#5 – Pontiac GTO – 1971-’72
#4 – Chevrolet Corvette – 1978-’82
#3 – Dodge Charger – 1968-’70
#2 – Chevrolet Camaro – 1967 – ’69
#1 – Ford Mustang – 1964 -’68
Of course, there are lots of women who prefer the real-world practical cars to fantasy vehicles—but most likely for their own ride. They can pretend they’re not looking at that Ferrari or Maserati, but deep down, we know they are. Yet wen you compare the woman looking for that luxe ride, such as one of the ones mentioned above or the latest Porsche, Mercedes or Lamborghini, the girl who’s all about the hot rod restoration shows a classic style of her own and an appreciation for history and timeless beauty. That makes her even hotter.
While many women will admit that the right muscle car makes a guy look better in her rear view mirror, you have to hope that it’s because she appreciate your dedication to the care and upkeep of a classic vehicle, and that it shows commitment, rather than dollar signs.
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Whether you are a car fanatic or don’t know the meaning of chassis dyno tuning, you probably have heard of Bigfoot. It’s a name synonymous with Monster Truck Rallies—rooted in redneck lore. Yet the brand name didn’t start out that way. While today Bigfoot is a brand name with many generations and models in its repertoire, back in 1979 it was Bob Chandler’s concept hot rod and is considered the “original monster truck.”
Originally, Chandler, a former construction worker from St. Louis, Missouri, was simply looking for ways to reduce his many four-wheeling wreckage costs. In fact, that is where the name “Bigfoot” originated from. He asked his friend, Ron MacGruder, why he kept wrecking and MacGruder responded “It’s ‘cause of your big foot!”
Chandler’s first major modification was to add steering that could be controlled from either the front or rear axle. This made the truck operable in case of breakage and effectively made it a 4x4x4. He started taking Bigfoot to car shows and tractor pulls in ’79, but it was a video that he made in ’81 that truly started the legend and launched the modern Monster Truck format.
Chandler set up a couple of dilapidated cars in an open field and taped them being crushed by Bigfoot. While he originally made the tape as joke, when he began playing it at his shop, it started gaining attention, so much so that request after request for repeat performances rolled in, eventually leading to a Ford sponsorship and iconic status. In addition, Bigfoot’s immense popularity led to the truck’s appearance in the 1981 film, Take This Job and Shove It, directed by Gus Trikonis.
In 1986, Chandler built Bigfoot 5, which the Guinness Book of World Records dubbed the “World’s Tallest, Wildest and Strongest Monster Truck.” The later model Bigfoots boasted insane horsepower, 572 cubic inch engines that ripped off anywhere between 1200-1500 bhp. We would almost be scared to dyno run that bad boy!
Believe it or not, there are many car enthusiasts that come into our classic car restoration shop in Los Angeles don’t know the difference between a pony car and a muscle car. You may have hard the terms used interchangeably and wondered if they were one and the same. In addition, many experts disagree on the definitions, making it even more difficult to know the difference. This week, we’ll discuss the definition of a pony car, while we compare the two classifications in our next blog.
The most standard definition of a pony car was inspired by the popular 1964 Ford Mustang: an American class of highly styled car that is compact and affordable yet bears a sporty or performance-oriented image. The term was coined by Dennis Shattuck, the Editor of Car Life magazine, based on the Mustang’s iconic logo of a stallion.
From that point forward, the term was used to describe members of its ranks. The template of these cars has several criteria, including two doors, room for four passengers, a short deck, a sporty long hood and open mouth styling. In addition, for a car to be a true pony car, it needs to be American made and built with mass production parts, which results in an affordable base price. In 1965, that price was around $2,500 and under. These pony cars also offered a bevy of upgrades that made it easy to personalize each car.
While the Mustang was the original pony car, a ton of competitors followed suit over the next few years, striving to compete with its style, performance and affordable price. Some excellent examples of other pony cars include the Pontiac Firebird, Plymouth Barracuda and AMC Javelin, and today’s Chevy Camaro, Dodge Challenger, and of course, the Ford Mustang.
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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, read on for some excellent tips for maximizing performance from our favorite muscle car restoration shop.
Be prepared. This goes for any car owner—keep a fire extinguisher in your garages or hot rod restoration shops and make sure it’s easily accessible. You don’t want to lose your 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.
Tee up. Block dangerous disconnected fuel lines 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.
Be matchy-matchy. 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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Everyone develops their passion for muscle car restoration for different reasons and from wide-ranging inspirations. For some, it was that chase scene in a classic action-packed movie or the teen idol they looked up to growing up. For others, it was a love handed down by their fathers or simply an innate instinct perked by the rumble of a perfectly tuned engine. We all took that spark, let is develop into something more and built our own identities around it: Chevy man, Ford guy, Camaro fanatic or Mustang aficionado.
On the subject of muscle car identities, here is a tough one for you. Would you rather…
Have anonymity: You can build your muscle car dream project but you can never tell or show a soul. No car is off limits; Shelby GT500KR, Olds 442, Dodge Charger; the choice is all yours. Starting with a rusted frame and a mess of an engine block, you prep and pamper until that baby shines. You take it out of the garage and rip it through windy mountain roads. It rumbles and roars and you want the world to see your masterpiece. But the world never will. The roads will always be empty.
Anti-Climax: You can build a string of legendary muscle car restorations, but you can never drive them. You are the host of a popular TV show. Muscle car enthusiasts across the country tune in week in and week out to see your handywork and to pay homage to the king. You rebuild cars for billionaires and dignitaries. You are lauded and revered. But when each project is finished, you have to turn over keys without ever turning over the engine. This is your curse.
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Over the past 10 years, chassis dyno shop testing has grown nationwide, giving the public the opportunity to evaluate engine performance and compare the results with other vehicles. It’s an exciting prospect for car enthusiasts everywhere, but it helps to understand the process a bit.
It’s important to understand that the type of dyno in your car and the method of chassis dyno testing significantly affects your results, check out some dyno shops. The basic types of chassis dyno can be divided into three groups: water-brake or hydraulic dynos, electric dynos and inertia dynos. An inertia dyno is perfect for full-throttle acceleration runs—and that’s pretty much it, though the more modern load-bearing hydraulic and electric dynos can do constant speed pulls, step tests and part-throttle testing in such a sophisticated modern way that full road-load simulations can be conducted right on the dyno.
One of the most widely used forms of chassis dyno testing is the inertia dynos—many car enthusiasts wonder how this method of testing works. Here are the basics—inertia dynos only works when the car is accelerating. It evaluates horsepower by analyzing the dyno drum’s acceleration rate with specialized computer software and an accelerometer, and uses heavy roller drums of known mass rotating on bearings that they are mounted on.
The car is positioned on the dyno with the drive wheels sitting on the rollers, placed in gear and then accelerated at wide-open throttle. As you can imagine, it takes some time and force for the tires to accelerate the weighted rollers. The software monitors roller velocity and acceleration time, while estimating the power of the rear wheels. The software then measures the power and gear-compensated engine torque against engine rpm.
There is a lot more to this growing mode of testing, but this should give you a basic understanding for when you are ready to compare your engine to your buddy’s.
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