The Boss 429 is sort of a holy-grail of Sixties muscle cars, with only 859 produced in its two-year run. Its origins came from Ford’s efforts to develop a hemi-head engine to go up against Chrysler’s 426 Hemi on NASCAR tracks. NASCAR rules of the day mandated that at least 500 cars with any specific competition engine had to be marketed to the public, and it was decided that the Mustang would be the car for the 429.
Ford hired the Dearborn shop of Kar Kraft to take on the project, modifying 428 Cobra Jet and Mach 1 mustangs to accept the monster engine. Kar Kraft widened the shock towers, modified the front fender wells, altered the front suspension mounts, reposition ed the battery to the trunk, added a manually-opened hood scoop and made other fairly radical changes to the Mustang engine well. The final ...[more]Read More
You may not have even heard of the Hudson Hornet – the make hasn’t even been around since the early 50s, and was crowded out of the market by the Big Three from Detroit. The Hornet, however, left a pretty significant mark on automotive design and performance in its day.
Starting with the ’48 models, the Hornet incorporated a “step-down” design, with a dropped floor pan and chassis that lowered the car’s center of gravity and enhanced handling dramatically (it was also the industry’s first true unibody design). The edge in handling made the Hornet a natural for racing, and by ’51 the Hornet was available with the “7X” engine, a 308-cubic-inch flathead straight-six. The engine featured modifications like twin side-draft one-barrel carburetors, a split exha ...[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
The Charger is one of the most recognizable silhouettes of all the muscle cars of the 60s (its roles in the movie “Bullitt” and the TV series “The Dukes of Hazzard” didn’t hurt), and it was also one of the biggest –selling muscle cars of the ’68 model year. Of the 100k or so Chargers sold for ’68, well over 17,000 of them were R/T models. So what makes a Charger an R/T?
- Front anti-roll bar
- Heavy-duty front torsion bars
- Heavy-duty shocks and rear leaf springs
But most importantly…the 440 V8.
The Charger was entirely restyled for ’68, with a slick coke-bottle profile and concealed headlights, and the 375-horsepower 440 Magnum V8 was also pretty f ...[more]Read More
The Sixties were a golden age for performance cars and sports cars, as technology blossomed and stylists were given free rein to come up with sexy-looking, sleek body styles. Maserati was no exception, with its V8-powered Ghibli two-seater. The Ghibli has since been named as one of the top ten sports cars of the Sixties (in the magazine Sports Car International), and outsold its contemporaries the Lamborghini Miura and Ferrari Daytona. Giugiaro designed the Ghibli’s body, with its low, shark-shaped nose and low profile; under the hood was a 330-horsepower 4.7 liter V8 engine.
The Ghibli could sprint to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds and top out at 154 mph – not so impressive by today’s standards, but remember that many of the mechanical features common on today’s cars were introduced 40-plus years ag ...[more]Read More
One of the great things about Facebook is the way it can bring communities of people together. Regardless of whether you’re interested in heavy metal music, politics, certain movies, certain authors, or if you want to reunite online with people from your hometown, FB has great resources to form these little tribes of people and let them share ideas, opinions and reminisces with each other. For classic car enthusiasts, here are three fantastic little communities:
- Classic Cars: Ford, Dodge, Pontiac, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile…regardless of what your preference is, you can find it here. FB’s Classic Cars page doesn’t go into the tech detail that many forums and brand-specific sites do; instead, it’s mo ...[more]
Although the Stutz Motor Company was only around for a little less than 25 years, their cars made history with some forward-thinking advances. Early Stutz models featured things like a 4-cylinder flathead engine with four valves per cylinder, safety glass, a low-slung chassis for improved handling and center of gravity, a hill-holding manual transmission, hot-water heating, an oil cooler and a supercharged straight-8 engine. Their multi-valve engine was one of the first of its kind, and was Stutz’ answer to the “cylinder race” of the early 30s, when manufacturers were scrambling to produce V12 and even V16 engines for their cars.
In 1927, a Stutz set a speed record, averaging 68 mph in a 24-hour race. Stutz’s development engineer doubled as team driver, prompting the company to expand their line f ...[more]Read More
If you remember the news story from last year where an entire house was swallowed up by a sinkhole in Florida, it may seem like deja vu! Yesterday, Corvette aficionados from around the world gasped a collective sigh as they turned on the news and watched the sad news unfold. An enormous sinkhole, forty feet in diameter, swallowed eight extremely rare Corvettes housed in the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The total value of these classic Corvettes is not yet known but it will be in the millions. The Corvettes ranged in age from 1962 to 2009. Six of them had been donated to the museum while two of them were on loan from General Motors. Two of the Corve ...[more]Read More
Performance cars had to start somewhere, and there were so many obscure, low-production makes before about 1925 or so, it was inevitable that some higher-performance models would come along. The Mercer Raceabout was one of those.
Mercer was founded by two engineers, backed by a significant amount of capital. Their first cars were handcrafted touring sedans, but by about 1910 they had introduced the Type 35R Raceabout. This early race car featured a 293-cubic-inch four-cylinder (pistons the size of gallon jugs!), developing 55 horsepower and capable of propelling the Raceabout to over 90 mph. The Raceabout took five of six races in 1911, losing only at the Indianapolis 500.
In the 1914 Corona Road Race, driver Eddie Pullen set a new speed record of 86.5 mph, breaking the previous speed ecord of 78.72 ...[more]Read More
By the early 60s, the era of tailfins and chrome had come to a close, and early 60s full-size Chevrolets featured cleaner, boxier lines and more modern-looking interiors. Under the hood, the Impala was available with anything from a straight-six to a big-block V8 for real performance in a big, heavy car.
By ’63, the problematic 348 V8 was gone and the big-block 409 was on its way out. Chevrolets were starting to see real competition at the tracks, however, and the Z-11 was the answer to the big-inch V8 cars coming from Ford, Dodge and Pontiac. Chevrolet took the 409 engine and bored it out to 427 cbic inches, along with special heads, valves and a new intake manifold topped by two 4-barrel Carter AFB carburetors.
The Z-11 was built for one thing and one thing only: racing. That meant it was a no-frills ...[more]Read More