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What are the Top 10 Muscle Cars of All Time?

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Plymouth Belvedere 1967 images

The "B"body full sized 1967 Plymouth Belvedere is available as a sedan, hardtop or convertible with two doors or a station wagon and hardtop version with four doors are also on the options sheet. The engines include six V8's with the 427 cu in (7.0 L) Hemi at the top of the list. The engine is bolted to a three speed standard or a three speed automatic transmission. This was the vehicle of choice for the Los Angeles Police Department in '67.

Our thanks to Gateway Classic Cars for the images here.

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The AMC Rebel 1969 and 1970

The 1969 year sees the elimination of the convertible as well as the 550 and 770 badges.  The four door sedan, the wagon, and the two door hard top all available as basic models or with the SST trim package; this package now has simulated louvers in front of the rear wheel wells with other trim as well. Other exterior changes include 1” increase in track width between the front and the rear wheels, a new grill, wrap around tail lights, and some trim additions.  Inside the dash is recessed further away from riders with the controls moved to directly in front of the operator.

AMC Rebel 1970

© Ananthkrish | Dreamstime.com - 1970 AMC Rebel Car At The Car Show Photo

Sedans and the coupe have a restyled rear end for 1970 as well as a restyled bumper and the body has a C-pillar shape. Mean while the hard top gets a more sloped roof line and the quarter windows are up swept at a reverse angle. The hard top also sports a new sloped roof line. The tail lights are housed inside a new looped bumper with “Rebel” printed between them. The grill on all the models has been changed and now has a horizontal split with Rebel spelled out on the front lip of the hood. The 1970 models in the other three automakers are getting bigger but the AMC maintains a good size passenger compartment but is getting smaller in outside dimensions and lighter curb weight.  Safety measures this year include the “clam shell” bucket seats are offered with integrated head rests and the sides of the sedans as well as the hard tops are made much stronger than previous years.

AMC Rebel side 1970

© Raytags | Dreamstime.com - Classic Car Photo

Under the hood the options are increased for 1970. The 290 is dropped and basic engine is now a 304 cu in (5.0 L) V8 giving 210 hp (157 kW; 213 PS). The 343 is also replaced with a 360 cu in (5.9 L). Two carburetor options for the 360 are a two barrel putting out 245 hp (183 kW; 248 PS) or the four barrel producing 290 hp (216 kW; 294 PS). The next power option is available on SST and is the AMX 390 cu in (6.4 L) giving 325 hp (242 kW; 330 PS). Not good enough? “The Machine” comes equipped with a high performance 390 putting out 340 hp (254 kW; 345 PS) and 430 lb-ft (583 N-m) of torque at 3600 rpm. This engine has a four barrel mounted on redesigned heads, special valve train, hot cam shaft, and revised  intake and exhaust system. AMC liked to present its automobiles as an economy minded persons family car in most cases and "The Machine" does not fall into that category - it is definitely a muscle car but it does have a lot of passenger and truck space as well.   The transmission on the Machine is Borg-Warner T-10 standard four speed with a Hurst shift kit having a pistol grip handle - optional on the SST. The floor mounted shifter comes in a console and on the Machine it is backed up by either 3.54:1 or 3.91:1 rear axle gear ratios in the differential. The Machine also has a heavy duty set of rear springs that make the rear end higher than the front giving the car a raked look. The Machine has a functional “ram air” style hood scoop with an integral tachometer comes with one paint job – it is red, white, and blue only.

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Chevrolet Chevelle 1970 SS 454

The Chevelle interior has been redesigned for 1970 and the exterior has also been renewed; its now squared up; more symmetrical looking than last year. The sedans are on a 112 inch wheel base and have a curb weight of 3,520 lbs (1,597 kg). There is a full range of models to tempt consumers, but the largest engine option is only offered for the Malibu coupe and Malibu convertible or the El Camino pick-up. The 1970 454 engine is the most powerful ever fitted into the Chevelle, but only for this one year, with the succeeding years offers the performance has been retarded to conform to EPA mandated pollution control regulations.

1970 chevelle 2

The best news for 1970 is the latest 454 power option derived from the Mark IV block. The LS6 big block is a 453.96 inch (7.4 L) displacement version on the table for the Chevelle SS this year. This cast iron engine boasts four bolt main caps, forged steel crankshaft and push rods, with the aluminium pistons, also turned out by a forge. The engine was only available as the RPO Z15 SS Equipment option, factory equipped to produce 360 (268 kW) in the base version. The LS6 454 putting out 450 hp (340 kW) is as good as it will ever get for a stock Chevelle. Either one of the 454 engine power options will be equipped with dual exhaust power and could optionally have cowl induction. This ultimate Chevelle engine has a cylinder bore of 4.250 inches (108.0 mm), pistons a 4 inch stroke and the firing chamber has a tight, 8.75:1, compression ratio. The low-rise aluminum intake manifold sports a Holley model 4150, cfm 780 four barrel carburetor, the heads have 2.910” intake valves, and 1.880” exhaust valves, while the extra-beefy dimpled connecting rods are engineered for handling high the high stress of performance driving. The lifters are solid ones and the pulleys are deeply grooved for more efficient power transfer. The ‘70 Chevelle is under rated by Chevy at 450 bhp @ 5,600 rpm and producing a more accurate, 500 lb-ft. of torque @ 3,200 rpm. Field testing done in 1970 strongly indicate well in excess of. 500 bhp, but the figure cannot be backed by any data available now. Super Chevy Magazine did conduct and publish dyno tests on a well-tuned assembly-line produced LS6 engine. The power plant will deliver a peak of 283 hp to the wheels which would equate to about 500 bhp (350 SAE Net Hp) rating. The top speed recorded for a factory produced 454 Chevelle, in 1970, perfectly tuned and equipped with the automatic transmission is 106.76 mph (171.81 km/h). There were 4,475 Chevelle units leave the assembly line in 1970 with the LS6 engine, although only 137 units are officially accounted for and currently on the National Chevelle LS6 registry.

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Ford Motors Engine Series the “Y” block 1954 to mid-’60’s

When the design engineers have an end view of the new long-skirted block as it sits on an engine stand, it looks like a capitol letter “Y” and so the name sticks.

 Chevrolet Coupe 1950 (1)

Ford maintains the overhead valve "Y" engine is a big improvement over the less refined flathead, but this replacement is only the second step on the road to a perfected V8. The new engine can fail particularly when run at high RPM for a sustained period. The fault is in the one inch offset oil passage through the block  that restricts the oil flow because it is too small. The insufficiently large passage is easily clogged by sediment, which reduces the flow even further. The top end of the engine is the last vital system to get lubricated which exacerbates  the problem. The poor oil circulation in the top end of the engine can cause valves to burn and other rocker assembly components to over heat which leads to premature engine failure. This can be easily remedied with the after-market external oilier kit which had been originally used in Ford racing cars of that time. The kit includes a new copper oil supply line to install which will not only increase the oil flow, but brings the cooling lubricant directly to the camshaft from the pan.  The main reason Ford abandoned the "Y" design is the engine block cannot be worked to safely increase the size of the firing chamber beyond about 340 cubic inches. This engine remains another success for Ford Motors because the statistics then, now and forever, will show Ford had the upper hand over Chevy in both power and torque from ’55 through ’57.

Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria (8)1956

The 1954 Mercury is the first Ford product to have a “Y” block 256 cu in (4.2 L) V8 under the hood and is advertised as the new “V-161”. The engine has a Holly #2140 (V4) carburetor mounted on the intake and will produce 161 hp at 4400 rpm while the peak torque of 238 ft-lb is delivered to the wheels at 2200 rpm. This engine has a 3-5/8 inch (92.075 mm) bore with 3-3/4 inch (95.25 mm) stroke and has a 7.5:1 compression ratio. The 292 is in show rooms for the 1955 model year for the Thunderbird, Mercury plus the uptown full sized and intermediate Ford vehicles, including the truck line up. There is also a 292 that has been bored to 312 and in the newly introduced F-100 pick-up though 1964. The 312 is called the “Thunderbird Special V8” and has always been a favorite Ford engine to hot rod, although nowadays hot rod  nostalgia would be the attraction. The 292 has a forged steel crankshaft making it a popular item for high performance street and racing upgrades. A little machine work and custom made pistons the 312 engine would be upstroked to 340 cu in (5.57 L). Depending on the model and the year the 312 could have fuel supplied by a two-barrel, a four barrel or for the 1957 model year only could have been equipped with a McCulloch (Paxton) supercharger.

Thunderbird '57

The 1956 Mercury line-up and high end Ford models are equipped with the 312 and would have a four barrel carburetor. This combination with a 8.0:1 compression produces initially 210 hp (156.59 kW) in the standard transmission equipped models and the automatic has a higher 8.4:1 compression ratio producing  225 hp (167.78 kW). Part way through the ’56 model year a new version of the 312 will develop 235 hp and has a still higher 9.0:1 compression ratio. The ’56 Mercury engine has the head and block painted gold as a standard factory color. The 210 hp version sports red valve cover/air filter, while the valve cover/air cleaner are blue in the 225 hp units, but the high powered 235 hp has the valve cover and air cleaner painted silver when they leave the factory. January ’56 Ford introduces a dealer installed “M-260” engine upgrade kit which would give the customer a hopped up camshaft and a new intake manifold with two four barrel carburetors which kicks the hp rating up to 260 (193.88 kW). The 312 was used in Mercury models until 1960 and although it is touted as high performance for ’56-’57. By 1960 the 312 is a low compression, economy V8 equipped with a two barrel carburetor for the remainder of its production time. There is still aftermarket demand for the 312 now from the hot rod hobbyists and history buffs. With a slight modification of the bell housing the engine can be coupled to a modern Tremec T-5 transmission with overdrive using the original factory clutch assembly. The 1957 heads are still sought after because they are known for high performance, with large valves and the unusual stacked intake runner design. The ported ECZ-G castings can have a flow rate up to 235 cfm at the top port.

The “Y” engine family filled in very nicely for the Ford Motor Company, at least for a few years, before it becomes obsolete in the N. American market. The demand for higher performance, plus power sapping options such as air conditioning, power steering and power brakes are what dictated the need for bigger blocks very soon after the new engine families introduction. A version of the “Y” engine is in every Ford passenger vehicle powered by a V8 from 1954. The "Y" families are superseded at the end of 1957 by the MEL and FT/FE engine line up for intermediate/full sized passenger vehicles plus the Super Duty family is also introduced for larger trucks. The Lincoln Division independently developed a new “Y” block for the luxurious full sized line in ’54, but it is larger and not related to the Ford produced unit. The ad campaigns were aimed at celebrating fifty years of Ford during the 1964 model year and this is the last year a “Y” block engine is installed in a vehicle manufactured in the USA. By licence, both Argentina and Brazil produced their own version of the 292 from 1958 until 1975. Some sources say the 272 and the 292 displacement engine parts are still available from wholesalers there.

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