Books. Bikes. Boomsticks.
Vobis Non Me Dux.
I have to say, the new Challenger is what the new Charger should have been. It's closer to the classic Charger than the new Charger.
Agreed! I prefer the new Charger over the new Camaro, too.
Everyone knows George Washington drove a 65 GTO.Henry Light Horse Harry Lee drove the 70 Challenger.Little Jimmie Madison drove the Hemi CudaDid you all sleep thru history class?Gerry
God, what I wouldn't give to be able to buy a 65 charger fastback for under $4k.
og,My ex had a '66 in the garage. He was the 2nd owner. His dad was the 1st.I wonder if he ever got around to restoring it?
That was the dream of all the kids my age. You could plant a 426 hemi under the hood, couple it to that 833 4 speed, lay waste to everyone on the block, and fold down the back seats for a stabbin' cabin on wheels. Of course, you had to carry a spare set of points in the glove box, and god forbid you splash water on the engine, and the one and only Mopar radiator was sized for a 318, which meant it was too much cooling for a six and not nearly enough for a 426.What an amazing ride that was, though. Truly the golden age of American iron. Damn Jimmy Carter. Damn him all to hell.
og, I gotta dissagree. As much as I like the lines of the cars from the 60's and early 70's better, NOW is the good old days of american iron. That tank of a Challenger you see there? Bolt on a supercharger to that block, add fuel, and your good for over 700hp, no other mods. Stock exhaust and everything. There is a shop that built one, drove it across the country, ran a bunch of loooow ten second passes, then drove it back. The Corvette has over 400 hp, and can get close to 30mpg, and is rated as a ULEV. The new Mustang with an itty bitty 302 (Screw that 5 liter nonsense) runs high 12's outta the box, and low 12's with tires. And still gets over 20 mpg and can play on the road course with BMW M3's (if you get better tires). There are minivans that can outrun some of the musclecars from the 60's. The only problem with cars today is the restriction caused by ridiculous safety standards that demand that itty bitty cars survive high speed impacts with giant SUVs. Safety means exotic materals, or more mass from common metal, which is why cars have bloated so much. Gimme todays tech with half the safety and 1/3 less weight, I'll take my chances!Addendum: And the glory days extend to bikes too! The new Bimmer sportbike has 180hp and tration control! Weeeeeeeeee!
Sigh. Being a young'un really sucks sometimes. The 1980s and 1990s cars that were new when I was growing up just don't shriek "classic American muscle!" despite their best, pathetic efforts.
"og, I gotta dissagree"Sure, newer cars are faster. Easier to maintain. Run better longer, more reliably. And they are like democrats, they have no souls. Trust me: In 40 years, not one person will long for the 2010 Challenger.
Oh, and a normally aspirated producton model Charger Daytona in 1969 had 425 horsepower, with 490 foot lbs of torque. Supercharged? over 900 horsepower. You could snap axles off of them, and the driveshafts had to be strengthened. And when you sat in that hot vinyl with that pointy, chrome plated dashboard looking at your flesh like dinner, you knew that a moderately small mistake would paint your entrails on the pavement for a good half mile before the wreck came to a screeching halt and burst into flames. yes, new cars are more reliable and do more. They damned sure don't do 40 years of engineering more, though. It's as if we went from 1966 right to 2006, and the intervening forty years were an automotive nothing. Cars should be able to fly now.
Jimmy Carter had as much to do with the demise of Real American Cars as Yobama has to do with the Gulf oil blowout (conspiracy theories aside). Both deserve our scorn, and neither had a clue of what to do, but they didn't *cause* these particular boondoggles.By the time Jimmah got there in early '77 Detroit had devolved (admittedly under duress from SOMEbody at .gov) to pumping out a 4000 lb. '74 Gran Torino with 302 ci that wouldn't get out of its own way even while sucking up gas to the tune of 8 mpg (it was my first brand new car; what disappointment for a boy who grew up slobbering on mid-60's automotive art)...and *GAG* Mustang II's, the picture pony of what "regulation" and a spineless industry can do to perfection in a single decade.Add the Big Oil Shortage and hours-long gas lines in the same year, let it all fester for a year or two, and you have the makings of the meltdown of an industry. Little Jimmy was as puzzled and clueless about any of that as he was about...well, everything else. But he didn't cause it.What fixed it? Why, the Reagan Revolution of course (yeah, oversimplification, but I've been looking longingly at the world through Ronnie-colored glasses lately). Too bad there's not another RR waiting in the wings to sop up the mega-mess that the brand-new but not improved version of Carter is in the process of mis- and mal-handling.AT
Sarah,"Sigh. Being a young'un really sucks sometimes. The 1980s and 1990s cars that were new when I was growing up just don't shriek "classic American muscle!" despite their best, pathetic efforts."Yeah, the new cars of the '70s and '80s, when I was growing up, were lackluster, to say the least.On the upside, late-'60s and early-'70s sleds were just cheap used cars when I was in high school. My first car in '85 was a '74 351-cid Gran Torino with less than 60k miles for which I paid the princely sum of $650 of grocery-bagging and babysitting money.(Filling that 20-gallon tank which was drained to the tune of 8 mpg was a chore at $1+/gal when I was making $3.15/hr!)
Og,"Sure, newer cars are faster. Easier to maintain. Run better longer, more reliably. And they are like democrats, they have no souls. Trust me: In 40 years, not one person will long for the 2010 Challenger."We are blinded by our perceptions. The kid in the 2023 Prius will pine for the rorty rumble of a '10 Challenger the way you and I do for its carburetted ancestors.
Jeff,"og, I gotta dissagree. As much as I like the lines of the cars from the 60's and early 70's better, NOW is the good old days of american iron."This. So very this.As much as I love the old muscle cars, the fact that new ones kick sand in their faces in anything you can measure with a yardstick or a stopwatch is undeniable.I had a street car that would run deep thirteens in street trim and, with a bit of fiddling and some slicks, could crack into the twelves at the track, and it was an ill-tempered beast. Loud. No A/C. All the sound deadening and the carpeting and the back seat and the radio ripped out. You needed to squirt ether down the Holley double-pumper to start it on really cold mornings, and the race-ready Modine radiator meant it took forever to warm up, and it balked and spat until it did… And there is probably double handful of cars on dealership lots these days that would smoke it at the drag strip with the air running and the iPod blaring.On the other hand, you can't measure the sound of air being sucked through eight carburettor throats while the skinny bias-plies turn to blue haze with a yardstick or a stopwatch. The only tape measure you can use is your soul, and that's a hard thing to plug into a spreadsheet... ;)
"...My first car in '85 was a '74 351-cid Gran Torino with less than 60k miles..."Oh God, you poor soul.You had a Cleveland.And 2-tons of ugly to haul around, too.Tell me, did it lunch the mains and cam bearings right before, or after, you purchased her?Sorry, couldn't resist.I used to lurves me those Clevelands in my yoot, but that was about the same time the 5.0 started catching the aftermarket bug, ushering in modern head designs that the Cleveland just couldn't compete with. Been squarely back in the Windsor camp since.Yes, you are right, the good 'ole days are now.
"We are blinded by our perceptions"I suppose. Still, you're comparing apples and squid, talking about a prius and a challenger. The Challenger and the charger are still both cars. There are, I suppose, people who pine after vegas and pintos and nash ramblers too. I like very much the idea of getting into my car and just- well, driving it, but like your eight carbs sucking birds out of the sky to feed it's growly heart, I remember driving down the old lakeshore drive in a Maserati Type 61 in the wee hours of the morning, the maserati's owner caressing the inside of my thigh with some vehemence, the webers screaming and the bias tires folding under as I cornered. The woman, the car, the speed, the pre-reconstruction LSD all frightened me so badly I thought my testicles would retract. I never felt so afraid nor alive. If they make a car anything like that today, it's the Ariel Atom. Women like that, and of course, the old LSD, are gone forever. Along with the innocence I still had, then. Thanks, Tam, for stirring up that old memory. Today sucks a little less, now.
The thing I think there is agreement on is that modern cars handle and brake much better than the 60 and 70's versions.My 1970 puke green Camero was hell on wheels in a straight line but did have a tendency to have the trunk pass the hood on a windy road. I almost bought a Challenger but the trunk barely held a map.My wifes beloved 1970 Mustang had 10 degrees of play in the tugboat steering wheel.I could keep both of them running without using anything more electronic than a timing light. Gerry
I have to admit that the first thing I thought was, "What Revolutionary War battle took place amid pines and sagebrush?"Didn't they have the budget to film this at Yorktown?
There's something to be said about the sound and feel of an old muscle car that you just don't get today. Listening to the blub-blub (pause) blub blub blub (pause) blub blub blub of a loping engine makes that voice in your head say "go ahead, just push the gas in a little... mwaa haa haaa"
Gerry,"The thing I think there is agreement on is that modern cars handle and brake much better than the 60 and 70's versions."They accelerate harder and go faster, too.To pull a number out of the nearest car mag (C&D, 6/10) the current V-6 Mustang will run a quarter in fourteen flat. That's the 6-banger secretarymobile version. The 5-liter GT is in the deep thirteens.You can count the number of factory cars from the glory days of Detroit that would reliably run in the thirteens, bone-stock, on two hands, maybe with fingers left over.
The new Bimmer...Beemer. The bikes are beemers.Bimmirs are cars.I fix a '77 airhead and occasionally get to ride it. I gotta admit, I didn't think going inline 4 against the Japanese with their 30 year head start was a good move for BMW. They seem to be keeping up though!
I love to see those old TV shows with chase-scenes an' commercials like that one right there - where elephantine cars go wallowing around a corner spraying sand everywhere and pointing in six different directions, or go through a teeny dip in the road and they buck and oscillate like a wannabee hipster on Soul Train. But I didn't get into cars until I was graduating from college, I couldn't afford one and rode a pedal bike.
The Dodge Boys!The Dodge Boys!Wonderful guys to deal withWonderful guys to knowSo wherever you are Get into your carCome in and save some dough!I still have a Dodge boys button somewhere from a car show.My my, a long time ago!
og, don't throw 60's hp numbers out like they mean anything *grin* Plus you prove my point with the axle snapping bit. The new Challenger will run 9's WITHOUT snapping the axles, or any drivetrain mods besides some slicks. The best thing you can do to an old musclecar is stick some new iron under the hood and non-squishy suspension underneath it, ala the G-machine and lateral-g guys. The style form the 60's, performence of today. And if you want some raw, street muscle, you can do it. These are some local guys, almost all the cars are garage built, and all are 10 second or faster. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1piXUXtYH5g(hope I got the right vid, cant see you-tube at work)
"og, don't throw 60's hp numbers out like they mean anything *grin*"yep. By all means, compare "old" horsepower to "new" horsepower. Axle snapping was a measure of raw torque, and the quality of the materials available at the time, and differential designs made to deal with 96 horsepower. New cars don't snap any The best thing you can do to an old musclecar is to leave it the fuck alone. There are, as Tam has so amply illustrated, people who appreciate the soul that they contain. Want speed? All cars are slow, get in a jet. Want gadgets? buy a Wii. Want reliability? Buy a modern car. Want to have your soul tingle? drive a 60's musclecar. You can, for not a lot of money, buy a motorcycle that will make the hottest supercar cry. You can park your ass behind the wheel of a race-ready Subaru WRX sti that will out-everything almost everything out there. And it looks like a buttock and has no soul.
Speaking of snapped axles, I did own a used '65 Plymouth Barracudathat looked like this, with the big glass canopy and all in the back -- sometime in the late 80's. It had a 225 slant-six so I never found out about horsepower - but real Detroit Iron®, the tiny deck lid in back was so heavy it would slam itself closed if you let go of while open only four inches. They could have recycled that car into three Toyotas but there wouldn't be enough plastic for the Jap cars.It saved my life when a lady in a Taurus wagon crossing full-tilt against a red light hit me and broke the front axle, put a crease all the way down to the tail-light, and pushed me across three lanes of traffic in the rain. I was without a scratch but the car was totaled - so was the Taurus wagon.
Buddy of mine, still on active, out on a float right now, doing a dog and pony show in Africa, actually I think he's headed up Baltic-wards now, he picked himself up a '70 GTO.He asked me for advice when he was thinking about it, he was torn between a new GTO and the '70 GTO. I'm a practical, boring guy: I told him to get the new one. He took my advice for what it was worth, and got the '70.Last year I went out to visit him at Camp Swampy (the one in NC). Sure, the '70 had to idle for about five minutes before we started to roll. Sure, it coughed a couple of times when it started up. Sure, it didn't have A/C or a stereo.When I sat in it, though---much less when I drove that bad boy---I remembered the line from the crippled mechanic in "The Road Warrior." "Last of the V-8 interceptors!"Last of the V-8 interceptors!We rumbled and bumbled and fumbled on down the road. Steering was a bit twitchy. Handling was nothing to brag about. I didn't light up the tires, except, umm, once, and that was accidental-like, I swear.I was following my buddy home from the bar (him driving his jeep), and was stopped at a light just off the main drag. A captain rolled up in a new 'Vette, and the look on his face was . . . just like the commercial . . . priceless.The look on his face was lust and envy, the kind the Russians call "white envy" to mean "just damn that's cool" and not "I'd kill you for that car" and appreciation and the drop in his jaw was just from the sheer awesomeness of the '70 GTO, rumbling and bumbling and fumbling there at the stoplight.Better cars today? Sure, I surely do agree. Better in almost every way. But damn. Just damn.I think Tam actually used a good comparison, a few posts back. (Tam's good like that, ya dig?) She was comparing the Blue Angels and the Horsemen in their P-51s. That '70 GTO is a P-51. It ain't near the plane the F/A18 Hornet is. Then again, in it's own way, the P-51 is MUCH MORE plane than the Hornet.
Og,"yep. By all means, compare "old" horsepower to "new" horsepower..."You know better than this. ;)"BHP" in the old days of SAE Gross meant "brochure horse power".
lol. Actually, it meant "Brake horsepower", and the term is still used in engineering, measured by a DeProny brake, at the power source. By all means, though, compare away. Because SAE/BHP was measured at the engine and not at the wheels, it is no less legitimate. Park a new "hot" engine on a De Prony brake, or park an "Old" car on a dynamometer. The De prony brake is still used at a wide range of speeds to determine the optimal output of an engine under multiple conditions. Depending on the vehicle and the engine, the effective hp as measured at the engine vs the output of the wheels is less about the engine than the efficiency of the drivetrain, due to better gear technology and synthetic lubricants. No, an efficient drivetrain will not add HP to an engine, but neither does delivered HP at the pavement determine the speed of a car, it's weight and tires and suspension and driver determine that. Modern cars have more sophisticated suspensions and more engineering has gone into weight distribution. yes, i do know much better than that, which is why I said what I did. If you compare modern "super" engines to old ones using the same equipment, you will be quite surprised what you find. I have done.
Still: Bottomline, I like "Drive" cars. I yearn for "fun" cars, though I can no longer afford the maintenance OR the wear and tear on me fixing them.
Tam - do you think that hairstyle will make a comeback?
Born in '72 to a family distinctly lacking in a passion for cars, I've never owned anything like the old muscle cars - I wasn't into them enough to know which 'cheap' ones were worth getting, and which ones to stay away from. I couldn't afford a lot of repair/restore work, or a lot of gas. So I ended up with a 1985 Honda CRX. No HF (yay), no Si (boo), just a plain-jane silver over black 1.3l two-seater.God, how I loved that car. Horsepower was laughably low,but it weighed almost nothing. Power brakes, manual steering, 5-speed, it was almost perfect. I blew more than one paycheck to put the best Pirellis I could possibly justify on it, and that car cornered so well it frightened me; I wasn't confident enough to push it anywhere near its limits.It died in a nasty accident more than 10 years ago, doing its safety job quite well as I slid into an existing wreck at about 50 mph on a city-block length of black, black ice.I miss that car something fierce. The stately Avalon and supremely useful Odyssey are perfect for my married with 3 kids life now, but still...We are blinded by our perceptions.As Tam says, 'This.'
If you want Instant Angst, try being passed by a CLEAN '84 TransAm... with antique plates.And I'm the guy that's had a '71 Nova for thirty years.
Noah D: In discussing above the mid-70's death of American iron due to govreg, corporate moribundity, and the oil "crisis", I left out the fourth deadly factor: the Jap invasion got serious. Toyota and Datsun (Nissan) led the charge, and Honda was transitioning from four-wheeled motorcycles into real cars. The CVCC engine (it's where the name "civic" came from) was extremely efficient and trouble-free, and became the basis for both the Civic itself and what was to become America's number one selling car a few years later, the Accord. But what really got my attention, and stole me and many of my peers away from Detroit was the CRX that you owned. The Si version was the original "Pocket Rocket"; it was positively awesome, and single-handedly set me on a two-decade binge of Japanese efficiency.I was ragged-on quite a bit as a traitor, but truth to tell I believe it was the Japanese invasion and the efficiency and robotics that they pioneered that eventually made the US nameplates realize it was re-do or die. I've since developed a taste for Kraut-built RWD, but the Accords and Camrys that so capably moved my family around, and most especially that little '84 blue-with-red-and-white-pinstripes (a little ironic American patriotism) CRX have a very warm and toasty spot in my bank of automotive memories.AT
I do have a soft spot for this one. It looks like the car is getting away from the helicopter... because it is.As for Dodge, I'll buy a Charger when it comes with five hubcaps.Jim
So why did the BHO Government-owned "People's Industry formerly known as Chrysler" NOT mention the THREE things the Former United States of America is known for in its Politically Correct Ad? Cars, Freedom, and GUNS! Gotta learn to read between the lines when studying the Propaganda being put out nowadays, friends. P.S. 1st car, 68 Newport, 2nd car, 67 Newport, 3rd car, 67 Newport, then OPEC and JImmy Carter took my big highway cruisers away ( like Sammy sang, "I CAN"T DRIVE 55!"), and its been downhill ever since.
I don't care what kind of styling it may have, it's still a modern Chrysler product. And I have spent waaaay too much time inventing new swear words while working on those poorly designed/ indifferntly built bits of junk.In fact, how is it that no matter what part you need to replace in a chrysler, you have to remove about half of the car just to get to it.And my favorite thing about classic cars- engine compartments you can just about camp out in. And fewer bits that can go wrong!WV-Bableung: the capitol of Suthern Meso-Po-Taimeeya
But Les, when's the last time you saw guns in a car ad? At least they put a shit load of 'em in there!Of all the '60s cars I had, I don't think any of them would qualify as a muscle car. I swapped a 302 2bbl into my '66 Ranchero, and a 4spd. A 500cfm Holley 2 bbl (#4412) made it a tire smoking bike hauler. Swapped a 348 (w block?) into my 62 SS Impala, with a 4spd Muncie. Had to run a quart of ATF in the oil to keep the lifters from collapsing. My '60, '61 ragtop, and '63 Impala all had 283/Powerglide setups. My '65 Mustang Fastback 2+2 had a 302 2bbl and original 4spd/2.80 rear. (got 33mpg! at 55mph- only rated 170hp)
Well the Hot Rod Nationals are in town this weekend. Power Tour was here last week. Corvette still made here.It is nice to live in an OPEC friendly town.Gerry
Mostly, I'd prefer to slap a modern engine in my old, early 70's muscle cars.Man, that was quite the hairstyle that lady was sporting.
"Because SAE/BHP was measured at the engine and not at the wheels, it is no less legitimate..."No sir, not exactly.The old gross rating was determined by testing the engine on the dyno with NO power-robbing accessories on the engine. NONE. No alternator, no water pump (a separate pump was installed) and no A/C.The net rating, beginning in '72 I believe, was used because of a mandate by the Feds to give a more realistic advertised rating to the general public, for whatever that was worth.
...and frequently straight pipes and nice, cool, dense air.The 426 Hemi would probably make ~400 horsepower in today's terms (That 425 SAE gross number was as far underrated as most Chevies were overrated.) By comparison, the 376-cid V-8 in the new Camaro SS makes 426. Net.
The 426 Hemi probably actually put down about 470 bhp, according to most sources. So yeah, SAE (especially with older, higher drag accessories) would be 400 ish. But if you look at its acceleration:Compare with a Car Life test of a '69 Dodge Charger R/T with 426-Hemi, 4-speed manual and 3.54:1 gears:0-30 mph--------------- N.A.0-60 mph--------------- 5.7 secs1/4 mile----------------- 13.9@104 mphThat 1/4 mile time is within striking distance of some minivans and cute utes. It has a lot of stuff working against it, bias ply tires, meh clutches, suspension made of twizlers and pretzels, so the engine is nowhere near its potential. Plus it is sucking up gas at about the same rate as if you just poured it in with a coffee can. It comes down to schools of thought, really, same as with guns. There are folks that pick up an older 1911 or an AR, never touch a thing and have it serviced by the manufacture and have a great time shooting it. Or the ones that immediately start swapping parts out to make it fit them better. What really matters though is that they are being used for the intended purpose. This does make an interesting comparison though, as it implies that the ijits that load a billion useless accessories onto their weapons are the "ricers" of the firearm world.
Going to Net HP may have been a response to the big 3 sandbagging on HP numbers for insurance coverage, and better classes in NHRA dragracing. My '71 Mustang with the 429 SCJ package was factory rated at 375 HP (which got me a 20% insurance surcharge for "excessive HP"), but NHRA calculated it to be at least a hundred hp higher. That car required slicks to put it to the pavement. At Fremont Raceway (CA) it would spin the street tires all the way to the lights, on just the primaries of the rather small factory Holley. With the factory 4.11 Detroit Locker (massive 31 spline axles), and the Fairbank's modified factory C6 auto trans, that translated to mid 14's. At ATCO in NJ, slicks would drop that to flat 11's. The next owner put a larger Holley and custom Hooker Headers on it, which he stated made it nearly undriveable on the street (he wrecked it). It was embarrassing on the track with street tires. That was the same times that 351 Torino's were getting.
A friend in high school had a '65 GTO with the tri-power 389 and 4spd. Previous owner had set a national record in NHRA with a 12.29. Can't recall the speed. Think it lowered the record by a second, but it passed a teardown inspection. That thing would eat the 4 bbl 389's for lunch. He traded it in on a new '71 Nova, they allowed him $1100 value. I found out after the fact. Bummed.
Will,Gears made a lot of difference. My Monza had a relatively tall rear end (3.08? It's been a while...) and so it took a lot of motor to put it in the twelves. And even with that steep gearing, you had to drive it out of the hole on street tires. I went across more than one intersection completely sideways when I got overeager with the throttle. :D
Tam, for whatever reason, that Mustang would track straight, for me at least, even spinning the tires at 108mph going through the traps. Not so much for the last(?) owner, as he put it into a guard rail while spinning them in high gear. Hmmm, guy I bought it from did something similar, except it was a tree at unknown speed, but same left front corner.Can't say the same for my '57 Chevy ragtop with the who-knows how big BBC. Started life as a low hp 396 in a '68 Chevelle, and had some serious money/effort added to make it a real sleeper, as long as it wasn't running. It was seriously scary sounding then! Well, to a competitor :p It was a two year old repo when I got the engine out of it. That thing would spin both tires, even with an open rear 3.55 (or 3.70-long time ago!). Even with a set of 9" stiff wall slicks. Brought to mind that song (Beach Boys?) "get pushed out of shape, and it's hard to steer, when I get rubber in all 4 gears". I suspect that ragtop was twisting it's chassis/body pretty badly, as it had enough HP to yank the front wheels off the ground shifting second. Had to run it on Sunoco 260 (108 octane), and got maybe 2mpg. That BB Mustang got 5mpg around town, and about 11mpg on the freeway.I could never get anyone to race me at the So Philly streetraces on Fri and Sat nights. That engine scared off everyone. Think it might have reminded them of another '57, a sedan, that no one ever beat. THAT car was impressive, although it was towed to the races, not street driven. My engine's idle was so radical, that it shook the car side to side. It was frustrating, that it scared off others. Nothing I could do to make it less obvious.And my previous car? A '62 Alfa Romeo Julietta Spider :D
Will,The problem with the Monza, as my mechanic noted, was "too much motor, not enough car". I think that the race-spec 327 twisted that little unibody enough, Panhard rod and posi or no, to set the ass-end to swinging.It had the same problem getting races you mentioned. The windows were tinted enough to keep the stripped racecar interior from being immediately obvious, but the lumpy cam made the radio antenna (left on for camouflage) sway like a buggy whip quite noticeably at idle and you can't hide the clatter of solid lifters.You couldn't get a street race with a serious competitor in your weight class, but there was always some kid with an IROC or Five-Oh LX who was sure he couldn't get beaten by a girl, and that kept Saturday nights in the lonely office parks fun and profitable. :D
Tam, All the artful engine camouflage done by the original builder was wasted by being in a '57. It was totally sprayed in rattle can orange, including the chrome valve covers and the plug wires. Except the carb, which was painted gold! That was done to hi-lite the fact it was a Quadrajet. Up 'til then, I didn't know they could be tuned for performance, but someone knew what they were doing.That low-rise iron intake was internally hogged out to match the runners of the 435hp 'Vette intake manifolds, and the only gasket set that would fit was the Mr Gasket brand. It looked like the manifold had been sectioned and then welded back together. When I got home with the first gasket set from the Chevy dealership, and pulled the top end, the only thing that matched up was the boltholes. The round port holes were way smaller than the rectangular ports. Same problem when I exchanged them for the 'Vette gaskets. Had to order them from the local speedshop. I had pulled the heads due to a dropped valve at idle. Half the valvesprings were broken. Fortunately, the valve wasn't bent, as they didn't match anything Chevy had, either. I think that was the first engine I had the heads off, so I was very much a noob, and didn't really know what I was looking at. Educational, though.
Friend of my dad used to race a '68 Hemi Dart at National Trail outside Columbus. The torque cracked the roof on either side.My dad was a small-block guy. His last motor (circa 1962-63) was a 283 bored .60 over (making it a 292) with 13:1(!) pistons, a Racer Brown cam, and a Hilborn. Potential record-holder at the time, but he never quite got the Hilborn sorted. He used to swap out the stock Chevy rear end for Olds in his race cars; said they were harder to break.The first family car I remember was a '64 Impala SS, midnight blue, 409 4-speed.
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