Ask The Racer

Question #1: From: Paul M. Is horsepower more important than torque in drag racing and why?

You’ve probably heard various racers and engine builders talk about torque vs HP. Some will say “torque is what moves the car”, other’s say HP is what really matters. Torque is critical but HP is important as well. Torque’s definition is how much twisting force you are putting on the driveshaft, typically measured in ft lbs. Horsepower is multiplying this twisting force by RPM (how fast you can keep applying this force).

If we didn’t have gears, then torque would be more important. That’s because in any 1 gear, the torque peak is where the car accelerates, producing the highest Gs. The torque peak can be important for launching the line, but after that HP is what matters. Please understand this is one mans opinion. Like my father always told me, “he said son, opinions are like A-holes, everyone has one and they all stink!!

Question #2: From: Steven A. With regards to the Oldsmobile 442, what did the 442 represent?

The “4-4-2” name (pronounced “Four-four-two”) derives from the original car’s four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual transmission, and dual exhausts (Some maintain that the ‘2’ indicated positive traction rear differential) most people assume it’s the engine size but these were the engine options offered at that time:


330 cu in (5.4 L) V8 400 cu in (6.6 L) V8


4-speed manual 3-speed manual 2-speed Jet-away automatic 3-speed Turbo-hydramatic

Question #3: Martha P. How do muscle cars from the 70s compare to modern muscle cars?

Ford Mustang

The 70’s muscle cars were brutes and I mean brutes!! The new hot rods of today are so advanced and powerful right out of the factory. For a 1970’s rod, in order to achieve large horsepower it took extensive machining and performance parts to achieve the desired outcome. We are talking in the neighborhood of 500+ ponies. Now a days you can purchase a 700hp+ car straight from the dealer 7 days a week. They are simply better in every way possible as far as technology goes. But to a lot of people, there’s nothing that’ll compare to an old COPO Camaro, GTX or

Hemi ‘Cuda of yesterday. All you have to do

is just find yourself a classic car show and talk to the owners of good old Detroit muscle!!

Image by Charles Risen from Pixabay

Here is another Ask the Racer post and video that you might like. I would like you to check out the post Camshaft RPM Range.

Let us know if you like the Ask the Racer series.

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