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Re: Speed limit in early '50s

To:, "List (british-cars)" <>
Subject: Re: Speed limit in early '50s
From: Chip Old <>
Date: Sun, 7 Apr 1996 16:59:55 -0400 (EDT)
On Sun, 7 Apr 1996, Robert J. Donahue wrote:

> In an earlier discussion, about the MG-TD's high (5.125) gear ratio, the
> consensus was that the top cruising speed is around 60 mph. Wasn't this a bit
> low even for the early 50s? Does anybody remember what the highway speed
> limit was back then? How did this compare to other cars of the period?

When the TD was new the Interstate highway system didn't exist, and
four-lane highways were few and far between.  U.S. Route 40 (the major
East-West highway of the time) and U.S. Route 1 (the major North-South
highway here in the East) were two lanes, twisty, and went through every
town and village along the way.  Speed limits varied from state to state,
but here in the East 50 MPH was the norm on the major U.S. and state

Depending on tire size, a TD with the standard 5.125:1 diff will turn
about 4000 RPM at 60 MPH.  In terms of power, the XPAG is happiest at that
speed.  In terms of longevity it's a different story...

If by "How did this compare to other cars of the period?" you mean
American cars, then it's an apples to oranges comparison.  The average
American engine of the period was MUCH larger than the 1.25 litre XPAG,
and developed more power and torque at much lower RPMs. Consequently
American cars were geared such that they were turning much lower revs at
highway speeds.

But who in their right mind would trade the song of an XPAG at 4000 RPM
for the boredom of a Chevy 216 ci six?

Chip Old                      1948 M.G. TC  TC6710  NEMGTR #2271
Cub Hill, Maryland            1962 Triumph TR4  CT3154LO (daily driver)

If cars had evolved as fast as computers have, by now they'd cost a
quarter, run for a year on a half-gallon of gas, and explode once a day.

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