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American Muscle

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posted on Apr, 8 2017 @ 11:01 PM
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In 1920 the United States entered a period of prohibition that lasted until 1933. The demand for illegally produced liquor sky-rocketed. The increased demand meant more bootleggers and a higher chance of being caught during the illegal liquor sales. In attempts to increase their success rate, the bootleggers began modifying their cars in ways that would give them a great advantage over law-enforcement and gangs that supported prohibition.

In 1933, when prohibition ended, the illegal liquor trade was much less lucrative. Many of the bootleggers turned to racing their cars and these races would eventually become the foundation for modern "stock-car" racing, also known as NASCAR.

The efforts of the bootleggers was further legitimized when, in 1949, Oldsmobile released what is considered to be the first production American muscle car; the Rocket 88. Just a few short years later other car manufacturers had gotten into the game and released their own version of performance vehicles.

Before they were known as "muscle cars" they were generally called supercars.


In the United States, lightweight cars featuring high-performance engines were termed "supercar" before the classification of muscle car became popular. For example, the 1957 Rebel's "potent mill turned the lightweight Rambler into a veritable supercar."

"From the mid-sixties to the mid-seventies, what we now think of as muscle cars were more commonly called 'Supercars,' often (though not always) spelled with a capital S." This term described the "dragstrip bred" affordable mid-size cars of the 1960s and early 1970s that were equipped with large, powerful V8 engines and rear-wheel-drive. "In 1966, the supercar became an official industry trend" as the four domestic automakers "needed to cash in on the supercar market" with eye-catching, heart-stopping cars. Examples of the use of the supercar description for the early muscle models include the May 1965 Car Life road test of the Pontiac GTO along with how "Hurst puts American Motors into the Supercar club with the 390 Rogue" (the SC/Rambler) to fight in "the Supercar street racer gang" market segment. Moreover, the "SC" in the model name stood for "SuperCar".

The supercar market segment in the U.S. at the time included special versions of regular production models that were positioned in several sizes and market segments (such as the "economy supercar"), as well as limited edition, documented dealer-converted vehicles. However, the supercar term by that time "had been diluted and branded with a meaning that did not respect the unique qualities of the 'muscle car'."


Muscle cars took another step when manufacturers began producing "race-track ready" models. These cars came from the factory ready to hit the drag-strip with little to no modification and compete with other racers. Several of these models have become the most sought after collectible cars in the world.


Ford built 200 lightweight Ford Galaxies for drag racing in 1963. All non-essential equipment was omitted. Modifications included fiberglass panels, aluminum bumpers, traction bars, and a competition-specification 427 cu in (7.0 L) engine factory rated at a conservative 425 hp (317 kW; 431 PS). This full-size car could run the quarter mile in a little over 12 seconds. Also built in 1963 were 5,000 road-legal versions that could be used as every day drivers (Ford claimed 0-60 in less than 6 seconds for the similarly powered 1966 Galaxie 500XL 427).

In 1963, General Motors' Chevrolet division produced 57 full-size Impala coupes equipped with option package RPOZ-11, which added $1237.40 to the vehicle base price. They were the only automobiles the division ever built expressly for drag racing. The package included a specially modified W series 409 engine, now displacing 427 cubic inches, and was officially rated at 430 bhp (321 kW). With a compression ratio of 13.5:1, the engine required high-octane fuel. The RPOZ-11 package had numerous modifications to reduce weight, including aluminum hood, fenders, fan shroud, and bumpers. Sound-deadening material was removed, as were non-essentials such as heater and radio. Other racing features included a two-piece intake manifold, special exhaust manifolds, cylinder heads and pistons, a deep-sump oil pan, and cowl-induction air cleaner. The RPOZ-11 package was discontinued when General Motors ceased involvement in racing in 1964.

The 1964 Dodge 426 Hemi Lightweight produced over 500 bhp (373 kW). This "top drag racer" had an aluminium hood, lightweight front bumpers, fenders, doors and lower valance, magnesium front wheels, lightweight Dodge van seat, Lexan side windows, one windshield wiper, and no sun visors or sound deadening. Like other lightweights of the era, it came with a factory disclaimer: Designed for supervised acceleration trials. Not recommended for general everyday driving because of the compromises in the all-round characteristics which must be made for this type of vehicle.

Also too "high-strung" for the street was Chrysler’s small-volume-production 1965 drag racer, the 550 bhp (410 kW) Plymouth Satellite 426 Hemi. Although the detuned 1966 version (the factory rating underestimated it at 425 bhp (317 kW)) has been criticized for poor brakes and cornering, Car and Driver described it as "the best combination of brute performance and tractable street manners we've ever driven." The car's understated appearance belied its performance: it could run a 13.8-second quarter mile at 104 mph (167 km/h). Base price was $3,850.

Likewise, Chevrolet eschewed flamboyant stripes for their 1969 Chevelle COPO 427. The car could run a 13.3 sec. quarter-mile at108 mph (174 km/h). Chevrolet rated the engine at 425 hp (317 kW), but the NHRA claimed a truer450 hp (340 kW). The 1969 COPO Chevelles were "among the most feared muscle cars of any day. And they didn't need any badges." Base price was US$3,800.

For 1970, Chevrolet offered the Chevelle SS 454, also at a base price of US$3,800. Its 454 cu in (7.4 L) engine was rated at 450 hp (336 kW), the highest factory rating at that time. Car Life magazine wrote: "It's fair to say that the Supercar as we know it may have gone as far as it's going."



Muscle Cars

The muscle car market segment was in high gear "until shifting social attitudes, crippling insurance rates, the Clean Air Act and the fuel crisis removed the cars from the market in the early 1970s." The OPEC oil embargo led to price controls and gasoline rationing, as well as higher prices. "Muscle cars quickly became unaffordable and impractical for many people." The automobile insurance industry also levied surcharges on all high-powered models, an added cost that put many muscle cars out of reach of their intended buyers. Simultaneously, efforts to combat air pollution focused Detroit's attention on emissions control.

The video is from the 2017 Spring Rod Run in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. I hope you like it.

Do you have a favorite muscle car from the video or one from your own past? I'd love to hear about it.


edit on 8-4-2017 by esteay812 because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 8 2017 @ 11:21 PM
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a reply to: esteay812

I remember the 1957 Ford well but for some reason never owned one



posted on Apr, 8 2017 @ 11:34 PM
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a reply to: the2ofusr1

Nice video, thanks!

Could you imagine what it would be like for someone who has only driven late-model cars to jump into one of these old beasts and try to drive it? My bet is that it wouldn't take long before they have a pair of brown shorts.



posted on Apr, 8 2017 @ 11:38 PM
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a reply to: esteay812

I hate NASCAR.

I like what it used to be. Real cars. Real engines. What you could buy straight from the manufacturer, tune it up, and race it yourself.

Now it's all fake. They put stickers on the cars and call them Fords or Chevrolets or ... ugh... Toyotas... but they're not. They're all exactly the same racecar with the same exact engine and body, only the stickers and the paint scheme and the drivers are different. That's fine for what it is, but by definition is no longer "stock car" racing. At least according to it's original definition, not the definition NASCAR came up with to cover their own BS when they stopped using actual stock cars.

I'll always love all the old muscle cars though... however I do have a thing for the wedge-cars of the 80's. In particular, the F-bodies.
edit on 8-4-2017 by Aldakoopa because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 9 2017 @ 12:05 AM
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a reply to: Aldakoopa

Hey, I agree with you completely. I haven't watched a NASCAR race in years. It's more of a circus event than anything to do with what the original form was.

I noticed your avatar. Did you see the Trans Am in the video? It's one of the best I've seen up close.



posted on Apr, 9 2017 @ 01:17 AM
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a reply to: esteay812

American cars. Big growly engines. Sometimes pretty. Rubbish in absolutely every other way.

This is a muscle car.



posted on Apr, 9 2017 @ 01:27 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax

I appreciate your opinion, but I respectfully disagree. That is one hell of a car, but it is no muscle car. There is no way I could ever build or modify anything like that from stock. In my opinion that is a super-car, maybe the most "super" car, but definitely not a muscle car.

What sort of muscle cars did the British produce in the 50's, 60's, and 70's?

On a side note, there was an old Bugatti there, but I wasn't able to get close enough to get any video of it. I'm not sure if it was real or a replica, but it was pretty cool, really old and really small looking.



posted on Apr, 9 2017 @ 01:35 AM
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a reply to: esteay812

I'm not British. But see the AC Cobra. It had an American engine an' all.



posted on Apr, 9 2017 @ 02:23 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax

Sorry for assuming you're British. . . must've been when you said 'rubbish' and linked a Bugatti. Not sure why I thought Bugatti seemed British, must be some of the car's British owners that confused me.

The AC Cobra, that is a masterpiece. Easy to forget that it wasn't built by an American manufacturer. I'd say there are a lot of hobbyists who don't know that. It's easy to think of Carroll Shelby and automatically think American cobra.



posted on Apr, 9 2017 @ 05:19 AM
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There are some nice cars in the video. I have heard stories that back in the day guys could go to car rentals like Hertz and rent a factory "drag" car and spend the weekend at the track and simply return it.

I have had a few muscle cars, although was too young and poor to actually dump the money required into them to make them elite.

'72 Camaro. My favorite, the lines on that car are beautiful too me, the round tail lights. When I bought it we welded in a 455 olds motor and had several motors over the years.

'72 Duster with a 340, that car was fun to drive and handled great

I think also a 72 or 73 Plymouth Satellite. Green and primered, patches welded in, wheels didnt match but the tires did, 400 big block built by a guy who was shown in Hot Rod magazine... Sleeper.... Super fun to drive cuz it was fast. Pretty fast in the 1/4 but top end just seemed to keep climbing....

Family, children and bills pretty much took me out of the car game but now that I getting to retire in a few years I want to build a car, probably a 72 Camaro but build it for top speed of around 200mph. 6 speed manual tranny, 427 maybe twin turbos who knows.



posted on Apr, 9 2017 @ 05:23 AM
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a reply to: esteay812


great work op.
will watch the vid when I'm home from work.

for now though, a mustang fastback is top of my list.

blame Steve McQueen



posted on Apr, 9 2017 @ 07:34 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax

Uhhh....no.

No Bugatti is a muscle car. They are fine performance engines....but are just too compact.

Muscle cars don't mind having a bit of size, offset with HP. My personal opinion is no muscle car can have a computer system in it. That removes all the recent remakes.



posted on Apr, 9 2017 @ 07:40 AM
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a reply to: bigfatfurrytexan

Yeah, like my 1968 dodge dart GT, the closest thing to a computer in that was a digital clock with red glowing numbers.

I stuck that in there because the original clock died and I was using it to deliver pizza, needed the clock to keep track.



posted on Apr, 9 2017 @ 08:01 AM
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My second vehicle was a '71 Maverick with a 302 in it. It would run well over 120 before the points started bouncing.

Anyone remember James Taylor in Two Lane Blacktop?




posted on Apr, 9 2017 @ 10:22 AM
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originally posted by: Astyanax
a reply to: esteay812

American cars. Big growly engines. Sometimes pretty. Rubbish in absolutely every other way.

This is a muscle car.



not a muscle car at all



posted on Apr, 9 2017 @ 10:28 AM
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a reply to: MyHappyDogShiner

I had a 77 Ford with a 390, the 4 barrel holley, and a 3 stage shifter. I wanted a bigger engine to help keep me from popping wheelies. It ran like a scalded dog, tough.

Traded to my dad for a 79 mustang indy pace car. Tragically, it burned due to a cracked fuel line.


But that truck was my baby in high school. Charcoal gray, deep blood red interior. My dad and I rebuilt it together.
edit on 4/9/2017 by bigfatfurrytexan because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 9 2017 @ 01:35 PM
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a reply to: bigfatfurrytexan

I need a bigger engine, so I won't pop wheelies. Haha, that's pretty awesome.

My first car was a '63 Impala 4dr with a powerglide and a 283. Got it for $500 and rebuilt the engine. The power-steering was crazy. I could spin the wheel with 1 finger. I still remember the smell of the paint burning off the headers when we first started it. Parents were worried I'd kill myself in it, so we traded it for an '88 Jeep Comanche - another vehicle I wish I still had.



posted on Apr, 9 2017 @ 01:46 PM
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a reply to: tinner07

That's crazy isn't it? Rent a racer. . . I know there was one from Hertz, I'm not sure of the others. I didn't see one there, but I didn't go into the main building where they held the judging.

My favorite was probable the blue Charger or the orange Super Bee. The crowds seemed to gather around the blue '37 Ford convertible at 9:55 and the N.C. State Prison bus.



posted on Apr, 9 2017 @ 01:48 PM
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a reply to: SprocketUK

There are a couple awesome fastbacks in the video. My favorite Mustang from the show was the grey Mach 1. That thing was really nice. It's hard to do these cars justice with short video clips of them, but there were several that must've had tons of time and money poured into them to get them just right.



posted on Apr, 9 2017 @ 01:57 PM
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a reply to: bigfatfurrytexan

The end came to my Dart from some University of Wisconsin smart-asses rolling a ceramic sewer pipe (there was construction going on...) out in front of me as I passed, caught the right control arm and knocked the wheel back about six inches.

I was young and didn't know how to fix it back then, heck, now I would just roll a tubular sub-frame in there and make it handle like a frickin stock car...

It had a 318 4bbl in it, just the intake manifold was worth more than the entire rust bucket beater it was.



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