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Feel that maybe I'm missing the point with the 'performance enhancement' thing. Consequently, would be grateful to hear from anyone who could enlighten me.

Remember the edition of Top Gear, where the trio took a stock car to a race circuit. Stig set a lap time. They then decided to improve the cars brakes. The resulting lap time was slower. Maybe the brakes were heavier.

The performance enhancement Market equates to big business. But, what are the benefits for a road car? Component manufacturers often provide their own dyno graphs. In the real world how do they alter the perceived driving experience?

Say we take a car with a 0-60mph time of 7 seconds. Are human senses capable of detecting a 0.5 second reduction in this time? If not, why make the modification on a road car.

In my professional life decisions where often based on cost/benefit analysis. Reading the performance claims of some components I frequently conclude that their cost outweighs their benefit.

This post seeks no more than to improve my personal knowledge by questioning the principal that claimed performance enhancement is both viable and desirable. It is not intended to offend anyone. All comments would be gratefully received.
 

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Feel that maybe I'm missing the point with the 'performance enhancement' thing. Consequently, would be grateful to hear from anyone who could enlighten me.

Remember the edition of Top Gear, where the trio took a stock car to a race circuit. Stig set a lap time. They then decided to improve the cars brakes. The resulting lap time was slower. Maybe the brakes were heavier.

The performance enhancement Market equates to big business. But, what are the benefits for a road car? Component manufacturers often provide their own dyno graphs. In the real world how do they alter the perceived driving experience?

Say we take a car with a 0-60mph time of 7 seconds. Are human senses capable of detecting a 0.5 second reduction in this time? If not, why make the modification on a road car.

In my professional life decisions where often based on cost/benefit analysis. Reading the performance claims of some components I frequently conclude that their cost outweighs their benefit.

This post seeks no more than to improve my personal knowledge by questioning the principal that claimed performance enhancement is both viable and desirable. It is not intended to offend anyone. All comments would be gratefully received.
I grew up working on engines: lawn mowers, minibikes, motorcycles and cars. I learned to repair and improve them. I raced go carts and did some gymkhanas. Even after I had settled down and raised kids, I tinkered with cars, trying to improve everything I purchased. With most of them, I got my money back when I sold them, but didn't get much for my labor. It's in my blood. You may never understand. :crying:
 
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I'm with you M7ART. To an extent. And I've always thought 0-60 times were an irrelevant wank, they are a poor measure of performance because of the sheer number of variables involved, and they are car abuse anyway. I'm really not a slave to numbers at all. Cars, to me, are about how they make me feel and how much fun they are to drive. I never modify cars to specifically make them faster (easier to buy a faster car). But I will (and have) to make them more fun.
 

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The stock Euro 124 does approx 7.5 and the Abarth 6.8. That's with a 30 HP difference. You would certainly notice a significant difference driving both cars. I went from 135 HP to 165 in my Abarth 500 and the difference was very noticeable but probably only made somewhere between 0.5 and .8 seconds difference. It probably varies by model, certainly when my Panda TwinAair went from 85 to 95 HP and the difference was night and day (the torque hike is much higher).

However, once you're used to it, whether it makes any difference to your level of satisfaction is debatable, and that's the key point. Cost/benefit analysis is very difficult to do when the benefit is so subjective.
 

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Feel that maybe I'm missing the point with the 'performance enhancement' thing. Consequently, would be grateful to hear from anyone who could enlighten me.
A lot of people are interested in performance and have been for a long time. I'm pretty sure that when cars first appeared in public one of the most common questions was "how fast will it go?" People started racing cars almost as soon as they were invented and by 1910 we had purpose built race tracks, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Of course not everyone is interested in performance, but many owners of the 124 are. There is not much practical reason to buy a 124 over a 500 other than performance. You can get a 500 cabrio and enjoy the sunshine and still have a back seat and a decent cargo area and great fuel economy.

Remember the edition of Top Gear, where the trio took a stock car to a race circuit. Stig set a lap time. They then decided to improve the cars brakes. The resulting lap time was slower. Maybe the brakes were heavier.
I do remember that episode. Putting on bigger brakes won't lower lap times if the brakes were not overheating in the first place. That doesn't mean that bigger brakes are pointless, it just shows that you have to understand and have goals for a specific mod. In the case of lap times, especially for a single lap on a short track, most cars would benefit the most from suspension mods first.

The performance enhancement Market equates to big business.
That's precisely because people want more performance, it's not the market driving the people, it's the other way around.

But, what are the benefits for a road car? Component manufacturers often provide their own dyno graphs. In the real world how do they alter the perceived driving experience?
What are the benefits of an Abarth over a standard Fiat? What's the point of the BMW "M" cars, or the entire lineup at Porsche or Ferrari?

How do mods alter the driving experience? That's sort of the whole point, you can choose the mods to alter the experience in the way you choose. If you want better handling mod the suspension, if you want a softer ride, then don't.

Say we take a car with a 0-60mph time of 7 seconds. Are human senses capable of detecting a 0.5 second reduction in this time? If not, why make the modification on a road car.
I can sense that, but even if I couldn't I can see the car next to me in the stop light grand prix, or when accelerating down the straights at the racetrack. Even a little bit of acceleration and a small improvement in cornering adds up a lot when going lap after lap at the track. Of course if that heats up the brakes, then mods there help a lot too.

In my professional life decisions where often based on cost/benefit analysis. Reading the performance claims of some components I frequently conclude that their cost outweighs their benefit.

This post seeks no more than to improve my personal knowledge by questioning the principal that claimed performance enhancement is both viable and desirable. It is not intended to offend anyone. All comments would be gratefully received.
There is no question that mods are not for everyone, the majority of new car buyers don't mod their cars. For that matter, the majority of new car buyers don't even buy a performance model when offered a choice. Out of those buyers who do buy a performance model, a much higher percentage of people do mod them. For example, vendors will sell many more performance parts for a Chevrolet Corvette than they will for a Chevrolet Equinox.

I think the fact that Chevy sells the Corvette at all shows that some buyers want performance, there really isn't any other reason to buy a Corvette, and the fact that people mod them shows that some people want even more performance.

In the case of the 124, the car is intended to be fun, and the performance is a part of the fun. For some people it's a big part, for others it isn't. I am sure that for some drivers the fun is just cruising with the top down on a nice day and thus the performance is not really a big factor. For that type of owner the cost:benefit ratio of most performance mods just wouldn't be there. For me, knocking a second off of the 0-60 time makes the car a lot more fun, so for me the ratio is there.

Greg
 

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You all know me and I enjoy the extra performance...can I tell I have improved the performance of the car from acceleration to handling to braking...yup sure can...it's a real hoot...however there are a lot of different opinions on this subject....many that have been discussed in quite a few threads...there is one predominant factor... none of the opinions are wrong...I believe we each need to enjoy our car however and whatever it takes to maximize our fun...if that's leaving it stock and driving it as an everyday driver that's ok...if that's modifying it to the max and driving it like you stole it...fine...and all the places between these two are great also...you paid for it...get out there and enjoy your ride:D
 

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Modding cars is an illness, ask me how I know :laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:
 

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Modding cars is an illness, ask me how I know :laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:
Totally agree. The door from my house to the garage carries a sign..."Beyond this door is a disease that no doctor can cure"!!!....It's in the blood....way back when it was cams, headers, bigger carbs, milled heads for higher compression....now it's all about computers and software....loving it....go with the flow and let the good times roll....enjoy your ride however you configure it....If it makes you happy, you've done the right thing....
 

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I loved my Lusso suspension just as it came from the dealer, and the power was pretty good, good enough for me to make the purchase. However, when I found that I could add a big chunk of horsepower and torque for not much money, and not much chance of voiding the warranty, I went for it. While I have looked at all the spring & shock options, and chassis stiffeners, they don't interest me very much because I like the gentler ride.

I have traveled from Albuquerque to San Antonio several times since August, and I would not want a stiffer ride on those trips.

Some owners have changed out wheels and tires and suspension and left the engine alone. It is a matter of preference. One size does not fit all, unless you lived in the Soviet Union.
 

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Great statement Hefbadr! Where can I get a copy of that sign for my garage!
 

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Depends on the usage of the car.

I've been at this a long time. One consistent thing that I've seen is that people throw money at cars regardless of whether they have the experience to take advantage of the stock performance of the car or not.

This is why sometimes when you go to an autocross there is some "newbie" that shows with some form of factory supercar or with some garage built mess of parts and chassis that on paper should rule the roost. Then he gets his ass handed to him by some kid with three years under his belt driving a bone stock 1990 Miata.

Then there is the cosmetic "look at me stuff" like wings and splitters and stuff... basically cash-flow devices - but they do look cool.

Anyway, nothing wrong with jazzing up a car and customizing it. Expectation levels need to be set though. If you aren't competing then the mods are mostly just for look. Straight line performance can be fun on the street, especially in a small, light car that's not very fast to begin with.

Most people focus on the straight line stuff because it's easy, it's what the magazines and web sites "sell" as the performance of the car, and it doesn't take any skill to take advantage of. It leaves so much on the table when you don't think about the rest of the performance envelope like handling and braking.

Also, selection of aftermarket parts can be hard... a lot of aftermarket stuff can be junk and reduce reliability. Very little aftermarket stuff is built to factory quality and reliability standards.

Anyway, some observations, maybe half a rant in there. :)

Want to spend some money on your car making it fast? Spend some money on the nut behind the wheel. Take a driving course and getting seat time at autocross or other entry level competitive events.

 

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This may be a situation of:

"If you have to ask the question you wouldn't understand."

(Typically used when people ask why anyone would buy a Harley).
 

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Feel that maybe I'm missing the point with the 'performance enhancement' thing. Consequently, would be grateful to hear from anyone who could enlighten me.

Remember the edition of Top Gear, where the trio took a stock car to a race circuit. Stig set a lap time. They then decided to improve the cars brakes. The resulting lap time was slower. Maybe the brakes were heavier.

The performance enhancement Market equates to big business. But, what are the benefits for a road car? Component manufacturers often provide their own dyno graphs. In the real world how do they alter the perceived driving experience?

Say we take a car with a 0-60mph time of 7 seconds. Are human senses capable of detecting a 0.5 second reduction in this time? If not, why make the modification on a road car.

In my professional life decisions where often based on cost/benefit analysis. Reading the performance claims of some components I frequently conclude that their cost outweighs their benefit.

This post seeks no more than to improve my personal knowledge by questioning the principal that claimed performance enhancement is both viable and desirable. It is not intended to offend anyone. All comments would be gratefully received.
Just a thought: If one is not interested in higher performance, why would one by a 124 Spider? Isn't trading in whatever you were driving for a Spider just one form of purchasing upgraded performance. My wife's Outback has the 6 cylinder engine, instead of the standard, perfectly adequate 4. She paid $3000 for that performance upgrade. I paid less than $1000 for mine. (I got a lot more for my money with an aftermarket upgrade than she did with her factory option.):D
 
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Discussion Starter #16
Hi JFernald,

Responding to your question I could say:

"If you have to ask the question you wouldn't understand". But in my opinion such a statement is only used by those uncertain their view point not worthy of close scrutiny. It's a cop out.

I bought the spider because it's in keeping with a range of sports cars I've owned over the last 40 years. A Austin Healey, MG Midget, MGB, Triumph TR7, Porsche 924 and 944, more recently the first three generations of Mazda MX 5. None of these vehicles are performance vehicles. Many family saloons would out perform most of the sports cars named above. In the early years I bought sportscars because I thought they attracted girls. I quickly learned they were fun to drive. I particularly enjoy the cornering achieved through a comparatively wide wheel base and low centre of gravity.

Personally, performance cars are outside my financial range. Though I do enjoy the performance achieved with either my Yamaha R1 or Honda Fireblade.

Thank you to everyone who responded to my thread starter. I enjoyed following the discussion. I've learned that people enjoy tinkering with vehicles. I remain sceptical of the "performance enhancement" industry.

Best wishes for happy motoring to all,
Martin
 

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Modding cars is much more of an American car culture thing. Not saying that people don't mod cars in other countries...they do, but I'm certain that the "all cars can and should be improved" is much more of an American thing.

I typically make minor improvements...that usually don't put me close to having to ever argue over warranty issues. My BRZ (just traded) was pretty loaded but with dealer fitted factory aftermarket stuff. My newly acquired MX5 RF had a replacement muffler and Eibach springs added at the dealer before delivery because I wanted a better sound and I thought the stock RF rolled too much. But I doubt I'll do anymore to it. My Abarth 124 will probably remain stock. It ain't broke. If it had been important to me to go faster, I'd have bought faster cars.
 

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for some people it is all about the passion of the car and logic has no sway there, it doesn't have to result in the car being faster but only that we like the mod.
 
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My sickness continues, EC V4 intake on order!
 
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You can mod for fun, style, speed, handling, and on and on.

The suggestion by anyone that mods cannot make it faster is only by those who do not race. We race, already took the Fiat 124 from middle of the pack finish to TOP TIME OF DAY at last BMW CLUB event of the 2016 season. It did not have a chance against M2, 400+ hp M3, and Corvettes and GT3 Cup Car until it was properly modded with suspension, wheels, exhaust for more torque, etc. Pictures below from that event in December.




Most folks do not race, but many want a little more fun in their daily ride, or a little more style in their ride, they want to personalize it, make it look better, make it handle the morning freeway onramp to work flatter, etc. It's not an American thing, it's a global thing, we have dealers from Australia to Europe. Go anywhere in the world and you will find folks mod their rides.

If nothing else....I do it for the laughs, not many cars can make me laugh out loud.
 
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