American Muscle Cars of the 60's and 70's
April 24, 2004 11:49 AM   Subscribe

American Muscle Cars of the 60's and 70's.
posted by hama7 (24 comments total)
American Muscle Cars of the 60's and 70's.
posted by hama7 at 11:49 AM on April 24, 2004

[this is good]
posted by quonsar at 11:59 AM on April 24, 2004

And let's not forget the Mustang turned 40 this year! Great post.
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:05 PM on April 24, 2004

Dang, no Ford Gran Torino listed on the main post's muscle car site.
posted by mathowie at 12:25 PM on April 24, 2004

Great, thanks! Loved the commentaries.
posted by carter at 12:41 PM on April 24, 2004

I just sold my beloved 1972 AMC Javelin for the meager sum of $500. After eighteen years of putting it back together after major abuse, it had become too expensive and too much trouble.

Either that, or I'm getting old, fat, and lazy.

Nahh, it's gotta be the former.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:45 PM on April 24, 2004

I had a '72 Plymouth Satellite. I was really poor, and when I ran out of motor oil - it burned a fair amount - I started feeding back into the motor the used motor oil I had in gallon milk jugs in the trunk.

It started to smoke a lot at around 225,000 miles - so I had it hauled away.

Then I got a '79 Subaru DL. I Liked the Subaru better (except for it's tendency to chew up CV joints). - it was far better on gas and handled rather than wallowed. But the Plymouth wasn't bad.

At one point, the rear suspension of my Subaru collapsed on one side : there were no springs, it seemed. The springiness came from a rubber bushing, and that had sheared. The wheel was rubbing against the wheelwell. So, I fixed it temporarily by jamming in a big rock, to hold the trailing arm at the proper angle.

I couldn't have done something like that with the Plymouth - it was far too massive and heavy - it did, however, have a proper rear suspension - leaf springs, I believe.

The Subaru was sprung on glorified rubber bands.
posted by troutfishing at 2:01 PM on April 24, 2004

My Satellite had a 318 cid which was running on 7 and 1/2 cylinders - number 8 seemed to kick in at highway speeds.

I took it up to 110 mph once - when I was young and dumb.
It would have gone much faster, but I was afraid the tires would pull a Jimmy Dean on me.

I was only stopped for speeding in it once.

Not for going especially fast either - maybe about 72 mph - but, perhaps, because I had a cardboard pyramid on top of my head. This probably intrigued the speed-trap cop. Strangely, he didn't search the car.

Maybe the cardboard pyramid protected me. Maybe not. I had made it on a whim, as a joke partially and also in the finest experimental spirit of the Enlightenment Age - to see what all the '70s fuss about pyramids was about. Pyramids, at the time, were alleged to do all sorts of wonderful and magical things - sharpen rusty razors, preserve or mummify fruit, restore sexual potency, reverse the aging process, raise the dead, and so on. I suspended it over my bed in my college dorm room, right over my pillow - sort of like a cap. My little pyramid experiment was cut short when I began to have awful, vivid nightmares. Apparently, what was good for razors and fruit was not good the human brain. It was not an empirically rigorous venture.

.....moving right along : I drove the Plymouth the wrong way once into what I thought was an entrance tunnel, around Chinatown in Boston, which actually proved to be an EXIT from the underground section of the old Central Artery.

That car would go pretty fast in reverse, I discovered. No pyramid magic was necessary - just raw horsepower and massive torque.
posted by troutfishing at 2:27 PM on April 24, 2004

wow, this topic is so unique.
posted by the aloha at 2:52 PM on April 24, 2004

Had one of these once upon a time--white hardtop, just like the linked pics. Lots of folks call the '66 goat beautiful but to my eyes the '65 is one of the very handsomest American designs ever, in the same league as the 2-seat Thunderbird (the first one, not the thing they tried and signally failed to sell recently.)

Interestingly, my current car (2000 Dodge Intrepid) has almost exactly the same dimensions (length, width, wheelbase, weight) as the gto. Somewhat less engine but not much less performance (I never got 6.5 sec. 0-60 in the gto because that requires power shifting--great if you're testing someone else's car for a magazine, not so great if you're the one buying the replacement clutches and transmissions.) Just flooring the accelerator and shifting normally, the gto did 7.5-8.0 sec. 0-60 and 14.5-15.0 quarter. The dodge does 0-60 in about 8.5 shifting normally.

But! OH what they've learned about making cars handle and stop on demand in 35 years.

posted by jfuller at 6:28 PM on April 24, 2004

Civil_Disobedient, my college room mate and his brother ran their parent's Dart slant six out of antifreeze one night. They just parked it in the driveway and never said anything. Next morning, when it was cooled down, they just refilled it and that was that.
posted by tommasz at 6:51 PM on April 24, 2004

There was a great slashdot thread about this topic a few days ago (Ah, here it is), and I found it particularly amusing when the uninformed masses started railing on the engineering of American cars during the 60's and 70's. Some rather astute gearheads showed them the error of their ways, and the /6 was one of the best pieces of evidence in their arsenal. IIRC, slant-six's got something like 25-30 mpg (in the 60's, no less).

Personal faves: The '69 Mustang Convertible, and any of the 2+2 fastbacks. Does anyone know if you can cram a 426 Hemi into one?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:15 PM on April 24, 2004

Thanks hama7, you have re-inspired me to continue restoration on the '65 mustang rotting away in my garage. It will be beautiful one day, i promise.

i just love it when my practical friends ask me why i bought a car that's six years older than i am; i simply point to the wonderful noises it makes when it's running properly. Thus far, no amount of common sense has successfully argued against the joy that is a V8 running straight pipes.

(thank god my neighbors are tolerant, car loving people.)
posted by quin at 4:13 AM on April 25, 2004

That webdesign is beautifully 1995
posted by cmicali at 10:59 AM on April 25, 2004

"...But! OH what they've learned about making cars handle and stop on demand in 35 years. " jfuller, yup.

I've got a '50s Mercedes. It's a death trap. It'll go fast, and the suspension's long as you don't try to stop or corner quickly.
posted by troutfishing at 11:07 AM on April 25, 2004

Just convert your drums to discs and put some big honkers on 'em wheels and you'll be fine. Shouldn't take more than a couple of hours gettin' dirty.

I kid because I love.

And quin, if it's a convertible, and somewhere in the middle of the country, and has most of the parts, and the floors aren't all rusted out, and is for sale for under $3,000, I'd be willing to take it off your hands... :)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:54 PM on April 25, 2004

1980 Toyota Corolla with the 1800cc 3TC motor, 5 speed. There is something to be said about jap cars with rear wheel drive....
posted by Keyser Soze at 4:40 PM on April 25, 2004

I actually waited and saved up money...

...and I'm now the proud owner of a beautiful 1967 Camaro RS/SS 350 (similar to this one but mine's blue). Cars like this are works of art to me, a timeless bit of sculpture in steel. They seem to have been designed by people who looked at the prop fighter planes from WWII and the more recent jet age fighters of the '50s and '60s, and said, "let's make cars that look like that!! Yeah!!" :)

Of course they're also labors of love... it needs a new radiator because previous owner messed up the fan shroud installation, and it poked a hole thru a couple weeks ago. But I like working on cars. I'm looking to buying a house probably more for the 2-car garage that I'll be tricking out with a 4-point hydraulic lift and the biggest Craftsman red tool cabinet full of some fine, fine tools. :)

I'll be hangin' on to the Camaro for a long time... even when it costs $100 to fill up the gas tank (which might be next year at the rate we're going....).
posted by zoogleplex at 11:18 AM on April 26, 2004

There is something to be said about jap cars with rear wheel drive....
Yes - by and large, they are pieces of shit. Even mentioning a Corolla in a thread about muscle cars betrays your age, young lad.

Good to see a couple of Australian muscle cars featured on the site. I used to own a Monaro when I was (much) younger. Ah, memories ... If only I had the $60k to buy a new one *sigh*. At least the name is being kept alive by exporting them to the US to be sold as the Pontiac GTO.
posted by dg at 7:45 PM on April 26, 2004

Funny you should mention Australian cars; I was actually reading about the famous 1972 E49 Charger just a few days ago. It was (and I suppose still is) the quickest production car ever produced in Australia, and it's just a "measily" 6-cyl. A quote that impressed the pants off me:

"The Australian 6 pack Hemi Chrysler Chargers would not only match the mighty US V-8s in a straight line; the lightweight, short wheelbase coupes would also blow their big American relatives to the dust around corners."

posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:15 AM on April 27, 2004

Civil_Disobedient Does anyone know if you can cram a 426 Hemi into one?
With a big enough torch you can squeeze a hemi into anything. Look at that V10 they built a motorcycle around.

However it'll be hard to fit in an early mustang; a 426 hemi is a big and wide engine. The heads along with valve covers are massive like a DOHC engine. It was a fairly tight fit in my buddy's Belvedere. On they upside some tuner has started making hemi heads for 273-318-340-360s and that engine isn't much bigger than a 302.

That Belvedere is a sweet car. There is nothing like blowing the doors of some yuppie in Beemer with a 30 yr old four door sedan painted in mis matched colours.
posted by Mitheral at 11:40 AM on April 29, 2004

Civil_Disobedient, the E49 was indeed an impressive car in its day, although it never really performed up to its capability on the racetrack, where the competition was between the Holden Monaro GTS and the Ford Falcon GTHO. If you feel like some reading, this is an interesting article comparing the "big three" muscle cars of the time.
posted by dg at 3:54 PM on April 29, 2004

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