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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You took her to an auto restoration shop and fixed every single thing you could. You’ve waxed and wiped the beautiful fully restored muscle car in your garage hundreds of times. You take her to shows and gush about her lovingly. You still love her. You do! But you’ve got your eye on other girls. A curvy Dodge Charger? A Barracuda in need? Don’t beat yourself up, it happens to every muscle car enthusiast worth his salt. Sometimes you’ve just got to move on.
But before you do you’re going to need some cash to fuel your new project. It is really tough to let go of a project, so if you’re going to do it, do it right. Parking it at the local supermarket with a “For Sale” sign in the window isn’t going to cut it. Here are a few tips to get maximum value for your primed and cherry American muscle car.
Keep Detailed Records From Your Auto Restoration Shop
Buying a restored muscle car is an expensive venture. Make sure you have all original paperwork and a detailed history of ownership. You will also want a detailed history of the work you’ve put into the car. Which parts are original? Which parts are after market? Is the big V-8 under the hood stock or have you tweaked it to spike up the horsepower? If you have been organized from he start this should be easy. If not…
Build Up a Buzz
Don’t post an ad or join an auction until you have primed your audience. The internet is loaded with blogs and forums dedicated to specific muscle car makes and models. Got a Mustang to sell? Get on the forums, talk to other enthusiasts, post pictures of your ride. You’ll get a better idea of what your car is worth and you might just find a buyer while you’re at it.
Take the Leap
You can go the fixed price route and advertise on Hemmings.com (hardcopy or online). Or you can go the auction route and hope for a bidding war on eBay Motors. Either way, have a cost window set. What is a fair amount to charge? What is the lowest amount you’ll take?
The biggest thing is to be patient. If the market isn’t right, wait. People love American muscle cars. Bid your time and you’ll find someone who loves that beauty in your garage just as much as you do.
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There’s a reason why classic muscle car restoration is so popular in Los Angeles and across the country. Whether it’s the machine strength, sleek lines or ultra powerful engines that characterize these vehicles, muscle car enthusiasts just cannot get enough of these high performance automobiles.
Muscle Cars Are Always in Demand
If you walk into any auto restoration shop, you’re sure to see several muscle cars getting worked on. Even though newer models and modified versions of the same vehicles are available, muscle cars are in demand. They are popular items among collectors due to their nostalgia factor, but are also in demand among younger drivers, including teenagers who just started driving.
Many American-made classic muscle car restoration are available today as collectors’ items, worth thousands of dollars. The goods news is, their market value continues to grow every year, which is why muscle car restoration in Los Angeles is growing in demand. Muscle cars are also popular in Australia, as well as the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil. These countries were highly influenced by original American muscle cars, prompting car manufacturers to release popular variants during the height of their popularity.
Vintage Cars Command High Prices
If you walk into any auto restoration shop, you will see a wide array of vintage muscle cars, but there are some classics that have a rising value and seem to be a favorite among the collector community. Some of these include the Boss 429 Mustang, which was released in the late 1960s and available into the early 1970s. The 450-horsepower V-8 Chevrolet Chevelle
SS 454 LS6 is another hot item, as is the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am SD455. Other favorites include the 455-cubic inch V-8 engine Oldsmobile 442 W-30, the aerodynamic Dodge Charger Daytona Hemi, the great looking Ford Mustang GT500KR and the hand-assembled Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. And muscle car enthusiasts will tell you—there’s just something about each and every one of these cars.
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image credit: pixabay.com
If you’re working on a custom hot rod or classic American muscle car on your own, chances are you spend a lot of time in the garage by yourself, tinkering around with ratchet and radio the only sounds you hear. If you don’t have a friend to rebuild with, you may want to get consider getting involved with one of the many online communities with members from across the country—and even the globe.
Sometimes you have questions. Sometimes you need advice. And sometimes you just want to shoot the sh—. Online communities are a great way to connect to fellow enthusiasts. Here a few simple ways to get connected.
The Google+ communities section is growing fast and is easy to use. You can search through existing groups or you can start a brand new group, giving yourself more control over content and membership. Here are the search results for hot rods + muscle cars.
You may have to wade through ‘for sale’ posts, but Reddit does aggregate a lot of content from all over the country. Browse around and you’ll find good people and good chats.
Facebook and Twitter
The old war horses of social media. Facebook has a lot of communities connected with muscle car restoration and classic hot rods. These communities are typically less specific than the Google+ communities; you may be one of 100,000 members as opposed to 100 or less. Twitter is good for following updates from the car shows and major brands you like.
Pinterest isn’t just about crafting, fashion and beauty. Believe it or not, many muscle car enthusiasts put their vision boards here so they can keep track of inspiring hot rods and get ideas for restoration.
Click here to see some of the new muscle car restoration posts that go live each week along with our repeat readers. Comment and ask questions—the Brauns community is listening!
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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Arguably the most legendary hot rod of all time, the 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Fastback is a true American classic. It is considered the holy grail of hot rods to auto restoration car enthusiasts. This rare and mythical muscle car restoration machine lives up to its reputation with a 355hp V8 engine.
The Ultimate Hot Rod Restoration Project
If you were to run chassis dyno testing on this timeless vehicle, you would immediately see why it’s revered as the ultimate hot rod restoration project. Shelby added a custom fiberglass hood, nose, and intakes, giving this classic ride its distinctive look. The car featured numerous powerful upgrades from its stock counterpart, including improved carburetors, manifolds, transmission, and braking system.
Unrivaled Manual Transmission
The Shelby had a four speed manual transmission that powered it into the history books—race after race. Due to its immense popularity, it is exceedingly hard to find a well maintained one for sale. That is where Los Angeles auto restoration shops like Brauns really shine. Their skilled mechanics have taken countless weathered classic cars and turned them into truly show-stopping hot rods. The shop is a perfect example of hot rod restoration at its finest.
The GT500 is also the only car to have the distinction of having its own credit in a movie. It is listed as “Eleanor” in the movie Gone in 60 Seconds (the old school original made in 1974, not the remake). This movie essentially solidified the Mustang’s prominence in American pop culture with its groundbreaking chase scenes.
A recently auctioned 967 Shelby GT500 commanded a whopping $1.3 million price tag when all was said and done. Under the hood of this one-of-a-kind Shelby is a 427 cubic-inch V8 from none other than the Ford GT40 racecar. This car is the pinnacle of hot rod restoration—no detail on the vehicle was overlooked and the result was unparraleled.
It’s 1965 and you’re in the grandstands at the Grand American race in Long Beach. Heat is kicking off the asphalt and sun is burning into your retinas. You hold a newspaper over your eyes to block the glare. What the hell is that coming up to the starting line? It looks like a midget delivery truck, red and covered with decals. Is it here to collect debris?
You can’t believe what you’re seeing. This little red wagon wants to race! The lights go green and the driver stomps on the accelerator. BOOM! The little red wagon blasts off the starting line with its nose in the air, full wheely. That wheely sure as hell isn’t slowing it down. It rips through the quarter mile in 11 seconds at 120 mph. You’re on your feet. You’re roaring. You can’t wait to see the little red wagon line’em up again.
You weren’t the only one to get jacked-up about the little guy that day. The Little Red Wagon gave birth to the wheelstanding era. It said (bleep) you to I think I can, I think I can and became an instant hot rod classic.
Why and how?
The 60’s were a time of extreme experimentation for drag racing. Chrysler wanted to sell more pick-ups and saw a chance for symbiosis. Using the A100 model as a jumping off point Jim Schaffer and John Collier made the adjustments needed to fit a 426 HEMI in the bed just behind the cabin.
They wanted a fast truck. The fact that they ended up with a wheely popping red devil was just a happy accident. One they didn’t discover until legendary driver Bill “Maverick” Golden got behind the wheel to film a commercial. The Little Red Wagon gave him a two-wheel thrill ride. Maverick fabricated a brake system that let him steer while the wheels were high. He hit the the road starting in Long Beach.