Less is More
In decades past, automakers produced more powerful engines by adding cylinders. As the old saying goes, there’s no replacement for displacement… Or is there?
Case in point: Chevrolet and Ford. In 1929 Chevy dealt a severe blow to old Henry’s popular Model A by introducing a six-cylinder engine that was very similar in price to the four-banger Ford. A few years later the Blue Oval would trump the Bowtie by debuting the world’s first mass-produced V8 in 1932.
Surely this is not the first example of a “horsepower race” but it’s one of the most memorable. It also helped start a trend that ultimately culminated in iconic muscle cars of the 1960s, some of which were powered by monstrous engines approaching – and in some instances exceeding – 500 cubic inches!
But ground-pounding V8s have essentially gone the way of the Apatosaurus, replaced by rev-happy sixes and high-tech four-cylinders. Fuel-economy demands have forced this change. Today automakers are taking downsizing to an extreme. By relying on advanced technologies like direct injection and turbocharging they’re introducing tiny engines that put out serious power. One such example is the so-called “Downsizing Demonstrator” produced by German supplier company Mahle.