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      The trunk is very small, and we found water trapped in it after rain. Like other Pontiac engines, the Formula 400 carries its coil and distributor behind the carburetor. You reach the oil filter from below. All plugs are accessible; but the rear plug on the left bank, partly blocked by the brake booster, takes some patience to change.
      And noise? At highway speeds, the Challenger proved much noisier than the Ford and GM cars. A difference, respectively, of five and six decibels, is a tremendous margin. The Dodge's problem was mostly engine noise, mingled with some road noise. At low speeds, the Dodge is more evenly matched, but has more chassis and body noise than its rivals. On rough roads, all were similar.
      Norbye: The Firebird is my kind of supercar. It gets me quickly from A to B without tiring me at all, and it sure gets attention.
      Dunne: I'll go with the Cougar. It has the best brakes, the best ride, excellent power, and is a first-class turnpike cruiser.
How PS tests cars—and what the tests show
Brake test shows a car's ability to stop on a straight line from 60 mph, without locking any wheels, after 10 stops from 60 at one-minute intervals with 1/2g deceleration (normal quick stop). Final stop is made in a 12-foot-wide lane and stopping distance is measured. Excessive pedal pressure indicates fading brakes. Excessive distance indicates fade, locking, or both.
Acceleration test at 0-60 mph shows a car's ability to reach cruising speed from standstill. The 0-80 mph test shows its high-speed power reserve; 25-70 mph test simulates a highway merging situation. Cars with automatic transmission are tested in DRIVE.
   Two lane changes in quick succession show a car's ability to make an emergency maneuver at speed. Lanes are blocked 120 feet apart, and lane-change gaps are 60 feet long. Each car is put through test at increasing speed until its maximum is established.
   Low-speed emergency maneuver test means snaking a car as fast as possible through pylons 48 feet apart. In both handling tests, times clocked by two stopwatches are converted to mph.
Table of test results (key to dimensions, 22KB)
Table of test results (row headings, 24KB)) Table of test results (Challenger data, 12KB) Table of test results (Cougar data, 15KB) Table of test results (Firebird data, 14KB)
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