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Classic Musclecars

mznmzn Posts: 727
What's a musclecar? And which of them are
classics? Catch up on our conversation. Then, let's
hear what you have to say about it!



  • Ah, I long for the days when gas was cheap, horsepower was plentiful, compression ratios were high and tires were skinny!

    The term Muscle Car has a multitude of definitions, just like sports car. My first high compression, high octane experience was at the wheel of a muscle yacht. My parents owned a 1969 Mercury Marquis with a 429 4V premium fuel only. It was basically a Ford police cruiser package in a 4 door Mercury. It would bury the speedo hand long before it hit top end and could lay down a patch of rubber that sent most of the pony cars cowering for cover! After watching the movie White Lightening with Burt Reynolds, we all went out and flipped the breather lids over (try that today!) and listened to them howl all the way home!

    My mom was the lead foot of the family and loved to drive the big Merc hard! I remember her surprising a kid in Nova or something while we were Christmas shopping one year. We had been side by side at about 3 lights and he obviously had an idle problem (or just like the sound of the glass packs!) and sat through each light revving the motor. By the third light, Mom was fed up with it and took it as a personal challenge. When the light went green, she kicked that 429 and I shall never forget the look of astonishment on that kids face through the tire smoke!

    As Tim Allen would say, R R R!

    Great topic, let's keep it up!
  • An old boyfriend of mine had (has?) a '69 Mustang Mach I. He was painting her Emron black when we started dating, and she came first until she was done. I loved that car, and thought of her a lot when I decided to buy my own Mustang. The sound of her engine was very distinctive in the late 80's early 90's, and she still has a special place in my heart.
    It was always fun to be sitting at a light and watch the reactions of people in the other lane(s). And sitting in the passenger side with a driver who knows what he's doing in a car like that, major adrenaline kick!
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    The sound of those hotter Mustangs was [is] definitely arush. Before [and after] Mustang, I loved the sound of Chevy 327's with solid lifters, wild cams, and lots of carburetion. I remember my old 55 Chev with the Corvette 327 with the wild[30-30] cam. I'd wind that thing up slow to about 4000 rpm, and THEN punch in the other 2 barrels on that giant 4barrel, and just love the rush of the sound and the push on my back. Now, a buddy runs a sprint car on the NARC circuit. The sound of those sprint cars is awesome. Oh- I need a street rod again. Memories!
  • Mopar is where its at! I had (my favorite)a 65 Plymouth Fury 3. I drove that car for 3 years and was the best car I ever had. It never broke down on me Maybe because I could work on it myself. I also had a 67 valiant sublime green. 3 on the tree, and a 73 duster. my fury had a poly 318,the val a slant6,and the duster a fury wieghed over 2000 lbs and left so many cars in the dust. oh I loved my baby. As life goes I had to sell them all at once. What a trama this has left me in.And about two weeks ago my mom saw my Fury drive by with for sale signs in every window. of course Idont have the money to buy it back.
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Posts: 140
    Yeah, the ones that got away (or we gave away!). I was driving a 1964 1/2 Mustang coupe when the price on them first started going up back in the mid-late 70's. It was a neat little car but I never was in love with that body style. Anyway a friend calls me at college one Thursday night and says the local Ford dealership has something on the lot called a "7 Liter Galaxie" and had I seen it! I left college that Friday afternoon and went straight there. It was a 1966 Galaxie with the 427 Nascar wedge head engine, buckets, console, dark blue with blue interior, sport wheel covers, but that motor....what a hunk of automotive beauty! The sales manager and I talked and he wanted my car and I wanted his. We got to my car and $150. I was on cloud nine! That big rascal would fly and the 427 would sling that huge body around like it was nothing. I booked it on home that night and told my parents what I wanted to do and they were cool with it, but my dad and I dropped in on my uncle the insurance agent on the way to trade. When I finally gave in and told him what the engine size was it was all over. He went ballistic and talked Dad out of it. I've never forgiven! I wish I had that big barge now!
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    This is such a fun topic-
    #4-I always like to hear peoiple share Mopar memories. Although I was a Chevy guy, and still like the sound of those screaming small blocks, I've owned a number of Mopars. I sold the 55 Chev with Corvette motor to buy a 65 Plymouth BelvedereII 2dr hardtop-copper with black interior. Had the 383/330 horse, with police suspension and brakes and that huge Chrysler 4speed. I loved that car, and would buy it back if I could. I also had Dodge Dart, and a couple of Dodge vans. Still have latestone , a conversion with all the goodies. I remember the day when a neighbor drove up in a brand new 67 GTX with the 426 street hemi and 4speed. Jeez could that thing fly!
  • bcathcartbcathcart Posts: 54
    How about the Ford GT40,Quite a few road versions can still be found here in the UK,carefully preserved and taken out for a buzz at suitable moments.One of uncle Henrys best.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Interesting story about how the muscle car craze started in the U.S.

    The basic idea originated from the '62 Corvair Monza, which was the first modern American car to come up with the marketing concept of small car/ big engine, in a 150hp turbo package. Soon after, this was capitalized upon further by Ford with the Mustang,(late 1964) and then John Delorean "invented" the GTO,(1966 was it?) which was basically a Tempest body stuffed with a formidable large-bore Pontiac engine. Chrysler probably producted the most fearsome of the muscle cars.

    After about a 12 year run, the muscle car fell victim to rising insurance rates, emissions controls and the first gas crisis in the US.(1973.

    So we should all show a bit more respect for the Corvair, IMO. I also think these cars (the true muscle cars, not the pretenders) will remain one of the hottest trends in the collectible market as the new generation of collectors emerges.
  • dklynndklynn Posts: 3
    How come nobody has posted with an early model Cougar?? I have a 70 convertible, 351 Cleveland, which I love dearly. He needs paint and a new top (again) but he's a workhorse and has been very patient with me and my new 98 Sebring JXi. :)

    Someone came over to me in a parking lot one time and told me there were only about 3,000 '70 Cougar convertibles made. Anybody know about that?

    on on
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Dar DK,

    About 4300, including both the 76A convertible (2,322) and the 76B convertible (1,977).

    Unfortunately, very often in the weirdo collectible car market rarity does not translate into more value. For instance, there are easily twice as many 1970 Mustang convertibles, and yet they are worth twice as much or more than the Cougar in today's market.

    Nonetheless, the '70 Cougar is a nice ride, and any convertible that can cruise modern highways will always have some appeal and is always worth saving (although maybe not worth fully restoring right now).
  • zl1zl1 Posts: 16
    The 64 GTO was indeed the first muscle car,the funny thing is they didnt even know what they had started.The 64 1/2 mustang was more of a sports car than a muscle car,but the boys at ford soon jumped on the bandwagon.
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Posts: 140
    Yeah, I would mark the trend starting with the 409s and the Thunderbolt Fairlanes. The Corvair might have gotten them all thinking about it, but when Drag Racing starting becoming recognized as a *sanctioned* sport is when the muscle car era took off.

    BTW Dklynn, I tried my best to talk my dad into buying me a 1969 Cougar XR-7, red w/a white vinyl top and those beautiful (and heavy) Mercury wire wheel covers and a 390 4V! He want me in something more economical so we picked up a 64 1/2 Mustang coupe with a *little* 289 in it!

    Keep that cat purring,

  • ratchratch Posts: 21
    I don't remember hearing or using the term muscle car until after the fact. I thought it applied to big engine Chevelles, GTOs, and Furys. I don't remember what Ford coupe would apply -- well, there were some Comets that had a lot of driveline problems.

    I thought Pony cars were the Mustang, Firebird, Camaro, Barracuda, and Challenger. The latter two -- when armed with a 426 Hemi -- were awful!

    In the late 50s and early 60s, there were some awfully fast cars -- anything with an optional huge engine. I guess the Chrysler 300 was as fast as I knew of -- driven by the Texas DPS.

    I owned a '66 Chevelle SS -- 396, Muncie 4 speed, positraction, bucket seats. It was a neat car, but the big block engine was a disappointment -- never as fast as the 348 or 409.

    That car was stolen and I got a '66 GTO -- same everything except a 389 with a big Carter AFB -- car was fast -- faster than the Chevelle.

    We had a '69 Camaro -- 350 with a 2 BBL -- not very impressive. Was easily beaten by a Mazda rotary!

    Funny, I don't remember what times stock Dodges and Plymouths turned, but the GTO turned in the low 13s while the super stock Dodges and Plymouths were turning in the nines.

    The Cougar was such an outstanding design when it hit the market -- first car designed to appeal to women. As such, it wasn't real fast, but it was real comfortable. I went to buy one, couldn't get waited on, went down the street and bought the Chevelle.

    Nobody who ever raced against Dodge or plymouth could ever forget their awesome speed and curious way their rear ends lifted as they came off the line. Their engines were fairly quiet at idle, but they were absolutely earth shaking when the driver got on the throttle as the lights were coming down.

    Green, the engine noise was huge -- the car would raise up -- actually raise up about two or three inches -- wheels hanging out of the fenders and blue rubber smoke completely hiding the rear tires -- just boiling out of the fender! Night racing you could see a red glow all around the tires, blue flames coming out of the dumps behind the front wheels! These were awesome cars.

    But, on the street, the small block chevy with a humpty dumpty Duntov 30-30 cam -- headers -- 12.5 : 1 compression ratio, 2-4 BBls -- absolutely quick. I liked the 302 (when it came out). but before that, I liked the 283 and 327.

    I'll never understand why Chevrolet settled on the 305 and 350 engines!

    Oh well!
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Posts: 140
    I had a friend with a 67 Fairlane GTA, 390 big Holley 4bbl, 4 was incredible! The car was light and the motor was hot. Someone had taught him how to double-clutch a shift and he might have been a tad slower than other guys, but he *never* missed a shift. When you think of the size of those *muscle* cars in comparison to performance cars of today, they were barges! I don't guess I realized how far tire technology had come until I saw a show on TV some time back showing a Yenko Camaro--a special dealer package with about 600 street hp--and the driver kicked it and those skinny bias belted tires looked like they were going to melt! On street tires, a Mustang GT will almost match the times the Yenko produced on street tires. But then, pull your wrinkle walls out of the trunk and everything changes!

    What fun when gas was cheap!!!!

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 32,442
    Gas is still cheap (probably cheaper than in 1970 in real terms). It's my insurance company (good old NJ) that got expensive.

    2019 Acura TLX A-spec 4 cyl. (mine), and 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's)

  • sebringjxisebringjxi Posts: 140
    Yeah, man, insurance is unbelievable! Even for us guys in the protected age brackets. That's one reason I'm driving a 168 hp Sebring convertible instead of a 305 hp Cobra convertible! That and the fact I have a teenage son!

  • rapunzelrapunzel Posts: 15
    Neighbor of mine was working on an early vintage Mustang, wheel bearings. I stop to admire, although it is in need of some restoration. I ask what year it is. First he says 72 (don't think so), then he says maybe 68. Don't you have to know what year it is when replacing parts? Shouldn't you know what year your car is anyway?
  • ladyblueladyblue Posts: 326
    One would most certainly think so. ;-)
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    Gee that's hard to believe. That's the kind of guy who bought one of the original Hyundais.... he goes down to the dealer and says"Uh,yeah, Gimme $5000 worth of car...."
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Posts: 140
    We bought my son a car when he was 15. A 1973 Jensen Healey (British Sports car) and I told him one reason we bought it when we did was he needed a year to learn everything he needed to know about that particular car so when somebody stopped him on the street he could give them a short course in Jensen Healey!

    Now, if the guy was working on a 67 or 68, he might get confused, but 72 and 68 were two whole bodystyles apart!

    Isn't it strange how some people function that way. They don't know or care what they drive. The car referred to above developed a severe oil leak Wednesday night and my son has been in a funky mood ever since (we're going to fix it this weekend). I understand why, because when you ascribe to the theory that you *are* what you drive and it breaks down, you're nothing!

    Ah well, in the automotive food chain some are destined to be predators and some are destined to be sea cows!

  • ratchratch Posts: 21
    Hal, if you have a shot at a Shelby Cobra -- grab it. Quite respectful car.

    Used to one could look at the small letters on tailight lenses and get a good idea of a car's year. I don't know if that still works on more modern cars.

    Might be some confusion about the bearings versus the car model year. Could be that the same bearing fits a few model years -- but then, everybody knows that.

    Talking about muscle cars -- left out the 442 Olds. Raced against Paula Murphy when she drove one -- maybe the only one in southern California at the time. I think her husband was a dealer.

    Ford 390 could be made very fast, but the engine was so heavy -- seems like it was a Y block -- a lot of iron.

    People don't realize it, but the Chevy 265 was a technical wonder when it hit the market -- it was as refined to us then as modern engines seem refined today.

    No Hemi drivers out there?
  • glengleglengle Posts: 57
    OK, get out the gun. My first car was a 1970 GS 455. Had tons o' fun in it, and (now for the shooting) sold it for $1000 to put down on a new Datsun 280ZX. Hindsight...
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Posts: 140
    Yeah, I had a shot at a GT-500 KR back in, must have been 1979 or 80. It was that goldish-green with a green interior. Wow, 428, automatic, a/c, all the goodies except the overhead console! Guy wanted $3800 for it and being young, married and 3 months into a new job, I just couldn't swing it.....hindsight (again).

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Stickguy is absolutely was insurance costs that also brought down the muscle cars, along with the 1973 gas crisis.

    Also i agree the term "muscle car" is a retro-fitted wasn't used at the time, and I'd also agree the first "pure" muscle car would be the 1964 GTO...for which we can thank....John DeLorean!

    I don't think the 409 Chevy qualifies as the original muscle car, although it's a good suggestion, because to be accurate the term inplies big engine stuffed into smaller body, and the '61 Chevy 409 was hardly a small car. So the Corvair was the "inspiration" for the concept of the muscle car, but was not actually powerful enough to be one. One should remember that in the early 1960s having a smaller car with a big engine and bucket seats was strictly a foreign car package back then.
  • 440x440x Posts: 3
    I have 68 plymouth GTX 440hp Some kid about 18 had
    5.0 at the light,he had no idea what the hell beat him,I told the kid this car is older then you,The
    days of 100 octane sunoco at 30 cents
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Ah, you suckered him, shame on you...I assume you mean, though 440 cubic inches, not horsepower...unless you've tweaked it...should be 375 hp right?
  • zl1zl1 Posts: 16
    Speaking of the 440,If memory serves me correct I believe that in stock form the 440 6 pack was often a bit quicker than the stock 426 hemi,but with a few tweaks the hemi became a very nasty animal.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    And a valuable car right now, too...a 1966 Plymouth Satellite Convertible Hemi w/ 4-speed (rare car) in perfectly restored condition (better than new) sold recently at auction for...are you ready for this....$62,000!
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    Just went to the annual Portland Car show and swap meet. There was a 67 Dodge Coronet 2dr sedan [strippo] with the 426 street hemi-all original in and out. The thing had been stored for years. The car was obviously ordered for speed only at minimum cost. The original window sticker showed a price of way less than $4000. The Hemi was a $900. option. But then, we weren't making nearly as much money tthen.......Oh yes-the guy wanted $16000 for the car, which had less than 60000 documented miles.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Hmmm....I wonder if that car is really an original....seems to me somewhere in the back of my head that you had to order a Coronet R/T to get a Hemi engine...maybe the car was a 1966? But even then, his price is 1/3 of what it should be...makes me think, given the low asking price, that something's not right with the car or that it was quite didn't mention condition.
This discussion has been closed.