Another very cool Muscle Car Fan Member story from
Your Muscle Car Story
It was about 4 years ago while checking out some local car ads when I came across and ad about a 1970 Ford Galaxie. The pictures shown were of a car that was barely recognizable because of the terrible photo's. It peaked my interest so I gave the number a call. It so happens that the car was a 1970 Ford XL that was being sold by the original owner. It had been put away for the last 16 years and he was ready to let it go. We talked some more and I found out that it had the original 429 4 barrel engine in it...in fact the car was completely original except for a paint job done sometime in the 1980's. It had the horseshoe shifter, high bucket seats, C-6 transmission, horn blow steering wheel etc. It was actually outfitted as a 1969 Ford XL-Gt would have been.
It was located about 2 hours away but I still made the trip the next day. When I pulled up to the house, there it sat in all it's glory. It looked amazing for a car that had been sitting around for the last 15 years and it was starting to steal my heart. I could see it's amazing potential and really, where do you find a car like this and buy it from the original owner..I had to buy it.
We settled on a great price and because I traveled 2 hours to see it, I couldn't take her home that day as I couldn't obviously drive both cars but the owner happily agreed to drive it to me the next day.
Over the last few year I have had the engine rebuilt to factory specs, changed the gears and really just prettied it. I added Magnum 500 wheels, some cool striping and a functional scoop on the hood.
It is a big and beautiful car that is now my summer daily driver as well as my track warrior on the weekends (14 second car). This is a rare, underappreciated full size Ford that you don't see often (1640 XL's made in 1970) but when I get in it, there is no way anyone could wipe the smile off my face. That's my Ford barn find story. Cheers!
The 4.0-inch bore family 1962-1998
The 302 continued
For the 1968/69 racing seasons, Mark Donohue was a winner driving a 302-powered Chevy in the Trans-Am championships. The stroke/bore and the rod/stroke geometries make the 302 a natural for high RPM and racing as well as a very dependable street driving power plant. All components used in the Trans-Am had manufacturer production part numbers and had to be available to purchase at authorized dealerships. However, the 302, at its height, from 1968 until 1976 ran in SCCA Formula 5000 Championship series in the open-wheel class for a lower cost.
These engines, built up by Traco Engineering, Al Bartz, and Falconer and Dunn, saw use around the world, but particularly in New Zealand and Australia where the 302 outperformed the Repco-Holden V8 power plant. The head and block weighs around 1350 pounds while producing 525 to 550 horsepower with the five-speed, magnesium trans-axle, 10x13-inch tires in front with 20x15-inch on the rear. Mounted on magnesium wheels, the 302 was a formidable opponent on the Aussie tracks.
The Holden with this engine would do 0-60 in 2.8 seconds and attain a top speed of 180 mph in the process. Racer Bruce Allison said that “during the races in the ’70s, they would never start in first gear; the car had too much torque.They would always start in second and, producing high torque up to third and fourth gear, it was difficult not to make the tires spin.” These cars were for racing with a Lucas-McKay mechanically timed fuel injection system on the intake, bolted to ported double-hump cast-iron heads, a rev-kit to fit the roller lift cam, roller bearing rocker arms, and a stock-production crankshaft. The 302 engine had lasting impact on the U.S. racing circuits with its high count of front-finishing cars as well as a high degree of success on the international Grand Prix circuits, driven by legendary drivers like Jody Scheckter, Mario Andretti, David Hobbs, and Brian Redman.
The 327-cubic-inch (5.35L) V8 engine made its first appearance in 1962. The engine with its 4.0-inch bore and a 3.25-inch stroke has a range of from 210hp (157 kW) up to 375hp (280 kW), depending on depending on which carburetor and/or fuel injection, as well as the choice of cylinder heads, pistons, and intake manifold. For 1962, with a solid lifter cam made by Duntov, the 327, with one Carter four-barrel carburetor, can develop 340hp (254kW) producing 344 lbs.-ft. (466 N-m) of torque, but if you picked the Rochester mechanical fuel-injected version, the hp bumped up to 360 ((268 kW), and the injection upped the torque to 352 lbs.-ft. (477 N-m).
The 327 L-76 version, offering 365 hp (272 kW) in the carbureted model became available in the 1964 model year while the L-84 fuel-injected engine could give up to 375hp (280 kW). The naturally aspirated L-84 V8 is the most powerful small-block in the GM arsenal until the third generation LS6 in 2001 surpassed it by developing 385hp (287 kW). A big change in the 1968/69 model year for the 327 occurred when the main journal increased from 2.30 inches (58.4 mm) to 2.45 (62.2 mm).
The 327-cubic-inch L-79 engine is the stuff legends are made of but is nothing more than an L-76 with the 2.02 Corvette heads with the solid lifter Duntov cam replaced with the #151 hydraulic cam and 11.0:1 forged pistons, and forged push rods; it also sports a forged crankshaft. This 327 350hp power plant can perform in the same arena as a lot of the big-blocks with pleasing results. Checker offers the 327 optionally for ’66, and the Studebaker Avanti II was also powered by the 327 and its siblings. In 1968, Holden Australia also imported the 327.
As a classic muscle car enthusiast, it can be frustrating trying to own your dream car while on a tight budget. However, maybe the problem is that you are looking for in the wrong places. Here are some of the best drivable, interesting and more importantly, affordable classic muscle cars.
1970-1971 Ford Torino GT and Mercury Cyclone GT
The redesigning of Ford’s mid-size cars in 1970 did not get the response they were hoping. Experts claim that maybe they spent more time in NASCAR promoting the 69 model thus neglecting the newer model. However, the '70 and '71 models clearly had better interior and power; packing an impressive 250-hp, 351-cubic-inch (5.8 Litre) V-8 Engine.
1969 Pontiac GTO and 1973-76 Pontiac Trans Am
Featuring a colonnade style body, these mid-size cars were the last traditional mid-size GTO. Most of the builds packed a 230-hp, 400-cubic inch 6.6L V-8 with an optional 7.5L. However the squishy-nosed Grand Am became more popular, offering a sedan and coupe variation at a fair price.
1978 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400 WS6
Late 70's saw the influx of Trans Am prices though the less flashy Formula lagged behind. However, in 1978, the Formula introduced a 220-hp true Pontiac 400 6.6L V-8 model. Additionally, the WS6 handling package with four-wheel disc brakes and the stunning snowflake along wheels set it apart as a flashy yet affordable option.