Lloyd . . . the power an engine puts out is NOT specifically related to
the combustion chamber design OR having the camshaft not in the cylinder
block. And then there's the issue of camshaft duration, timing, and how
well the ports of the engine "work" to facilitate air flow into and out
of the motor, not to forget the importance of a good undercar exhaust
system in the combination, too.
Mr. Hoover noted that when they started filling in some of the sides of
the combustion chamber, the power increased from what it otherwise was.
In other words, in current combustion chamber design, it takes "active
air" to make power--which means pretty much the same thing as a
wedge-shaped combustion chamber had with its "squish" area between the
piston and the cylinder head. Not all wedge motors have "active"
chambers and not all hemi chambers are otherwise.
The whole idea, back then, for the hemi head was increased breathing
capabilities due to unshrouded valves with respect to where they were
placed and oriented in the combustion chamber. Openning things up, as
the hemi head did, increased air flow and power over the normal wedge or
In modern times, port flow and orientations can make a wedge chamber
have similar breathing capabilities as a hemi head. Add in more modern
orientations of harnessing "swirl" in the mixture (kind of similar to
the old stratified charge principles being researched in the early
1960s, in some respects). A good 4-valve cylindrer head can compensate
in these areas too, in some ways better than having 2 large valves.
As for the power output of MB engines, all you have to do is look at the
power from the original Crossfire V-6 MB engine. Same 3.5L size as the
Chrysler 3.5L V-6. Camshafts in the same location and probably the same
number of valves. And the Chrysler 3.5L started out with 217 (if I
recall correctly) horsepower in a very cost effective unit. When you
look at the MB 3.5L on a display stand, the block ribbing and such look
neat, but it's very obvious that the Chrysler engine of the same size is
MUCH less expensive to build (although it has many of the prior Chrysler
HP V-8 engine orientations, such as full-floating piston pins, which the
original 340 V-8s used). No doubt, the MB 3.5L is a good engine, but
then those Chrysler guys have theirs too, with similar or more power
(especially in the 2nd gen version now in use) that is both less
expensive to build, easier to work on, and less sophisticated yet has
equal or more power AND probably gets better fuel economy at the same
time. I bet that had the engineers "over there" feeling a little
As for the cruise control and wiper control issue . . . Chrysler has had
buttons on the steering wheel for cruise control since the first LH
cars, which then spread to corporate-wide use. Not to forget the
additional "things" on the back of the 300M steering wheel which
controlled radio items!
In their "euro" oriented vehicles (i.e., some prior Oldsmobiles and
Pontiacs), GM had the added lever on the inside side of the steering
column. That might work for a vehicle driven by those used to such
controls on imports, but when an American car driver (especially an
elderly one), you'll see the windshield wipers go off as they desire to
drive off from a parked position.
Similarly, the cruise control item I referenced on the current LY cars
is awkard to use, even if you know what you're doing with it. Similar
with the "Toyota style" cruise control switches that GM used on the
2004+ Grand Prixs (key word, "used").
Doing these things might ease the transition of an import buyer (who is
used to those things) in to the American brand vehicle, but it takes
some getting used to for those not used. Plus, in the first year of LY
Chargers, the ONLY indicator light was a small LED on the stalk's handle
itself! NO indicator light on the instrument panel . . . until a year
or so later. AND you had to turn it on EACH time you started the car
and wanted to use it, whereas the ones on GM cars and prior Chryslers
were always ON unless you turned them off, when you started the vehicle.
We're talking "convenience" here, rather than where the controls might
be . . . in this case.
Where you might want your cruise control and wiper controls to be is you
business, but others might not share your orientations. I can deal with
steering wheel buttons for the cruise, as well as the controls on the
turn signal lever. To me, and probably others, the additional stalks
and such on the "import-oriented" vehicles is "foreign" (for want of a
better word), which can also be a generation thing in some respects.
In reality, the most forward gears a modern vehicle with a sizeable
powerplant would be 5, to me. Take a normal TorqueFlite gear spread,
add a low gear of about 3.0 to the bottom and then put a 5th gear (OD)
on the top of about .70. That'll get the job done nicely, with a
modulated torque converter and other sophisticated engine/powertrain
management controls. No real need for TWO 2nd gear ratios that are
really too close together to be significantly better, or two OD ratios
above "direct" either.
The most efficient transmission woudl be the CVT, but it appears that
few other than Nissan and Audi know how to make them work. They ALSO
take the customers knowing how to drive them, too! So, when you see
Lexus putting out an 8-speed automatic, it's about keeping the engine
within a very tight rpm range during cruising for fuel efficiency and
such. As was noted in HOT ROD magazine, in an article about the GM
Performance Parts 6-speed automatic, they noted that a torquey USA V-8
didn't need all of those extra gears, but smaller import engines did.
Be that as it may . . . In some cases, "more is not better".
The 300 DID win lots of awards that first year. Everybody should
remember that . . . and it still does. It's designer is now an upper
management Chrysler LLC employee overseeing vehicle designs. It became
an aspirational vehicle for many, just as the 300M was before that, and
the LHS was before that.
What I said in the prior post was that all of the vehicles, other than
the 300, which were birthed during the German influence have meet with
weak public response and road test reviews that look like some
benchmarks were missed (unlike in other times when Chrysler set the
benchmarks AND other makes adjusted their product lines to better
compete with Chrysler products . . . as in the areas of the LH cars, the
rounded RAM trucks, and the string of vehicles that followed in the
Read the blogs on the Chrysler LLC website and you'll see these
comments. Look at the Sebring convertible and it's obvious why the
resale value of the prior gen convertibles has probably been bolstered
somewhat. On paper, they appear to be competitive, until you drive them
and (as the road testers have done) been disappointed in how things
If you read Lutz's book, "GUTS", he talks about the meeting they had on
the chassis tuning on the Stratus/Cirrus "cloud" cars. The senior
engineer was doing his presentation and talking aobut how good the cars
rode and such. Lutz, standing at the front of the room noted a group of
"young guns" sitting in the back of the room as their boss glossed over
how well these cars rode and handled for their intended market. Lutz,
being in charge (and probalby getting a little bored) asked on of the
young guns what their take on this whole deal was. The reply was that
it could definitely be better in all respects, especially in comparison
to the competition. Lutz gave them a time frame to get a better
proposal together (in a vehicle as THEY wanted it to be) and they
accepted the challenge. And THAT was what got approved for production.
Now, it seems the "other" proposal (the one that was presented to Lutz
first), or one similar, is how the current Sebrings are setup.
As much as some might like to forget the K-cars, THEY had an important
mission in the life of Chrysler. Not only did they get the
Chrysler-buying public into smaller and nice Chrysler cars, but there
ARE still lots of those cars still around (at least in the DFW area).
They are giving lots of lower income families the luxury of a
leather-trimmed Chrysler at a price that they can afford. Many of these
owners are of an ethnicity where Chrysler is a major player in their own
country in the automotive industry . . . even rivalling GM's presence
there. Yep, they were some pretty decent vehicles, even today! AND
they, as many other "forgotten" Chrysler products, seem to have higher
degrees of longevity than similar Ford or GM products . . . which IS the
Chrysler Heritage . . . even in the "old days".
One time when Dodge Shadow convertibles were new, a Dodge dealer had a
showroom display of one that they carefully laid over on its side (after
the fluids were drained). I was surprised at what I saw!
Sure, it was front wheel drive, with a K-car heritage, but there, for
all to see, was a miniature version of the Chrysler k-frame architecture
front end! Just like you might have seen on a '68 Road Runner, just
It was a turbo 4 cylinder, but the lead pipe out of the turbo was about
2.5" in OD. PLENTY generous for good breathing! At each exhaust joint,
it got about 1/8" smaller in OD, until it was aobut 2" out the back.
All it needed was a better cat-back exhaust system to really cook!
Unlike Ford and GM, in those times the Chrysler performance heritage was
still alive and well. Ford and GM built small cars that were appliance
cars, with all due respect, but Chrysler still had performance
capabilitied DESIGNED IN, just like in the old days. That's one reason
the Omni GLHS was so easy to make happen! At a time when many were
bemoaning the death of performance, here came that spunky little
Chrysler Corp turbo car and said "Look at what I can do!"
And THAT's what I hope the Chrylser LLC can do. "Look at what I can
do", as Wolfgang and associates guide things along to some great
vehicles that will show Ford and GM how vehicles CAN be rather than how
they now are.
As for Wolfgang's "undoing" in the ME412, in the August 2007 issue of
the Walter P Chrysler Club News Magazine, there's a picture of a
motorcycle with a Plymouth flathead 6 cylinder engine for power. It has
four "skids" as outriggers to keep it upright. This was in about 1933!
I certainly hope "The BEST is yet to come for Chrysler as an American
corporation!" With all due respect.
Everybody have a great Labor Day Weekend!
Be SAFE and enjoy your Chrysler products, too!