Flip the TV to a Mecum or Barret-Jackson auto auction these days, and you’ve got about a 50 percent chance of seeing a Corvette, Mustang, or Camaro crossing the block. That’s because baby boomers, now in their prime earning years – or comfortably enjoying the benefits of them – can afford the toys they grew up pining for.
Not every classic muscle car is a numbers-matching Fire Engine Red L88 ‘Vette though, and if you’re simply looking for a starter car to turn into a weekend project, it’s more likely you’ll spend your time on Craigslist than at an auction in Scottsdale or Kissimmee. So is it safe to trust what you see on Craigslist, given the site’s at-times-shady rep?
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Men are passionate about their stuff, and American muscle cars are no exception. It is said that a man's car is an extension of his personality. It's a representation of his psyche - his id, if you may - that he sends into the outside world against the ongoing traffic flow. In extreme cases, some men become their cars and imbibe the qualities that their cars represent. Let us take a look at several reasons why men simply cannot resist the charms of a muscle car.
First, let us define what American muscle cars are. Muscle cars are vehicles specifically designed for fast driving. You could usually catch them in drag races or other fast car events. They are built with engines tweaked to provide superior driving maneuvers when you need them most. They can accelerate to speeds over 100 kilometers per hour (kph) in about five seconds, some in even less than that.
As mentioned earlier, men view their cars as an extension of their personality. A muscle car exudes strength, masculinity and speed through its unique features. Its bulky body is made of durable material and houses an engine that can provide unbelievable speeds. Specifically designed for extreme power and velocity, muscle cars appeal to men with a flair for machismo. It attracts every man's hidden alpha male and provides him with a confidence boosted by owning at least one of these modern day classics.
The speed of these muscle cars is their main attraction. Robert Downs, a popular man fiction author, writes that muscle cars allow men to dream about a limitless world with no speed limits. A 600-horsepower V10 engine is the perfect embodiment of that dream. Men need an outlet for that recklessness they have within, and driving a muscle car is exactly the refuge they seek.
American muscle cars also appeal to man's natural tinkering nature. Owning a muscle car requires a certain know-how of car mechanics and fundamentals, as it requires a bit of customization to make the muscle car truly your own. No man can resist the thrill of getting his hands slick with grease after working on his very own muscle car. Since these works of art operate on manual transmission, those who live on paddle shifting a car with automatic transmission cannot survive driving one.
Another reason why men love American muscle cars is because they attract women. Let's be honest, a man cruising around town in a Camaro would definitely turn more female heads than one driving a Hybrid. Muscle cars and the aura they project appeal to a woman's sense of danger. Riding in a muscle car at top speed gives them a certain thrill that normal cars could only dream of. Call me sexist, but women love that stuff. Sort of the reason why they date jerks, if you ask me.
One last reason why men are so hooked with American muscle cars is the price. Contrary to the usual thrifty nature of men, splurging on a car that screams 'status symbol' is a temptation they cannot resist. The satisfaction with having a Mustang or a Cobra in your garage is more than enough compensation for the fortune they spent in acquiring one. Prices on these babies can go as high as $3,000,000.00, which is the price of the most expensive Dodge Viper VM-02 sold last year.
Men may have different reasons for owning American muscle cars. Be it for its speed, symbolism, or its appeal to women, it does not really matter. They, however, share one thing in common - having the bragging rights to owning one of America's finest contributions to the world of motoring.
For the 1969 model year, any Camaro chosen for the SCCA Trans Am racing series sports four-piston calipers on the front and rear disc brakes as standard equipment. This was the same system used in the Corvette and was necessary for improved stopping ability to help make the car a winner on the demanding circuits.Due to the high cost of vehicles equipped with this $500 RPO JL8 option, there were only 206 of these units produced.
The logo RS striping was used in 1969 only if the option did not contradict a combined option feature. For example, if you purchased the RS/Z28 package, the Z28 special performance features would dominate, and the car would come with decorative rear fender louvers, wheel molding trim strips all around, black step sills, bright accents on the taillights, and if your model was a Sport coupe, this would include trim strips on the roof moldings. The combined packages would sport the RS logo on the grille, rear fenders, and the steering wheel with combinations of the SS, Z28 as possibilities and was designated an RS/SS or as RS/Z28. There were 37,773 Sport coupes made in 1969.
© Dikiiy | Dreamstime.com Chevrolet 1969 Camaro
The basic Z28 option came with the 302-cubic-inch small-block with 11:1 compression, forged pistons, solid lifters, forged steel crankshaft, and forged connecting rods. There would also be a Holley carburetor mounted on the duel plane intake. However, dealers could give the engine a boost with two four-barrel carburetors on the crossram intake manifold if the customer opted for it. This engine bolted to a Muncie four-speed standard transmission and, new for ’69, featured the Hurst shift kit. The rearend was a 12-bolt style and contained 3.73 gearing. There were design problems that delayed the production of the new-generation 1970 models until November ’69, so there were many 1969 models sold as 1970 versions although the VIN is a 1969 number.
© Sigurbjornragnarsson | Dreamstime.com 1969 Chevrolet Camaro
The Central Office Production Order (COPO) Camaro with the numbers 9560 and 9561 were available for the 1969 model year. The edict issued to the Chevy Division was that no engines of greater than 400-cubic-inch displacement would be installed on any Chevy model. Don Yenko, a race driver turned dealer, found a way to avoid this by using the fleet order forms which, in the normal course of events, were meant for taxi cabs, trucks, rental units etc.
© Steirus | Dreamstime.com 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, Official Pace Car
He used this system to order and then install, as a dealer option the 427-cubic-inch power plants. The COPO 9561 used a solid lifter big-block L72 engine with an underrated 425 hp (317 kW). Some other dealers also became wise to this idea; as a result, there were somewhere between 900 and 1,000 of the L72 engine sold retail in the 1969 model year.
Some of the COPOs were the “9560” engine too, and this was the all-aluminum block ZL-1, which was specifically designed for drag racing, and we can thank Dick Harnell, a drag driver, for formulating the idea. He ordered his ZL-1 in Illinois at the Fred Gibb dealership in La Harpe for use in the NHRA Super Stock series. Building just one ZL-1 engine involved some 16 man hours of labor, which they did under almost surgically clean conditions at the Chevrolet plant in Tonawanda, New York. There were only 69 of this engine ordered in the 1969 model year with a hefty price tag of $4,000 for the engine alone, almost double the price of the base coupe 302 engine, but it did develop a rated horsepower of 433 although when in the basic installed condition the ZL-1 delivered an actual 376 net hp and then, if it received some tuning modifications and a low back pressure exhaust system installed, the engine could produce more than 500 actual horsepower.
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To celebrate Mopar brand’s 80-year history, Dodge will display an anniversary edition Mopar ‘17 Dodge Challenger at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show. Only 160 of these midsize sporty cars in a choice of two custom paint jobs will be produced.
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