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Any Car Can Be Fast

Any Car Can Be Fast

Any Car Can Be Fast

Copyright 2001 ACSWD

Say your driving down the street when you are stoped by a very long red light. The car next to you is a Lamborgini capable of 3.8 sec 0-60 times while you are sitting in an escort capable of 10 sec times. The light turns green and you are dusted by the overwhelming car. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could beat that egotistical car. Now a days it would be possible for a Escort to beet a Lambo.           

How you say, well with the simple tuning of course. If you bought one performance part every day you could be contending as a fast car. The place I most recommend to buy your parts would be at  JCWhitney.com . First buy the basics like a K&N Air Filter, new iridium  spark plugs, high temp wires, cold air filter and interstate battery. Then once that is complete you should get a stainless steel header and exhaust pipes. If you have a bit of money you could look into the titanium ones.

Once you are finished with all that I would recommend looking into a turbo. There are a lot of gadgets that make the turbo run and there also are many variables to what kind you should use. I recommend you get a subcription to a magazine on turbos and also one on your specific car so you know exactly what you need. The cheapest place for these magazines would be MagazineCity.com .

If you really want to be fast you are going to want some nitro. Nitro is good for increasing speed but it also makes things very hot so you might need to get some new rings, cylinder heads,  gaskets, et so your engine doesn’t blow up.

If you did everything in this article you could possibly beet that Lamborgini and a lot of other cars with your 4 sec Escort.    

RE: Any Car Can Be Fast

Aaron, you have a very "Ronald Reagen" approach to racing here.  If you through enough money at it , it WILL go fast!!! Speed costs $$$, how fast can you afford to go?

To make that little Ford beat the Lambo's 3.8 , it will take about $7000 , not taking into account reliability and doing most of the labor yourself.


PS---When my '63 Mini-Cooper S is finished the power to weight will be around 8.0 to one or better (albiet at a cost of more than $12,000)!!!  Somewhat better p/w than the Lambo!!!

RE: Any Car Can Be Fast

Escort is front drive isn't it? How would you get enough traction to get a 3.8 0-60? Maybe you'd have to drive in reverse.


Greg Locock

RE: Any Car Can Be Fast

It also depends on how far you are racing. You personally could out run any car at 5 to 10 feet being the distance raced.
Or it could depend on how the race is set up. I once in my 91 GMC S-15 Jimmy, 4.3L Beat a 91 5.0 mustang in a about a half mile. I got sick of him talking about how fast his fast his car was. So one day after work as we were puling out of the parking lot I challeged him to a race. I was stopped at the light to leave he was behind me. The light changed I rounded the corner and shifted into second. We raced up to the next light and he never caught me. I rubbed it into him for weeks. There was nothing on my truck but a nicely tuned stock engine and trans.

Each car has areas they excell in better than others. You want to beat a sports car with a Escort. Wait for a nice snowy day with roads that aren't cleared and race them then. Your front wheel drive Escort will kill them.


RE: Any Car Can Be Fast

One of our customers has a new Diablo and he is
VERY sensitive to derogatory comments about his car.  Too bad, it's a pretty car, albiet not to my taste.  To the point here, you boys , as  well as myself, were raised on rear drive cars (I have owned front drivers, but not many) and you obviously are not in tune with what the kids are doing in the Import Car Drag Racing Assc.---Would you believe a Honda Civic--9.5 sec. @ 145+mph in the 1/4 mile and still street legal.  How about a Mazda RX-7 --8+ sec. @ 178mph.  Or a late model VW--10.00sec. @ 138+mph and driven to and from the track!  These cars are in the steet catagory, for the modified times, how about a Ford Escort with a twin turbo, nitro fed 4.8 liter V6--in the high 6 second range @ over 200mph!!!( Run that by the folks over at R & D,  Greg.)

These times are representative of what I watched on Speedvision last night from the L.A. County Dragway at the National Runoffs.  An "old" Mazda 100 sedan (the original rotary sedan from Mazda) won the overall  modified title.  All it takes is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$, talent,$$$$$$$$$$$$, a proper work ethic, $$$$$$$$$$$$$, time,$$$$$$$$$$, a little luck,$$$$$$$$$$$$,skilled craftsmen,and a lot of $$$$$$$$$$$$$ !!!

"The times, they are a changin', boys"  Smokey Yunic (I think)


RE: Any Car Can Be Fast

6 seconds yes. But I still don't think you could get enough traction from a conventionally proportioned FWD to get 3.8 seconds 0-60.

Assuming that we can't convert it to 4wd or RWD, or run in reverse, you'd have to hack most of the body off above the waistline, put some ballast in, fit sticky tyres, and then get to work on the engine and trans.

And I still don't think you'd get there!

Let's do the sums. In metric.

Required acceleration =60*1500/3600/3.8=6.6 m/s/s

Wheelbase is say 2.4 m

C of G is say 2.4*0.4 behind front wheel =0.96 m

C of G is almost exactly 0.5 m off the ground. (I checked)

so taking moments about the rear wheel's contact patch, I get a vertical force of 4.3 N/(kg of body mass) on the front wheels, at 6.6 m/s/s

So we'd need a coefficient of friction of 1.53, which is not really feasible.


Greg Locock

RE: Any Car Can Be Fast

Greg , I agree with you on most things, but you must really SEE this Escort to believe it.  Zero to over 200 mph in a little over 6 seconds !!!!!!!!!!!!  They didn't break the 0 to 60 out , but based on what I saw, I would estimate it at around 2 seconds or so.  I am from the old school in drag racing, I broke an NHRA national record back in the early 60's , a time when ALL the best engineers and tire men said the ULTIMATE ET in the 1/4 mile would be 8.5 seconds and 250 mph.(they used a lot of math then, too)  I believe the ET's dropped into the sub 5 second range back in the  80's and the speed went over 300mph about the same time, approx.  Now we are looking at sub 4.5 seconds and 325mph (there have been several rules changes to slow the cars down , even). I talked to one of the funny-car crew chiefs last week and he seems to think that horspower for their engines are approching 10,000 HP, not my estimate,( I find it difficult to comprehend[most of the crew chiefs inflate their estimates ???] this level of power in a 500 cubic inch  pushrod engine) but he should know.
Not to beat you up too much on this point, but that little yellow late model VW bug went 10 seconds at 130 mph (+/-) and I venture a guess that it's 0 to 60 times were 4 seconds or so.( My 'Vette went 12.20 @ 105.57 mph in 1963 and my 0 to 60 times were in the 3.5 second range. I took a IMSA GT Pantera from 0 to 100 to 0 in roughly 10 seconds at the old Riverside raceway, 1983 I think (I was a  driving instructor for seven years then), so, as  you can see, I am in total awe of what these kids are doing with the import car racing.  I am equally convinced that all this will eventually make it down under, if it hasn't already.  I don't know the specifics of how they do it, but if these old eyes aren't fooling me, I watched them do it (on Speedvision).  Looks like I have talked myself into going up to LA Dragway to watch, live, up close and personal.


RE: Any Car Can Be Fast

Gah. Brain fade. I was concentrating on the 6 second number, not where you were at the end of that time!

Those times/speeds are amazing, but I think my math shows that you COULDN'T POSSIBLY get a standard FWD Escort to do 3.6 0-60, just by engine mods, which was his claim.

Your veedub was rear wheel drive, which would give it a 20-40% (roughly) traction advantage over a FWD.


Greg Locock

RE: Any Car Can Be Fast


You had better check your video tape of Speed Vision again. From working on many an Escort, I would have a tough time finding enough room in the front end to package a 4.3L V-6 with twin turbo's, all the gear and a trans-axle. Was the driver sitting in the back seat??? I have seen escort's modified to rear drive with a V6 engine up front. This would change the C.G. quite a bit.

Just my thoughts

RE: Any Car Can Be Fast

OK , OK--- All this new stuff prompted me to go over to Walmart and read one of the front driver magazines (just read through it, too cheap to buy it) and this is what I found---
The Hondas are front drive, they get traction with HUGE slicks on the front and hydraulically operated wheelie bars at the back that transfer all the weight to the front wheel during the initial take off.  They are modified to the extreme and DO turn times in the 9 second bracket and much lower in some cases at speeds up to 180 mph.  0 to 60 times and 0 to 100 times are sub 5 seconds (did not single out 0 to 60 , but I still think  it would be sub 4 seconds).

The ESCORT I  was refering to, D2, is in reality a tube framed chassis with a Ford Focus body, my mistake.  It is still a specific race car like any funny car and relates to a street vehicle in the same way.( my oldest got a kick out of the fact that the old man, Mr. Motorhead, didn't know the Escort from the Focus----eh, so what?)

I  couldn't find anything on the VW, new model, but I  thought it was a  watercooled I-4 or V-6 ???, turbo (with nitrous) front driver. ??????? The older VW's were obviously rear drive, and one old bug went 140mph which would terrify even me.

A slightly more informed and still in awe---

RE: Any Car Can Be Fast

I think the VW Paradise rail (flat 4 cyl. aircooled configuration with turbo, nitrous, and injection) made a couple 1/4 mile passes in the high 6s.  Chris Bubetz's turbo Bug got into the 8s, I've seen slow motion video where the suspension is unloading when he hits 2nd, and three of his wheels are off the ground!  The whole car just jumps.  You're right, BIG $$$$$!!

Steve Steven K. Madoski
Mechanical Engineer
Ocean Systems Division
NFESC, Code ESC 52
Port Hueneme, CA

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