The definition of a muscle car is hard to pin down–and trust that we hear it all at our hot rod restoration services shop. Some say it’s all about the engine, while others claim it’s the attitude of the driver. Is it any fast car with a lot of muscle? Or is it a regular car with a souped-up engine? A more technical definition popular among the purists is an intermediate car with a 116-inch wheelbase—or smaller—but with a V-engine.
True muscle cars date back to the hot rod era in the 50s and early 60s. “Hot rodders” dropped large, modified engines built for speed into classic American cars like the Model A, Model T or ’32 Deuce. Car enthusiasts everywhere took notice and demand grew exponentially. Manufacturers saw the draw and got a piece of the action, inciting the inception of the true muscle car era. Ford created the iconic Mustang, which remains popular in every reiteration to this very day. The Buick Stage, Chevy Camaro and Plymouth Hemi Barracuda are became legends in their own right, though desire for fuel efficiency took a toll on demand over the years. Yet with technology comes greater efficiency—the perfect example being the Dodge Challenger Hellcat, which boasts 707 horsepower while still getting 22 highway miles per gallon.
The evolution of hot rods and muscle cars over the years is fascinating—what has stood the test of time is the horsepower, speed and distinct look of muscle cars.Today’s enthusiasts are just as passionate and die-hard as those from the 60s and 70s. Muscle cars remain as relevant as ever—the constant demand at our hot rod restoration services shop is a good indication. With owners of Mustangs and Fords to Camaros and Pontiacs, we know the love never dies.
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You don’t have to be a millionaire to own a muscle car. There are plenty of cool models that we see on the road, at car shows
and at the auto restoration shop that will set your heart aflutter. Look for models older than 1972 and you’ll find some affordable options with plenty of horsepower and character.
1. 1973 Pontiac GTO and 1973–75 Pontiac Grand Am
These babies have tons of style but won’t break the bank. In 1973, all of GM’s mid-size A-cars were designed with bigger, heavier colonnade-style bodies. Most were built with 230-hp, 400-cubic-inch (6.6 liter) V-8 engines, with optional 250-hp 455. You can easily get your hands on one of these
classics for between $12k and $17k – and any one of them will fulfill every muscle car dream you’ve ever had.
2. 1971–75 Ford Maverick Grabber
While it may not look like your typical muscle car, this vehicle is easy on the eye and boasts by a 210-gross-horsepower, two-barrel 302-cubic-inch (4.9 liter) V-8. We’ve seen them pass through the auto restoration shop with price tags lower than $12k.
3. 1979 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400 WS6
While most late 70s Trans Ams will put your wallet in a quandary, the Formula from 1979 received less hype—yet 1979 is the only year this car was offered with the 220-hp true Pontiac 400 (6.6 liter) V-8. In addition, it boasts a WS6 handling package with four-wheel disc brakes and those coveted
snowflake alloy wheels as well. Only 24,851 Formulas were manufactured that year, though not all featured 400 and WS6. As rare as they are, you can find one with a price tag of around $16k and lower.
4. 1970–71 Ford Torino GT
Built on the same mid-size chassis as its predecessors, these Torinos have nicer interiors and most come with 250-hp, 351-cubic-inch (5.8 liter) V-8. You can find these for anywhere between $12k and $19k.
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Whether you’re a muscle car fanatic or don’t yet know the meaning of chassis dyno tuning, if you’re in the market for a muscle car or recently bought your dream vehicle, the tips below will help maximize performance of your favorite muscle car .
This goes for any car owner—there should be a fire extinguisher in all garages or hot rod restoration shops and it should be easily accessible. You don’t want to lose your entire investment because of a fire.
Avoid Short Circuits
Dead battery too soon? If so, you may have a short circuit. Test it out by disconnecting one of the battery cables and connecting the clip from the test light. Then touch the test end to the battery terminal. The test light will illuminate if there is current flow. Disconnect main circuits until the light goes out to find the faulty circuit.
An excellent way to block dangerous disconnected fuel lines is with a wooden golf tee. Press it into the end of the line and you’re solid. The tee’s wedged end will do the job for an array of hose diameters.
Ensure that your oil pump pick up tube and screen match your oil pan. Ideally, it should be approximately three-eighths of an inch above the pan’s bottom.
Get the Right Lube
It’s important to properly lubricate threads, especially since they are essential for determining friction. While many use standard motor oil for lubricating threads, when specially formulated, low-friction lubricants are used for specific tasks, the required torque can be decreased up to 30 percent. Note that if the recommended tightening specifications are based on the use of a special lubricant, that type should be used. While engine oil can be good for hydraulic-bearing, it is not a good lubricant for extreme pressure. Be sure to use a specialized thread lubricant when necessary.
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When it comes to classic cars, the 1957 Chevrolet is an icon of pop culture. Walk into any auto hot rod restoration shop and you’re bound to see one getting worked on or just on display. Regardless of whether it’s a coupe, sedan or convertible, the ’57 Chevy is a model that is revered by all the classic car aficionados.
Why is this car such an icon? Read on for five reasons we think it has turned heads for decades.
1. The ’57 Chevy Has Style
The ’57 Chevy is characterized by sleek tailfins, beautiful chrome bumpers and recessed grilles. The two spears on the hood and the side and fin make it extremely recognizable and unique. What many aren’t aware of—except for the hardcore classic car experts—is that the ’57 Chevy’s hood and cowl were dropped one and a half inches, making it seem lower and wider. The stainless steel, excessive chrome and two-tone colors represent the 50s very accurately.
2. Everyone Had One
The ’57 Chevy was extremely popular, making it one of the biggest sellers that year and way beyond. It is widely considered the best known and best ranked car of its decade.
3. The ’57 Chevy Had its Own Postage Stamp
The ’57 Chevy was pictured on a 33 cent first-class stamp in 1999.
4. The Car is Fast
In 1957, Chevrolet won 49 NASCAR Grand National races. That is the most any car has ever won in the history of NASCAR. The ’57 Chevy’s lightweight size made it a favorite among drag racers as well.
5. There is a Song About It
The song “I’ve got a rock and roll heart,” was one of Eric Clapton’s many popular hits. The lyrics feature the iconic car in its hook: “I get off on ’57 Chevys…” Clapton is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
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Interested in a self driving car? We hope so because your next car will probably drive itself. The technology is already here, with Google’s Driverless cars! While that may sound exciting, it will probably be several years before autonomous cars available in major markets.
“Why so long?” you ask. Well, that’s a simple question with a complicated answer so we’ve documented a few reasons that cover some of the major points brought up in this debate.
First, consider the ethics that need to be hashed out and the subsequent laws that would have to be in place based on this ethical code before making these cars legally operable. Legal liability. Who is going to be responsible for a car that ‘T-boned another car by itself’? Yeah, right. The chances of an alibi like that holding in court? Unlikely it seems… but who knows! If the car is totally autonomous, the point is that they drive themselves…
Right? Well, that’s just it. Currently, these cars aren’t completely autonomous. There will still need to be some user involvement in the driving process. Essentially, it’ll be easier to deal with things like sitting in highway traffic. But other instances, like switching lanes, may still require some human interaction. So unfortunately, no snoozing on the way to work for you, but hopefully one day we’ll get there.
How will regular cars fare with autonomous cars on the road? That’s a great question—we’re not sure. But apparently the ominous, constantly progressive ‘they’ may be working on aftermarket systems that one can integrate into an older car (e.g. some classic muscle like a ’68 mustang) — giving it wi-fi capability and whatever it needs to communicate with autonomous systems. Talk about some serious auto restoration procedures. We’re certainly interested in that topic.
So these are just a few of the reasons it’ll take a few years to get our hands on these cars, but it’s all for the best. Hopefully by then, Brauns Automotive will be experts at aftermarket wi-fi system installation so we can continue to serve our customers with the best and most badass muscle car restoration services available.
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As experts in restoration in Los Angeles classic cars, you can take our word for this—the ’64 Mustang Convertible is one of the most sought after restoration projects around. This week, we’re taking an in-depth look at the specs on this baby. We bet that by the time you’re done reading this short post, you’ll understand what all the hype is about.
The Mustang was the brain child of two executives working at Ford during the early 1960s: the renowned Lee Iacocca and Donald Frey. They wanted to offer Americans a sporty yet affordable car to compete with the huge inflow of European models in the market—and it’s safe to say that they exceeded everyone’s expectations. The original price tag on the Mustang was $2,320, and on the very first day that it was available, Ford sold 22,000 of them. By the end of ’64, they sold over 400,000 Mustangs! (Not all were convertibles, but you get the picture) As a result of this demand, they manufactured a ton of cars, which means that they shouldn’t be too hard to find if you want to take one on as an car restoration project.
The 1964 Mustang is the original muscle car. While it’s not quite as powerful as some of our other auto restoration choices, it was definitely no slouch. It came standard with a 170 cubic inch six cylinder engine that produced 120 horsepower. However, you could upgrade to a 289 cubic inch V-8, or, for even higher performance, a 289 cubic inch 4-bbl V8 with their “Cruise-O-Matic” automatic transmission and 271 horsepower.
Parts for these pony cars are readily available at almost every junkyard in the country. The good news is that once you restore one, you can get up to $40,000 for it!
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A 1966 Lincoln Continental convertible is part of some great auto restoration projects. This car exudes class and is rife with American history — the one pictured above is particularly special. It is known to be the last car owned by the late Martin Luther King, Jr. and currently resides at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee.
According to an Indiana news article, the car had been lent to King by a wealthy Civil Rights patron named Cornelia Crenshaw. This is the same car that King used the day of his assassination, April 4, 1968. Crenshaw later went broke due to a loss of her wealth in a court hearing against the city of Memphis and could not afford to fix a blown head gasket. Thus she left the beautiful piece of history for over 20 years in the lot behind Haye’s Auto Shop in Memphis, TN where the owner of Haye’s held onto it even after she had passed away. Unfortunately the car was neglected in the back lot where it began to rust and eventually became interwoven into a den of plant life that had taken root in and around it.
The car was discovered in 2002 by Rich Fortner, the owner of Al’s Auto Body Experts, in St. John, Indiana and has since performed one of the most interesting and important auto restoration jobs in recent history. He restored the car for use by the National Civil Rights Museum in their 40th anniversary celebration, that occurred on April 4, 2008.
We’ve found more images of what is said to be the same Lincoln Continental after it’s most recent auto restoration. The photographer claims that this is the verified authentic car owned and driven by Dr. King. He claims to have taken these pictures 2 days after it’s restoration was complete.
Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. day to all and may we not forget our history. Google
The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT is rumored for release at the ongoing 2014 Detroit Auto Show (January 13-26, 2014). The upgraded Challenger will contain a Supercharged Hemi V-8 engine in the SRT model. This all aluminum Hemi v-8, dubbed the “Hellcat”, is a 6.2 liter engine that is supposed to be far more powerful than the 6.4 liter version.
From an auto restoration standpoint, things get interesting when you check out the physical specs of the new engine. Despite popular belief, the Hellcat is not just a modified version of the 6.4 liter Hemi V-8. It’s reported as structurally different to the point of using different motor mounts, heads and few interchangeable parts. It is believed that this will be the engine to usher in a new generation of Hemi’s that would be smaller, incorporate efficiency upgrades, be lighter weight but all the while producing more power. Engineering at it’s finest. We’re excited for the future!
The price tag on the Hellcat equipped version of the new Challenger hasn’t been officially released but we can speculate that this will be considered a special model meaning it’s price should fall well above even the Challenger SRT 392’s starting price of $46k.
We’ll be keeping an eye on the new Hemi’s in the arena as we may consider using them in future hot rod restoration projects. Google