Between my wonderful wife’s 2015 Corvette and my 2016 Z06 Corvette the combined HP in the garage is a tad over 1,100. The first Corvette, the 1953 model, had an engine rated at 150 HP (and 223 LB-FT of torque, our two cars have a combined torque rating of over 1,100 LB-FT). The year the Corvette was introduced the highest HP engine from an American automaker was 210 from Cadillac. Lincoln was the only other make that offered 200 HP (205). Of course, Cadillac and Lincoln were/are luxury makes and their cars from the early 1950s needed HP and torque so they could move at all.
Much to my disappointment I have been unable to unearth a timeline, or evolution, of HP in American cars, granting that my search was limited to 10-ish minutes on the Internet. One of my go-to books, Encyclopedia of American Cars by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide®, only has detailed information since 1930.
The very rare, just 13 made, Duesenberg Model X may have been the first American car to offer 100 HP. The Model X was built in 1926-27. If anyone has any solid information on this topic I would very much appreciate your sharing that with us.
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