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Minimum speed and power required for a daily driver in 2024


warren t claim

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As it says on the tin.

I'm thinking that back in the 70s if you took a reps job at Grandad_Claim's company you were given a Mk3/4 2 door Cortina 1300 base (no, my family didn't own Thorn as featured in the Arena Cortina tv programme) and you'd be expected to keep it for three years and by then it'd clocked up between 60 and 75k. These pushrod powered four coggers never gave any mechanical trouble and were doubtlessly driven at 70 mph+ on motorways for many hours a week, or even day. I do understand that the UK has a lot more miles of motorway today compared to back then but in 2024 we have average speed cameras and plenty of stretches with limits as low as 50 mph.

I suppose all cars made since 1960 have been expected to drive on motorways, but where would you draw the line as a daily driver? Lets assume that you will be driving 12000 miles pa and 2000 of those miles will be on a motorway.

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I'd say the 1.9SDI in the Caddy I had (so 64bhp) was probably towards the minimum you'd really want to live with today.  It was absolutely fine on motorways and would happily maintain the legal limit without struggle even when laden while still knocking on the door of 50mpg, but it definitely wasn't the quickest thing off the mark.  Far from "dangerously slow" as I recall someone calling them sometimes in the past though.  It wasn't fast...but you know what?  It was never designed to be.  It was a workhorse and did it's job bloody well.

I did around the figures you mentioned there, and that included two trips to Aberdeenshire and Glasgow from Milton Keynes for long distance motorway work.  It wasn't the lack of power which saw me move it on either, rather the requirement for more flexible seating!  

I'd say that any "normal" sized car with 80bhp or more would be absolutely fine as a daily driver.  Not maybe the most exciting thing ever but absolutely fine.  Once you get this side of 2010 you'd maybe be wanting to look nearer to 100bhp just because cars got so much bulkier and heavier due to the ever increasing amount of "stuff" onboard.

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1 minute ago, warren t claim said:

Is there any modern car that's not up to a fast 200 mile motorway sprint? Back in 2007 I did Merseyside to Devon and back in a day driving a Chevy Matiz Enterprise rental car. I happily coped with being thrashed both ways.

This is pretty true I think.  I did Aberdeen to MK and back several times in my 2009 Pug 107, which is about as basic as "an car" got at the time, and it was a hell of a different story to doing the same in a 998cc Metro which would have been the equivalent 20 years or so earlier.

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My old Mercedes has 39.2 horsepower per tonn which is often too little and my modern has 72.6 horsepower per tonn which is sufficient.

So about 60 to 70 horsepower per tonn for me. And a minimum of 100 kmh but is rarely on  motorways so could live with 80 kmh, which is about the maximum for the Merc.

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2 minutes ago, Zelandeth said:

This is pretty true I think.  I did Aberdeen to MK and back several times in my 2009 Pug 107, which is about as basic as "an car" got at the time, and it was a hell of a different story to doing the same in a 998cc Metro which would have been the equivalent 20 years or so earlier.

Back in 2012 five of us were tasked to drive a quintet of Mercedes Econic bin wagons from Warrington to the OLympic village in London. The firm provided a Chevy Spark rental car to carry four hefty blokes (and one more hefty woman driver) back to Warrington. It was a really tight squeeze but both us and the car made it back.

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My Old Ford Ka had 59BHP.  I was a lot slimmer then but I distinctly remember going over the Pennines in it with a car full of stuff from Mini and ending up in first.

My current car has more than double that and the other one is 110BHP and reasonably light and I’d consider them both ‘more than adequate’ with stated 0-60s of around 10 seconds.

What really matters for me is getting up to speed on the motorway from (say) 40 so in-gear acceleration and therefore torque is far more important to me.

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4 minutes ago, GrumpiusMaximus said:

 

What really matters for me is getting up to speed on the motorway from (say) 40 so in-gear acceleration and therefore torque is far more important to me.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and beg to differ. Back in the 70s HGVs weren't speed limited or fitted with tachographs meaning that a driver could be joining a motorway with trucks travelling in lane 1 at maybe 65 mph.

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I guess any modern car fits the bill. in 2002 i did 12000 miles in a year in a 1966 morris minor. A fair proportion were motorway miles, where i sat at about 65 mph, not bothering HGVS and not bothering cars. I kept left very carefully at all times mind, and was also suprised  just how many moderns i overtook. 

I would expect the seating, the noise, and the marginal brakes would put most people off but i was loving it. But i was 23 and i think 48bhp whilst enough then, as a ln overall package would put most comers off now.

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1 minute ago, HMC said:

I guess any modern car fits the bill. in 2002 i did 12000 miles in a year in a 1966 morris minor. A fair proportion were motorway miles, where i sat at about 65 mph, not bothering HGVS and not bothering cars. I kept left very carefully at all times mind, and was also suprised  just how many moderns i overtook. 

I would expect the seating, the noise, and the marginal brakes would put most people off but i was loving it. But i was 23 and i think 48bhp whilst enough then, as a ln overall package would put most comers off now.

Plenty of Berlingo type vans are restricted to 52/56 mph.

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10 minutes ago, warren t claim said:

I'm going to go out on a limb here and beg to differ. Back in the 70s HGVs weren't speed limited or fitted with tachographs meaning that a driver could be joining a motorway with trucks travelling in lane 1 at maybe 65 mph.

I'm sure you do a lot more driving than I do and have a more valid opinion.  I'm thinking specifically of a couple of slip road with limited visibility from both the carriageway and the slip road.  The one closest to me is heavily used by lorries (near Dover) and is more-or-less blind until the last moment so in my experience, being able to get from 40-60 is more valuable.  On a properly-designed road with decent visibility?  Probably not.

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9 minutes ago, HMC said:

in 2002 i did 12000 miles in a year in a 1966 morris minor. A fair proportion were motorway miles, where i sat at about 65 mph, not bothering HGVS and not bothering cars. I kept left very carefully at all times mind, and was also suprised  just how many moderns i overtook. 

I would expect the seating, the noise, and the marginal brakes would put most people off but i was loving it. But i was 23 and i think 48bhp whilst enough then, as a ln overall package would put most comers off now.

Mechanical sympathy would prevent me from doing that now.  A 1098cc Minor sounds like it's going to put a rod through the block at anything above 60.

47 minutes ago, loserone said:

45bhp/ton

That's probably not far out actually - I dailied the Innocenti for 18 months back when I first bought it, and that is 30bhp and weighs just under 700kg.  Overtaking slower traffic took some planning but other than that it was fine.

Mind you the Visa has similar power to weight (34bhp for 750kg) and I'd find that very tiring to use daily - probably because of the relative lack of torque compared to the Innocenti.

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33 minutes ago, warren t claim said:

Back in 2012 five of us were tasked to drive a quintet of Mercedes Econic bin wagons from Warrington to the OLympic village in London. The firm provided a Chevy Spark rental car to carry four hefty blokes (and one more hefty woman driver) back to Warrington. It was a really tight squeeze but both us and the car made it back.

I hope it was a 1.2?  My Spark is a 1-litre and I don't even want to imagine driving that 5-up on the motorway...

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45 minutes ago, warren t claim said:

Is there any modern car that's not up to a fast 200 mile motorway sprint? Back in 2007 I did Merseyside to Devon and back in a day driving a Chevy Matiz Enterprise rental car. I happily coped with being thrashed both ways.

A few years ago after Mrs Imp had crashed her car, she got a  Yaris as a courtesy car. 

I had to drive her to Liverpool as she was going abroad for a week and we took the Yaris down the M62 and it was absolutely bob on. Kept up with traffic, nice to drive, good on fuel, couldn't fault it. 

Doing the same journey in the Visa would've been a fucking rattly, dangerous, full rev, tinnitus enducing nightmare.

Still, I felt like a right fucking tool driving the Yaris, like people are looking at me thinking 'look at that cunt, he's gone and spent £15k on a fucking Yaris, the loser' so drove the Jag to pick her up when she came back. 

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3 minutes ago, SiC said:

Imo...

100bhp/tonne is minimum for safe overtakes on a-roads

150bhp/tonne is enough for road use without being excessive. 

I overtook a couple of cars on the a614 today in the Volvo. 

2 minutes ago, loserone said:

I can definitely overtake safely in the express, it just requires planning.

Yeah, it took a bit of a run up. 😂 

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I can definitely overtake safely in the express, it just requires planning.
I've over taken 4 cars following a tractor in my MG BGT. Like you said just needs a run up to use all the power and momentum.

However the above allows a quick boot to the floor after going around a corner and seeing a sudden clear straight before the next corner.
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3 minutes ago, loserone said:

I can definitely overtake safely in the express, it just requires planning.

I spent most of my time driving a 59bhp 205 diesel on the wrong side of the road just trying to get past arseholes. No need for anything more powerful as most people drive everywhere at 40 anyway.

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More than just a bhp figure, I think it's about the gearing, and having enough torque to keep in that top gear.

My modern V70 diesel manual is doing about 1500rpm at 70, my 1964 Austin 1100 was with the original diff doing 4700rpm at the same speed. The Volvo is about 100bhp/tonne and the Austin probably 50bhp/tonne, but the Volvo could manage with quite a lot less for cruising.

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7 minutes ago, wuvvum said:

Torque is more of a factor though with something like the Sprinter.  Torque to weight on a fully laden 311CDi is probably higher than on my 750kg 34bhp Citroën.

Very true, 270nm (iirc) of torque on a mid 00's Sprinter. Sounds better just saying 31.5bhp per tonne though 😁.

My old 308D Sprinter only had 80bhp and around 150nm of torque, so thats only 23.5bhp/43nm per tonne.

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19 minutes ago, warninglight said:

The Volvo is about 100bhp/tonne and the Austin probably 50bhp/tonne, but the Volvo could manage with quite a lot less for cruising.

Back in the mid '90s I was on a trip to Italy and bought a car magazine.  On the back page was an advert for the Porsche 911 (993), which mentioned that when cruising at the 130km/h Autostrada speed limit in 6th gear, the engine was making exactly 37bhp.

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51 minutes ago, loserone said:

I can definitely overtake safely in the express, it just requires planning.

I hope that you look in the mirror first, make sure the sun isn't in your eyes, take account of acceleration times and make sure to telegraph your intentions to other drivers by signalling clearly!  

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Probably 65hp in something small and light, I had a 75hp Fiesta 1.25 and did 45,000 miles in it in three years. It does help how willing something is, those Sigma engines will do all of the revs all day long.

 

The issue is how powerful other traffic is too, in 1985 100hp was good going, but now with modern turbo diesel automatics and EVs, gaps become a lot smaller and more planning is required for overtakes.

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