Muscle Car of the Week: 1956 DeSoto Fireflite

The 1956 DeSoto Fireflite isn’t as beefy as some of the muscled-up rides we profile on this site. However, it had a great body design, a HEMI engine came standard and it was an Indy 500 pace car. Take a look at the picture. How could we deny a car with the tagline, “The car designed for the super-highway age.”

Wider and longer than its predecesors the ’56 Fireflite came with a fang shaped panels, wrap-around window design and a PowerFlite automatic transmission.

Under the hood the ’56 had a V8 HEMI that cranked out 255 horsepower during chassis dyno testing. It had a top speed of 110mph and a 0-60 time of eleven seconds.

This model sold very well for DeSoto (115,000 produced). However, production halted just a few years later.

The 1956 DeSoto Fireflight could make for a great restoration project. Its got muscle, but more importantly its got style. This is a car you cruise with your elbow jutting out the window giving everyone you pass a glimpse at 50’s cool.

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Muscle Car of the Week: 1992 Dodge Viper

Muscle Car of the Week: 1992 Dodge Viper

Unless you left your Viper parked outside in a sandstorm chances are it isn’t primed for a full frame off restoration. However, its a great ride to customize. And as difficult as it is to believe it was 20 years ago that Dodge unvieled its V-10 beast!

The Viper was first concieved in 1988 as a modern day Cobra and premiered in concept form at the 1989 North American International Auto Show. The response was overwhelmingly positive and the company decided to prep it be produced as a regular production vehicle. Team Viper consisted of 85 carefully selected engineers. Wanting to create a modern muscle car and needing to adhere to modern fuel consumption standards the Viper’s engine naturally become the centerpiece of its design.

The team started with Dodge’s caste-iron block V-10 truck engine which was far too heavy for sports car production. The team had Lamborghini (a Chrysler subsidiary) recast the block and head in aluminium alloy. The result was a 711lbs monster that kicked up to 400bhp during dyno chassis testing, clocked 0-60 in 4.6s and had a top speed of 164mph.

The first generation of Viper was in someways all balls and no brains. It lacked modern safety amenities like traction control and anti-lock brakes. Considering its curb weight of 3,284lbs it is easy to understand why Car and Driver likened it to playing ping-pong with a Lousiville slugger. The vehicle also lacked side windows and a roof, although a soft-top was available.

Being the restoration gurus that you are these challenges may be minor, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.

The 1992 Viper was a beast for sure. But, it would get absolutely beasted by its modern equivalent. The 2012 Viper boasts 600bhp engine and a top speed of over 200mph. Nasty!

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Muscle Car of the Week: 1970 Dodge Super Bee

1970 Dodge Super BeeIn 1970 the Dodge Super Bee got a nose job. The front end was fitted with a twin-looped bumper. Other than that it was the same mean machine Dodge had been pumping out since ’68. Based on the design of the Coronet, the Super Bee was a low-priced alternative to its cousin the Plymouth Road Runner. The name itself comes from the “B” Body designation assigned to Chrysler’s mid-sized cars; the Coronet, Roadrunner and Charger.

The Super Bee is an intriguing restoration project inside and out. One stock feature that made the Bee stand out was the diecast chrome plated bee-medallions mounted in raised position on the hood and trunk areas. Inside the Bee borrowed the race car–inspired and more sophisticated gauge and speedometer dash cluster from the Dodge Charger while the four-speed manual cars received a Hurst Competition-Plus shifter with Hurst linkage.

Under the hood

Under the hood the Bee boasted a 383 Magnum engine that cranked out 335hp during chassis dyno testing. A HEMI upgrade was available but at a 33% price increase only 125 were sold. The Bee can get up and go. It has a top speed of 129mph and a 0-60 time of 6.2 seconds.

Orginally the Bee went for just over $3000 but today, fully restored, you could as much as $25,000.

Whether you’re looking for a project to restore/sell or a toy to wipe down with pride in the garage the 1970 Super Bee is a helluva muscle car.

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Muscle Car of the Week: 1969 Plymouth GTX!

Green convertible 1969 Plymouth GTX

This week we’re taking a look at a car that is rarely seen these days in the auto restoration services industry; the 1969 GTX. The fact that it’s a ‘restoration rarity’ so to speak isn’t because it’s not a great car, because it most definitely is. It comes from the fact that it had a very small production run. Thanks to the demand for other competing muscle cars models like the Mustang or the Chevelle, or the GTX’s sister model, the Road Runner!

Both the GTX and the Road Runner were based on the Belvedere body type, but while the former was a bit more powerful, the latter was much cheaper. The Road Runner’s base price was almost $1,000 less, in fact. Added to the fact that not much changed for the GTX in the way of design from the previous year. You can see why consumers tended to opt for the less expensive Road Runner. Even so, the GTX still had some nice upgrades from the 1968 model. It should definitely pique your interest for restoring one.

One such upgrade was with the new luxurious wood-grain trim that was added to the inside. It’s a great look that holds up to this day and looks amazing when fully restored. Another new feature was standard black lower-body-side paint job. It replaced the old dual racing stripe look from the previous year. These new looks combined to make the 1969 GTX a truly a beautiful car in our opinion.

Under the hood

Under the hood, the majority of the engine options carried over from ’68. One tasty upgrade stood out- the 440 V8. This baby pumped out around 390 horse power during chassis dyno testing and is a real work horse. It makes the quarter mile in just under 14 seconds. There was also a 426 cubic inch Hemi available, but because of the steep $700 price tag, it was very unpopular.

All in all, if you can find a GTX from 1969 you should definitely consider putting in the effort to restore it. They’re a perfect mix of power and luxury.

Originally, a fully loaded GTX went for right around $3,500 in 1969, and nowadays you can ask for up to $100,000 for a fully restored convertible model (of which there were only 700 produced!

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Muscle Car of the Week: 1967 Chevy Nova!

Blue 1967 Chevy Nova race

On the outside, the ’67 Nova looks nearly identical to it’s predecessor from 1966. Like it’s “older sibling”, it’s an extremely popular muscle car restoration option out here on the west coast. Marketed as a ‘stylish economy car’, the Nova delivered in both looks and functionality.

The only real aesthetic changes to the Nova SS package were with the front grille, deck lid panel, and wheel covers. The aluminum grille was now accented with black which is really the only way to tell it from the ’66 Nova from the outside. The deck lid panel was now outfitted with a nifty ‘cross-hitch’ pattern. The wheel covers where modeled after what was used on the Impala.

What Chevy lacked in innovated styling though, they made up for in new safety features. The interior was upgraded with softer cushion and visors, and a new energy absorbing steering column.

Under the hood

Under the hood, the ’67 Nova experienced some even better fixes. The top of the line engine offered was an impressive 327 cubic inch V8, dubbed the Turbo Fire. Unlike other models that offered Chevy’s automatic Powerglide. The only transmission available with this package was a manual, close-ratio four-speed. All told, the Nova had some good numbers in their dyno runs, delivering around 350 horsepower and 360 pounds per feet of torque.

In 1967, a top of the line Chevy Nova went for around $2,600. Nowadays they can get upwards of $45K at internet auction!