Malaise? What Malaise? Popular Mechanics Does Supercars, 1981 Style!

Illustration for article titled Malaise? What Malaise? emPopular Mechanics/em Does Supercars, 1981 Style!

You know you're in the Malaise Era when the best quarter-mile times for the wildest street cars money can buy are barely into the 14s. But still, who doesn't want an '81 Aston Martin Volante or BMW M1?


Our friend Marc found the March 1981 issue of Popular Mechanics on Google Books, and— if you'll but jump to page 112— you'll find sixteen Malaise Monsters going head-to-head on the dragstrip, skidpad, and the road course at Ontario Motor Speedway. Who was driving? Oh, just Phil Hill and Stirling Moss. The Pantera, the 928, the Esprit, the 633CSi… the list goes on and on. Murilee says check it out!
[Google Books, jump to page 112; Popular Mechanics]

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Wow, those are some seriously malazy 1/4 mile times! Did 1320 feet used to be longer than it is now? Tires that bad? Were net horsepower ratings grossly overrated in 1981? Was there a really strong headwind that day?

Some of those cars are claiming 330HP or more but the trap speeds sure don't suggest it, even if the tires did suck and the gear ratios were set up for Autobahn cruising.

Does anyone have the formula handy for converting those skidpad times into into Gs?