogspot.com/2006/09/click-clack-and-500-horsepower-ford.html