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I have the biography but didn't feel like putting it in if u need it just email me: ) American Muscle Cars, the very words speak of automotive power. They represent Americas height of power during the 60 s; throughout there aggressive body styling, technical advances, and there massive engines. Even though they were burdened and doomed to die by high insurance premiums and overshadowing government regulations. Muscle Cars were by far the most impressive and greatest vehicles Detroit has ever produced. Insurance surcharges, emission controls, safety concerns and gasoline up to 38 cents a gallon: for the second time in its life, the Hemi was dead (Leffingwell 180). Not just the Hemi was dead but the whole Muscle Car Era.
Or as you might want to say, before Christ. This is the point in where peoples minds were concerned with foreign policies. The Iron Curtain had been drawn, JFK was assassinated, people were being drafted for Vietnam. The whole nation was on a power surge; and was Detroit.
Muscle Cars represented the way the nation thought and the way they went about there daily life. The 60 s was a exciting era, cars from the 60 s are exciting and nothing will or has ever been produced to replicate the popularity of Muscle Putting the pedal to the floor produces modern performance art; the engine explodes, its sound bores into the ears. The tortured suspensions swings and reacts One of the most important factors that drew out the Muscle Car Era was advertisement. They werent used to seeing big, glossy full-page ads from the auto manufactures (Stathan 46).
This is what contributed to the boom of Muscle Cars, the availability of advertisement as well as the everyones daringness to drive a car of complete power. Cars were advertised by Drag Racing, Car and Driver magazines, and TV. People were lured into buying cars like a kids are drawn into a candy shop. The only question was, what did they use to lure people into buying the cars. They used flamboyant pictures and exciting terms like: Super Sport, Rally Sport, GT, GTS, and HURST.
Many of these cars just had exciting names that drew people to them: Firebird, Dart DEMON, Superbird, and even Stingray. By specifying what you wanted from an extensive list of options, you built a car to suit your own needs and personality (Leffingwell 52). Although some of the cars were produced by impressive names like: Shelby, DeLorean, Hurst, and Yenko. These cars were built for only one purpose, that was to go from point A to B in the fastest possible time and people did just that.
Drag Racing, NHRA and other car sports became extremely popular in the 60 s and even helped brought upon the car war. Companies like Ford, Pontiac, Dodge and Chevy battled over the battle fields of Pomona Beach, Salt Flats, and the most popular on the roadways. Goes to show that nothing shrinks time and distance like cubic inches and a good induction system (Miller 81). Most of these Boulevard Bruisers or drag strip specials you could only get from the dealer through a long list of options and waiting for your car to show up could take weeks. The wait was long worth the wait, you would have the fastest car in your county and most of the time if your paid enough you could even go and compete and actually win in most Stock Car Competitions. Alot of people got recognized like this, and eventually got sponsored into driving strip downed and acid dipped drag cars.
People like Sox and Martin, Bill Grumpy Jenkins, and Bruce Kimmen paved the road or even the drag strip for everybody. You know John, it would take us about a half-hour to stick a 389 in this thing (Stathan 28). Working on the cars also gives people a hobby, the hobby can get out of hand, modifying your own car. They were great at the track, but not so great for driving to work and back (GTOStathan 10). Some people get to the point where they start stripping out all their interior and yanking out all the luxury items like power steering, power brakes, disk brakes and the passenger seat to save on weight and parasitic drag. As fun as it is to drive some of these cars they can drive you crazy, gear drive constantly whining just bores into your head like some kind of cruel punishment.
The feeling you get when everybody stares or when u blast through a parking garage and set off all the car alarms makes all of your troubles worth it. Playing good-natured cat and mouse games with the law, vanquishing lesser foes in late-night street races, and causing envy levels to rise at the local drive-in (Stathan 12). That is what sticks out the most in my mind of the whole Muscle Car idea. Cruising around and having good natured fun. Although it has been stricken down like a bad child, by those who dont understand that cars keep us out of trouble and its a way for us to socialize. Being one of the biggest ways to socialize I know of.
Ive meet so many people by trying to look for parts, from going down the drags or just cruising around and asking people questions. Plus I have learned alot on my own just by messing around since everythings just basically bolt on and bolt off. The Destruction of the Magnificent Era Greatness could only last so long and the years it did last were exceptional. Muscle cars started going on a constant decline starting with 1970 and then hit a nose dive and died in 1973.
There was many things that ended the greatness, insurance, pollution, and safety regulations. All these were imposed on outside forces, you may call these the In 1965, Americans were shocked and enraged by Ralph Nader's book Unsafe at any Speed (Leffingwell 16). True these cars were very dangerous but thats a one sided argument with many factors that play into this whole equation that were completely ignored. Factors like age of driver and type of car. Muscle Cars give the feeling of unlimited power and people without self-control push it to its limits which is far beyond their own limits and end up hurting themselves or even killing others. Muscle Cars werent great for handling either, during that time they had Polyglass tires.
These tires were made up of fiberglass which doesnt really stick to asphalt like rubber does. Drum and no power steering, which just adds to the excitement of driving. Drum brakes just go Most cars werent even built to be taken to the extreme on the streets they were built to scream down the drags trip. Inside the glove compartment, found almost by incident, ... Notice this car is equipped with a 426 cubic in.
engine (and other special equipment). This car is intended for use in supervised acceleration trials and is not for highway or general passenger car use (Leffingwell 19). Most cars were built with special options that made them powerful or even special. The Dodge Daytona was built to go over 200 mph and held the fastest closed track speed for thirteen years (Brazendale 75). Most of the automobiles to roll out of Detroit were pure works of art.
By virtually all accounts, it was the most outrageous car ever to leave an auto maker destined for the street (Leffingwell 86). Power machines with one thing put in there design, to destroy the competition and bring in sales. Sales they did bring in with these modern day grim reapers. Grim reapers they were not only did they slay on the track they killed on the Killings and massive accidents was also another downfall to the Muscle Car era.
Yet Nationwide Mutual Insurance research showed the same cars (Muscle Cars) produced 56 % more losses than did more mundane cars (Leffingwell 17). The people that drove these cars were generally crazy. One day on a trip to San Francisco I past this guy reading the newspaper while driving his car. Picture a whole nation of stupid drivers behind the wheel of cars that could out run most police cars. Of course accidents were going to rise. With the rise of accidents and death rose the insurance payment.
Without insurance you cant drive, its illegal. Sometimes paying the outrageous insurance payment can get out of hand. The effect of insurance surcharges meant that even safe drivers could have insurance payments equal to their car payments. Warning lights were flashing throughout the auto industry (Leffingwell 176). This kind of surcharge meant that it shun people away from opting for these special options and when they did opt for the options they got reamed for it. One of the things that Detroit did was to underrate their engines actual power output.
Meaning a 69 aluminum block Chevy 427 put out around 420 horse in the books. When actually if dyno tested today it would put out around 550 horse, thats a major difference in power and money when it comes down to insurance charges. Detroit reacted to the insurance cloud in 1970. It started to drastically weaken the power it was putting under the hood of its beasts and focusing more on looks. 1970 also started the second generation for Camaros. These cars were sleeker and more intimidating then its older brother. Unlike its older brother the second generation was weaker, this was seen throughout all cars.
In my opinion this was the steel boot to the head that ended all the nitrous flowing through Americans veins. Pollution control, a very bad idea when it comes to Muscle Cars. On New Years Eve, 1970, President Richard Nixon signed the law that aimed to reduce the automobile pollution emissions ninety percent by 1977 (Leffingwell 17). Smog stations were popping up all around the country. A way to monitor your car to make sure it wasnt over polluting.
To reduce emissions engines had to be leaned out and had all this extra tubing (looks like a maze when you open the hood) to recycle and help reduce emissions. One of the major problems that people ran into when modifying cars is that they would break these smog laws. Break the rules by not passing either the visual or sniff test. The visual test included looking at all the Pollution Control Valves that flowed from the engine like ivy draining a Oak of life.
If one of these stupid valves or tubing was missing, you were unable to register your car which meant you cant drive it now. The sniff test is one of the easier to pass, to bad your given both. They just stick a stick up the tail pipe and check for parts per million. Ways of getting around it include putting kerosene in the gas tank or leaning out the Carburetor.
The good thing is that the smog laws only apply to cars that are younger then 25 years. That gives a cut off to everything 74 and under which is just plain beautiful. Satan has been known to show his head and things are starting to show up in Congress, these bills are passing and sneaking by the public which is no good at all. Gore being one of the avid supporters of the doom of Muscle Cars is helping out alot with all these bills. These bills include extending the smog laws to everything up to 66 which will screw out alot of people.
Muscle Cars might just end once and forever with no hopes for resuscitation. Architects of the sixties would have loved the Muscle Car. They would have approved mightily of its form-follows-function purity. Even though they were burdened and doomed to die by high insurance premiums and overshadowing government regulations. Muscle Cars were by far the most impressive and greatest vehicles Detroit has Bibliography:
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