If you’ve ever seen pictures of collisions from the 40s or 50s, you might have been surprised at how well the cars would hold up in a fairly serious accident. Even with collisions at 30 or 40 mph, the cars would look only slightly banged-up…the passengers, on the other hand, usually fared much worse. In those days before ‘crumple zone’ designs, the passengers would be the ones absorbing the energy of an impact. In fact, the prevailing wisdom in those days was that a passenger’s chances were much better if he was “thrown clear” of the wreck.
Today, of course, we know better.
By the mid 50s, padded dashboards were starting to appear in some cars, dashboards were being redesigned to get rid of protruding knobs and switches, safety glass was improving and som ...[more]Read More
Let’s get right to it here, shall we?
- The DeLorean from “Back to the Future” – The DeLorean was as much a product of the 80s as anything you can think of. With its brushed-stainless skin, angular body lines, gullwing doors and complicated backstory involving the flamboyant John Z. DeLorean himself, the car wasn’t an especially strong performer…but it sure does sum up a point in time nicely.
- The green Dodge Charger from “Bullitt” – Yes, everyone loves Steve McQueen’s Mustang from the movie…but we kinda prefer the 440-powered Dodge Charger that met a spectacular end. Something about the Charger is more menacing and brutal than the Mustang. May ...[more]
With the introduction of the 240Z, Datsun changed the sports-car world by introducing a serious, good-looking true sports car with Japanese reliability and practicality. Sold in Japan as the Nissan Fairlady, the 240Z was an instant hit in the US, with a 2.4 liter single-overhead-cam inline 6 that put out 151 horsepower. Equipped with a four-speed manual transmission, the 240Z could sprint to 60 mph in 8.0 seconds and top out at 125 mph, while getting 21 mpg on the highway.
The two-seater 240Z was fairly sophisticated mechanically, with MacPherson struts in front and 4-wheel independent suspension and twin Hitachi side-draft carburetors. It also undercut the prices of its competitors from Jaguar, Porsche and BMW, making it a popular seller in the US, and was a solid performer on the rally and ...[more]Read More
There’s something about those 60s-era muscle cars still resonates with drivers today. It’s the combination of tough, muscular styling with brute-force horsepower and performance that still captures the imagination of drivers 40-plus years later. Unfortunately it’s getting tougher and tougher to find first-generation muscle cars that are still intact and drivable, and the ones that are left are getting pricey. The modern Challenger and Mustang manage to rekindle the same fires, with modern-day emissions compliance, safety and dependability (and performance that matches their long-ago kin). Still, for some that’s just not quite enough. The answer?
The Equus Bass 770.
The Bass 770’s looks evoke the Mustang, Shelby GT500 and Dodge/Plymouth muscle from years ago, with a ...[more]Read More
Few cars are as recognizable as the Jaguar E-Type, with its sleek lines, long hood and elegant profile. It’s a model that’s so renowned that Enzo Ferrari called it “the most beautiful car ever made,” and The Daily Telegraph put it on their list of the 100 most beautiful cars of all time.
The E-Type got its start back in ’57, based around the highly successful dual-overhead-cam XK straight-six engine. By ’61, the Series 1 XKE was ready to go, with a 3.8 liter three-carburetor version of the XK6 engine putting out 265 horsepower, for a top speed of 150 mph and a 0-60 time of around seven seconds. The XKE was mechanically advanced, with an independent coil spring rear suspension and torsion bar front end; it was also one of the first cars to f ...[more]Read More
The ’64 Aston Martin DB5 is going to be familiar to any fan of the early James Bond movies – Sean Connery was behind the wheel of a DB5 in “Goldfinger,” a role that made it “the most famous car in the world” at the time. The real-life DB5 was almost as exotic as its Bond-movie counterpart, minus all the weaponry and gadgets; standard equipment on the DB5 included a magnesium-alloy body, a 282 horsepower 4-liter aluminum inline six engine, wool pile carpets, reclining seats, power windows, an oil cooler and even a fire extinguisher. The 2 + 2 coupe was available with a five-speed manual transmission or Borg-Warner automatic, with a 145 mph top speed and 0-60 times of around eight seconds. The DB5 Vantage was a high-performance version of the DB5, with three Weber carburetors and a revised camshaft, producing 315 horsepower. &n ...[more]Read More
Soooo…it’s time to replace the tires on your late-model car. Maybe you weren’t that crazy about the original equipment (OE) tires, or you just want to try something different. Well, here are some things to consider.
The engineers and design teams that worked on your make and model of car selected a specific brand and model of tire for it. All of their formulations for ride comfort, handling, steering response, traction, noise and vibration isolation, roughness and overall performance used that specific tire as a benchmark (of course, the bid process for tires entered into it as well). A luxury car might have been designed around a grand touring tire with a quiet ride, an eco-friendly hybrid might use a low-rolling-resistance tire, ...[more]Read More
In 1970, the Barracuda had been redesigned from the ground up with a new body style and a shorter, wider version of Chrysler’s B-body, now called the E-body. The radical-looking new ‘Cuda (whose styling is revisited in the modern Dodge Challenger) was available with two versions of the venerable Slant 6 6-cylinder, as well as the 318 V8, 383 two-barrel, 383 four-barrel/dual exhaust, or 440 Super Commando, or the 440 six-barrel Super Commando Six Pak.
The top of the performance heap, however, was the 426 Hemi V8. The 440 Six Pak dialed in at around 390 horsepower, but the dual-four-barrel equipped 426 delivered 425 horsepower, propelling it to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds (in stock form). The Hemi Cuda could make the quarter-mile run in 14 seconds flat, topping 100 mph easily.
As if the outrageous engine ...[more]Read More
In the 70s and 80s, many a hot-rodder’s first muscle car was a ragged-out old Chevelle SS396. It’s not surprising, when you consider that Chevy built over 70,000 copies of the SS396…of course now, they’re pretty scarce and super desirable, but that’s a different story.
Chevrolet introduced the 396 big-block V8 in ’65, as a replacement for the heavy, boat-anchor 409 V8. The 396 had big valves and a lumpy cam, with an odd valve configuration that provided better gas flow and more efficient exhaust scavenging. It paid off, with the base L35 engine producing 325 horsepower – the L34 built 360 horsepower, with the iron-head L78 building 375 horsepower.
Perhaps the most desirable of the Chevelle SS models for ’66 is the Z16, which featured the L78 engine and upgraded ...[more]Read More
If you live in an area that gets cold enough and sees enough winter precipitation to warrant buying winter tires, there’s no substitute for the traction they can provide. Winter tires have come a long way since the heavy-tread, noisy “snow tires” or “mud grips” that were on your dad’s station wagon a generation ago. Modern winter tires offer better ride, road manners and handling than they did in previous years. That doesn’t, however, mean that they are good year-round.
Winter tires are designed with a tread formulation that stays flexible at lower temperatures, which is their chief advantage over all-season tires. All-season tires tend to harden and stiffen at sub-freezing temps, compromising traction and control. The flip side ...[more]Read More