Today is a day ending in “y,” which is as good a reason as any to compare the sound between two six-cylinder engines tuned within an inch of their life. The trick is the V6 is the old one and the straight-six is the new one.
I am not sure why YouTube’s algorithm decided to feed me these two videos on the same day, but here we are.
The first one that came across my feed is one of my favourite old race cars, the Ford Capri RS 2600. This is the car that did so well BMW poached the guy in charge of its racing program and gave birth to the M division. This car is the whole origin of BMW M! A Ford that was too good and it made everyone at BMW too jealous to stand it.
Under the hood is six large intake trumpets, attached to which are six cylinders splayed out 60 degrees apart. Over its competition career, it grew in size from 2.6 to 2.9 litres and made its way up to around 280 horsepower, as I noted in my last profile of the thing. It’s charming in that there’s a ton of intake noise with this old fuel injection setup, and this little Ford sounds a lot like half of an old F1 car leaving pit lane.
On the other end of the spectrum is one of my favourite engines alone, and that’s the RB straight-six from Nissan. It’s one of their Bubble Era projects, overbuilt to the point that while pain-jane family sedans with RB20s were puttering around with maybe 100-odd horsepower, tuners were cracking 1,000 on RB26s.
My favourite RB has to be the RB30, a large-displacement version exclusively built for export to the Australian market. Despite the bigger size, the engine never got the development as the twin-turbo RB26 sold in the Skyline GT-R in Japan. Only aftermarket tuners took the bigger, more agricultural block and built them up for big power. I started following the Kiwi drifter ZPDrift just to listen to a super high-strung RB30 in action, and have enjoyed watching him switch chassis and engines over the years. He has a billet block RB28 at the moment, and it screams up to 9,300 RPM in its most recent dyno test:
ZPDrift is claiming 640 kW at the rear wheels, which is about 860 horsepower. The sound is raspy, amplified. It sounds like raw power.
I’m not sure which I prefer!