I like Jeremy Clarkson; he is brash, cunning, a wonderful chap. I like him, except for the times I don't.
Jeremy Clarkson has hounded American cars for, well, forever. I have, too. I mean, they practically pieced together older Camaros with wood glue and carpentry screws. And though Mr. Clarkson and I see eye-to-eye on many things, there is one thing we don't: the glitz of shiny, complex technology compared to good ol' simple engineering. You know the stuff; things like wood ovens, straight razors, and the LS1.
This all came up after reading Clarkson's recent review of the C7 Corvette, which he liked, actually. And though he liked the new one, he had harsh words for the C6, and that just rubbed me the wrong way; and I don't like to be rubbed the wrong way, it irritates my skin, and causes chaffing.
To Clarkson's credit, I've never driven a Ferrari, or a Lamborghini, or... I haven't driven a lot of cars. So, I've no founded opinion on exotics (I have many unfounded opinions that I will gladly tell you, with little to no solicitation). What I do know are German cars. I have owned several German cars over the years, and save for my 1997 Jetta VR6, the rest have been a ramshackle of either sheer ignorance or simple indifference to the fact they engineered some things completely mindlessly. This dawned on me after buying into the misguided belief, for years, that German engineering is synonymous with quality and reliability.
This is not the case.
My Audi's 4.2 V8 has its timing components and accessories in the rear of the motor, and both BMW's I have owned have later revealed some sort of structural issue, as well as several issues with valve timing, harmonic balance, oil starvation, all the way down to a leaking rear wiper due to a low-pressure area in the line. F**k me, right?
Above are the timing components on the Audi 4.2 V8 (B6 S4 era). You see all those tiny, neat plastic bits? They all break; but there's a silver lining, friend! The cost of those parts will never come anywhere near what it will cost for the removal of that engine and its ensuing repair!
Wait, no, there is no silver lining, you're out $6,000 now. As Paulie would say, "F**k you, pay me."
On to the pushrods
"Pushrods, you say?"
"Indeed, sir, pushrods."
Stop laughing. Yes, the LS1 is archaic. Yes, farmers probably use them to till soil, and yes, you'll probably find the remnants of these engine blocks in the yards of yokels, but there is one saving grace that I am particularly fond of: it is beautifully simple. You can mend it in Clarksonian fashion using a hammer and wall putty. It's also typically much cheaper than any motor that has powered any of my German vehicles, and though there is no silver lining with the heinous abomination that is my Audi's motor, there are many with the LS1.
I've had many friends (handfuls, I say) from over the years who have had experience modifying and racing LS motors. The general consensus is that the LS1 peaks in power later in their life, around 75,000 to 80,000 miles. Yes, this means that the LS1 (supposedly) gets stronger as it ages. I don't understand it, but it's just like the gypsy woman said, and you never cross words with a gypsy woman.
In addition to the simplicity, the obvious power advantage and the relatively cheap running costs, the added reliability of LS motors is yet another kicker.
Compare this photo of LS1 timing components below to the Audi motor above, and you, my child, will see the light. But don't go into that light, that's what the gypsy woman said.
[Photo credit: http://s2.photobucket.com/user/PerthPurp...]
After the headaches, the hours hunched over my engine bay screaming relentlessly at the gods, enduring needlessly complicated systems that inevitably fail, and the repair costs, oh sweet jesus, the repair costs, I, too, am now, finally, seeing the light.