The 300SL name has been in the Mercedes stable for a long time, but the 50s-era Gull Wing models may be the best known, and for good reason. Along with the distinctive gull-wing doors, the 300SL had the world’s fastest top speed for its day and was the first car to offer fuel injection for consumer models.
The 300SL was an offshoot of the 1952 W194 race car, with “300” referring to its 3.0-liter engine and SL standing for “Sport Light.” The 300SL featured a tubular steel chassis for balance of strength and light weight. It was this frame that made the gull-wing doors necessary, with part of the chassis passing through the area where the lower half of a standard door would be. Without the gull-wing design, the 300SL would have been awkward to get in and out of; a tilt-away steering column wa ...[more]Read More
Produced from ’66 to ’72, the mid-engine two-seater Lamborghini Miura was the fastest production road car available in its day. It didn’t come cheap – its $20k pricetag would come out to well over $100k in today’s dollars – but it was the state-of-the-art in its day.
The Miura featured a 3.9 liter V12 that produced 350 horsepower, with sheet metal that was only 0.9mm thick for a curb weight that was well under 3000 lbs. The result was a top speed of 174 mph, but the tall gearing meant a quarter-mile in over 14 seconds and 0-60 in about 6.5 seconds. It hardly mattered, though; Lamborghini Miura drivers weren’t likely to be drag-racing Detroit muscle cars anyway.
The Miura’s swoopy, aerodynamic body style was the very definition of an exotic car for the day, and ...[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
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
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
Surely you’ve noticed the wide range of tread patterns and styles available between different tire brands and models. Here’s a brief technical breakdown of how they all work:
- Tread patterns: Tires are commonly designed with symmetrical, asymmetrical and directional tread patterns. Symmetrical treads are the most common, with ribs or tread blocks where the inboard and outboard sections of the tire come together and match. Asymmetrical tread patterns vary the groove pattern of the tire to help deflect water and snow in all-season conditions, making them a good pick for year-round use. The grooves on directional tires form a V shape at the tire’s center, helping to displace water and avoid hydroplaning. The geometry of the tread blocks and tread pattern is designed to fulfill very dedicated, s ...[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]
Along with all the womanizing, drinking, fighting and spying that James Bond does, the other thing he’s always been really, really good at is driving. Bond’s been through a lot of cars over the years, including some ones you wouldn’t expect…like a Ford Galaxie and an AMC Hornet…but we picked out three of our favorites:
- Sunbeam Tiger – This one dates back to the ’62 film “Dr. No”; in the early 60s, Carroll Shelby took the cute, mild-mannered little Sunbeam Alpine roadster and jammed Ford’s 260 V8 into it. Bond put this little sleeper to good use, of course.
- Toyota 2000 GT – Featured in ‘67’s “You Only Live Twice,” Toyo ...[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