Classic musclecars deliver a driving experience like nothing else on the road, but fuel sippers they are not. Single-digit MPG ratings are nothing new for the musclecar crowd, but does it have to be this way?
In short, no. Chances are you can find a few places to steal back a few stray MPGs, and they do add up.
Power and Efficiency Are the Same Thing
Fuel economy means getting the most energy out of each drop of fuel, that means an efficient engine running at wide-open throttle delivers more power than an inefficient one. It’s just the state of tune and your left-foot application that determine how quickly you burn fuel.
And therein lies the secret to great fuel economy: your driving style. Be dainty enough with the gas, and you can get from A to B on fumes, even if you’re driving a Jenson Interceptor.
Tuning for Increased MPGs
There’s nothing wrong with installing some parts that make it easier to drive less aggressively. Many classic cars are geared very closely. If you’re willing to spend the shillings, install a wide-ratio transmission and you’ll give your car longer legs on the highway and better fuel economy in the process. You will, however, sacrifice a little acceleration.
Another mod that requires some expenditure but has multiple benefits is making the switch to fuel injection if your car is carbureted. It’s likely you’ll unlock some hidden horsepower in the process through better tuning, as well as a smoother idle.
Cheap, but Still Good
Not everyone can afford to equip their classic with expensive new parts. There are still several cost-effective tweaks you can make to maximize your fuel efficiency. Many of these are just common-sense maintenance items.
Make sure your tires are inflated to the proper pressure, and check them regularly. Make sure your engine is well maintained, that you’re changing oil and fuel filters on the recommended intervals and running clean oil. If your spark plugs have been on duty for quite some time, replace them with fresh ones to get back some power and help fuel burn cleaner.
Check the condition of your air filter, and if you can get away with it, running narrower tires will reduce rolling resistance, which will translate to better fuel economy.
The Bottom Line
The last word in MPG is load on your engine, so any time you can, reduce the weight of your ride. That combined with the tips we’ve pointed out here should net you some extra power and MPG.