Forget politics and religion.

There are much more important things to get all riled up about. Things like your sister’s poor taste in cars. Or your son’s lack of wrenching skills. Or your dad’s refusal to work on anything fuel-injected.

There’s no better time to tackle these issues head-on than around the dinner table, right?

So pass the ham and blood pressure meds, then get the conversation going with these 12 automotive-related debates:

Chevy vs. Ford (& Mopar)

What do you call a Ford at the top of a hill? A miracle.

How do you approve the appearance of a Chevy? Park it between two Fords.

We’ve all seen and heard the insults hurled back and forth between automotive brand loyalists. The Chevy vs. Ford vs. Mopar feud goes back decades. The question is where does Uncle Eugene stand on the issue, and can you take him in a debate?

If you want to go next-level on things, turn it into a Mustang vs. Camaro argument or get your verbal jabs in on the F-150 vs. Silverado or Ram. Just please refrain from flinging mashed potatoes at one another.

custom shifter installed in a vintage muscle car
(Image/Christopher Campbell)

Manual vs. Automatic Transmission

Stick shifts are becoming more and more scarce, but some folks still insist that a real car comes with three pedals. Conventional wisdom says manual transmissions are fun, deliver better fuel economy, and offer more control of the car. Automatics are more convenient.

Are you in it for the fun or the convenience?

We know your answer.

close up of summit racing 750 cfm carburetor prior to installation on 355 small block chevy v8
(Image/Jeff Smith)

Carburetor vs. Fuel Injection

Fuel injection replaced the carburetor as the preferred air/fuel delivery method long ago.

Still, there’s a faction of hot rodders who are die-hard proponents of the carburetor. There’s just something about a carb (or two or three) sitting atop a classic V8 — especially with an open engine bay. And some guys still prefer to wrench and tune on a carburetor.

While fuel injection can offer the perfect combination of performance and fuel economy, you certainly don’t have to eat Werther’s Originals and drink Sanka to appreciate the old-school carburetor. The carburetor is still a viable (and sometimes preferred) air/fuel mixture even among a new generation of rodders.


Better NASCAR Driver—Gordon or Earnhardt?

Why Gordon and Earnhardt?

There have been plenty of NASCAR rivalries over the years, but this one had an added dimension. Dale Earnhardt, Sr. was sort of NASCAR establishment, while Jeff Gordon was an outsider to the sport. Earnhardt was perceived as being all about racing, while Gordon brought mainstream marketability to the sport. Plus, there was the question of who was the better driver at the height of the rivalry. And don’t get us started on who rocked the better mustache.

Chances are you were on one side of the rivalry or the other — but not in between.


1941 Chevy Pickup Rat Rod, Front

Rat Rods—Art or Junk?

Ugly. Rough. Unpolished.

Creative. Ingenious. Unique.

We could be referring to your little brother’s dinner date, but we’re actually talking rat rods here. These rusted, patina’d jalopies are the Donald Trump of the hot rod world. You either love them or hate them, but you just can’t take your eyes off them.

The question is, are they on your naughty or nice list?

Naturally Aspirated vs. Forced Induction

Are you “likes to fight” guy?

If so, this is the topic for you. For example, say your debate opponent agrees with you that naturally aspirated is better. You can then confront him on the merits of stock versus stroker. And if you both prefer forced induction, there’s the whole matter of supercharged vs. turbocharged.

Let’s face it — you came to dinner to eat mom’s chicken-noodle casserole and cause trouble. And they’re all out of chicken-noodle casserole.

Get to work.

426 Street Hemi engine in a 1966 Plymouth Satellite

V8 vs. the World

Still think the V8 is king?

We’re partial to them, but there’s a whole new world of smaller engines redefining the way we think about performance. Whether it’s the Ford 300 or Chrysler Slant Six of yesteryear, or today’s Ecoboost and turbodiesel V6 engines, smaller cubic-inch engines are now part of the conversation about top engines.

And then there’s BMW’s electric motor. It made Ward’s best engines of 2015 list, along with eight other non-V8s.

Is it a sign of the apocalypse or a sign of progress?

Make like you’re on Facebook and share your opinion loud and proud.

1987 ford mustang fox body coupe
How about the 1990s? (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Better Muscle Car Era—60s or Today?

The 1960s had more options from more manufacturers, including now-defunct companies like Plymouth, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac. The current, smaller crop of muscle cars offer factory performance you could only dream of in the 1960s.

Horsepower and fuel economy? 700 horsepower from the factory?

We live in great times for performance cars. But are they greater than the 1960s?

Ethanol—Good or Bad

Eating corn with dinner?

It’s the perfect time to remind everyone how bad (or good) ethanol is for your vehicle. We’ve talked about the pros and cons of corn-based ethanol blends here before. Educate yourself and get the conversation started.


302 ford bronco blueprint crate engine at 2022 SEMA show
(Image/Summit Racing)

Crate Engines vs. Build it Yourself

Dad always said, “Work smarter, not harder.”

So why do dad and some of this grizzled garage buddies look at you sideways when you talk about ordering a crate engine? Probably because some guys think installing a pre-assembled crate motor is against the gearhead code. A form of cheating. A shortcut to circumvent your lack of wrenching skills or dedication.

What say you?

1979 chevy camaro z28 white with ls engine swap

Restoration or Restomod?

What gets your attention more at a car show?

A) A rare, period-correct restoration, or

B) A classic car with a modern spin?

It’s like choosing between white or colored Christmas lights. You can like both, but you must have a preference.

To Warm Up or Not to Warm Up

When you go storming out of the house because of one of the debates above, will you stop to warm up your car? Doesn’t it take away from the dramatics of the whole situation if you sit in the driveway for 10 minutes while your engine runs?

Not really — especially if someone comes out and tells you you’re wasting your time. Then it’s on.

There’s a faction of folks that believes warming up your car is unnecessary with modern engines and new oil formulas. Others think you need to let the oil thin out and circulate.

Where do you stand?

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Author: David Fuller

David Fuller is OnAllCylinders' managing editor. During his 20-year career in the auto industry, he has covered a variety of races, shows, and industry events and has authored articles for multiple magazines. He has also partnered with mainstream and trade publications on a wide range of editorial projects. In 2012, he helped establish OnAllCylinders, where he enjoys covering all facets of hot rodding and racing.