I used to have a buddy in the drag-racing business who claimed that given enough horsepower, you could push a Peterbilt through the Mach in a quarter mile. That’s perhaps a little extreme, but there’s no question horsepower solves (and creates) a number of problems associated with motorcycles, cars, boats and airplanes. Back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, I watched Lyle Shelton build his surplus F8F Bearcat race plane Rare Bear in the hangar next to mine at Compton, Calif. There was no question that more power was high on the list of gotta-haves.
Lyle replaced the Bearcat’s P&W R-2800 engine with a huge Wright R-3350, and in combination with water injection, higher turbo boost and a number of other tricks, Lyle claimed the engine
was churning out well over 3,000 hp. I never found out if that was an actual dynamometer readout or just a dream, but he did have remarkable success with the airplane on the air-racing circuit—six national championships.