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Muscle Cars: For The Thrill-Seeker In You

Muscle Cars: For The Thrill-Seeker In You


1962 Ford Thunderbird Sports Roadster
By Herranderssvensson (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
If you prefer an automobile that can withstand extreme driving maneuvers and can handle sports such as drag racing, getting a muscle car can be the best option for you. Muscle cars come in various models and they have a set of features that are unique to them.

For certain motorists, having a car with a standard engine and design is enough for their daily use. However, for other individuals, it is much better to own an automobile that has been built for more hard-hitting driving maneuvers. These people require a vehicle that can move faster and withstand extreme driving conditions. If you, for instance, belong to the latter more adventurous group of motorists, you may find yourself looking for a car that can handle your needs as a thrill-seeking driver. In relation to this, a good option for you is to get one of the American muscle cars in the market.

But before actually planning to get a muscle car, you need to know the things that set this type of vehicle apart from other automobiles. Generally, muscle cars refer to high-performance automobiles that are medium sized and are equipped with a large powerful engine, usually a V8. Muscle cars normally have two doors, although some models have four doors. In addition, these cars have special trims that enable them to have maximum torque or rotary force while on the road. Muscle cars are also the common choice of individuals who join drag racing competitions. Experts distinguish muscle cars from sports cars through their size and seats. Muscle cars are relatively larger than sports cars and the latter have more than two seats.

After learning about the unique characteristics of muscle cars, you need to know about its various models. Here are a few classic examples of American muscle cars: Ford Thunderbird 427, Buick Skylark Gran Sport, Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu SS, and Pontiac GTO. All of these muscle cars were manufactured between the early 60’s to the mid 70’s and are the pioneering products that defined the said type of automobile. Modern muscle cars include the Impala SS, the Mercury Grand Marquis, the retro-style Ford Mustang, and the GT 500 Super Snake and King of the Road by Ford and Shelby.

Moving on, once you have learned much about muscle cars and have decided to get one, you should know where to start your search for the right car. First, you can visit automobile exhibits held by various car manufacturers in your city. During specific times of the year, these car companies host auto shows that they announce through public ads. Most likely, these exhibits have a particular area for muscle cars produced by the company. Second, you can read about several muscle car models and view their images in magazines and websites dedicated to the said automobile. Through these publications and online resources, you can even find the contact information of the companies that sell these cars. You should, however be more careful in looking for muscle cars on the World Wide Web and make sure that credible companies manage the sites you are visiting. Finally, if you wish to create your own muscle car, you can get in touch with an automotive designer. This type of Car Company can build a muscle car based on your preference and specifications in terms of paint scheme, tires, interior, and engine.

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Top Five Classic Muscle Cars

Top Five Classic Muscle Cars
By Brian Edwards

Top Five Muscle Cars
1966 Dodge Charger image: by Jeremy3030 [CC2.0] via Wikimedia Commons 
Today the term muscle car refers for all sorts of cars with large engines and great performance. However, “back in the day” it described mid-sized automobiles that had big engines stuffed between the fender wells. Corvettes, Camaros, and Mustangs were not considered muscle cars by the purists. Even today many gear heads only consider the mid sized cars from the 1960’s as true muscle cars. Everything else is a sports car, pony car or just a plain old car.

So what was the most important of these original muscle cars? We have chosen five of the most popular cars for a retro comparison to determine the king of the hill. The selectees are the 1961 Chevy Impala SS, the 1964 Pontiac GTO, the 1964 Ford Fairlane, the 1966 Dodge Charger and the 1968 Plymouth Road Runner. Let the showdown begin.

1961 Chevy Impala SS

Many consider this the first true muscle car. A 409 cubic inch motor was dropped into the Chevy Impala and a legend was made. With the help of the Beach Boys and their song about the car (‘She’s so fine, my four-oh-nine’) it became an icon for the baby boomers. Chevy’s marketing for the car described it as designed “for young men on the move…(who) won’t settle for less than REAL driving excitement.”

Performance was very good for the era with Motor Trend driving one from zero to sixty on seven seconds and completing the quarter mile in 14 seconds at 98 mph. The car became a legend.

1964 Pontiac GTO

The GTO was another marketing success for General Motors. Although the car was not the fastest car on the market it quickly became successful as an all a round muscle car. It was relatively affordable, relatively fast and relatively handsome. Many consider it the first modern muscle car. Although that is debatable, it is definitely the first successful muscle car in terms of sales.

Performance was very good with Car Life and Motor Trend both measuring zero to sixty times of less than seven seconds and quarter mile times of around 14 seconds.

1964 Ford Fairlane

In 1964 the Fairlane was redesigned and the tail fins were removed. Other improvements included upgrades to the suspension in order to improve ride-quality. Interior enhancements included full carpeting for the floors and turn signals that turned themselves off after the steering wheel was turned. However, the big news for 1964 was the Thunderbolt. The Thunderbolt was one of fastest dragsters ever produced by a manufacturer. Ford stuffed a heavily modified 427 cubic inch engine with two four-barrel carburetors mounted on a high-riser manifold into the relatively light weight Fairlane. The car had a ram-air induction system with air vents mounted in openings in the grill left by deleting the inboard headlights.

Other modifications included: equal-length headers, a trunk-mounted battery, fiberglass hood, doors, fenders and front bumper, Plexiglass windows, and other lightweight options included deleting the rear door window winders, carpeting, radio, sealant, sun visors, armrests, jack, lug wrench, heater, soundproofing, and passenger side windshield wiper. Performance was amazing.

Gas Ronda dominated NHRA’s 1964 World Championship by running his Thunderbolt through the quarter mile in 11.6 seconds at 124 mph. Later, the NHRA changed the rules to require 500 models of a car to be manufactured for Super Stock competition, and Ford, which had been losing $1500 to $2000 on each Thunderbolt sold at the sticker price of $3900, gave up. In the end, it was the NHRA and its ability to change the rules that stopped the Ford from dominating the drag strips for many years.

Although the Fairlane faded form Ford’s performance spotlight as the Mustang took off. It came back in 1966 and 67 as a very nice looking car. Large engines ‘encouraged’ great performance numbers also.

1966 Dodge Charger

Although it resembled a Coronet with a fastback, the production Charger carried design cues from the Charger II concept car. Both maintained the swoopy fastback that was very popular during the mid-sixties. The electric shaver grill used fully rotating headlights that when opened or closed made the grill look like one-piece. Inside, the Charger used four individual bucket seats with a full length console from front to rear. The rear seats and console pad also folded down which allowed for more cargo room inside. In the rear the full length taillights carried the Charger name.

The car was radically different than anything else on the road and when fitted with a street Hemi it was one of the fastest cars on the road. A Hemi equipped car could do zero to sixty in less than seven seconds and the quarter mile in about 14 seconds. It was a big and radically designed car. And best of al, it was fast.

1968 Plymouth Road Runner

By 1968, muscle cars had become fast, luxurious and expensive. The young people that consisted of the primary market for these types of transportation had been priced out of the market. Plymouth recognized this and exploited to its fullest potential. First, the stripped down a Belvedere to its most basic form and then gave it a large motor. Then the marketing department found a simple way to change the image of the car from that of a bare bones racer to a unique automobile. A popular cartoon character and a unique horn was all that was need to bring this car to the masses.

The Road runner was an instant success. The combination of affordability plus outstanding performance had won the day again. Performance was remarkable with 13 second times for the Hemi and 15 second times for the base engine in the quarter mile.

The Winner

All five of these muscle cars were trend setters in their day. But the one that appeals to this author as the greatest of the early muscle cars is the 1966 Dodge Charger. It was a radical departure from the past with its fast back design and the four passenger bucket seats. It just looked like a muscle car. Performance was strong and the price was reasonable. The 1961 Chevy Impala Super Sport is a close second and if more had been made it may have actually won this little compression.

Read more about these great muscle cars at Muscle Cars [http://musclecarfacts.net/]

Muscle Cars [http://musclecarfacts.net/] is dedicated to providing information on all the great muscle cars of the past.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Brian_Edwards/8408



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