5 Classic Muscle Cars

muscle car restorationWhether you don’t know what defines a muscle car or if you can wax poetic about chassis dyno testing, we’re certain you can appreciate the sight of a classic muscle car restoration. They’re beasty and loud yet at the same time beautiful and graceful—a classic muscle car gets us all going at least a little bit.
Here are just a few of the greats:

1. Pontiac Firebird

Just the name reminds many of Burt Reynolds’ baby in Smokey and the Bandit and evokes images of those painted-hood icons of the ‘80s. A close relative of the Chevy Camaro, the Firebird actually dates way back to the ‘60s and is considered one of the best muscle cars on the market.

2. 1970 Boss 302 Mustang

This serious vehicle features the high-rev Boss 302 V8 engine, which was perfect for a little racing action with its ability to reach zero-to-60-mph sprint in less than seven seconds.

3. 1970 Hemi Barracuda

We had to include this hemi in this list—even those who haven’t a clue what chassis dyno testing is probably have heard of the infamous hemi. This car was completely redesigned in 1970 with five high-powered V8 engines that generated an unrivaled 425 horsepower.

4. 1970 Chevelle 454 SS

Ah, the Chevelle—one of the most classic of the bunch. This baby packs the engine—with about 7.4 liters to be exact—giving it tremendous power that was difficult to compete with. Still highest-output production car to date, this car and its engine was a force to be reckoned with when it came to power wars.  

5. 1969 Dodge Charger

Everyone remembers the General Lee from the iconic television show, The Dukes of Hazzard—it was the baddest of the early Dodge Chargers. While its standard engine brought 375 horsepower, the 426 Hemi gave it a full 425.
Whether you’re a newbie to the muscle car world or are an expert in chassis dyno testing, we know you’ll take notice whenever one of these classics flies by.  Click here for information on our classic muscle car restoration shop. 

5 Tips & Tricks for Muscle Car Performance

hot rod restorationWhether 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 .

Be Prepared

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.

Tee Up

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.

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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There’s Something About Muscle Cars

classic muscle car restorationThere’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

Top 5 Muscle Cars to Restore

chassis dyno testingIf you’ve been chassis dyno testing your rides for years, then you know these cars well. This is not a list of rarities or cars that fetch the most at auction. This is a sensible list; a list of American classics that combine reasonable purchase price, availability of parts and resell priceprojects that any muscle car enthusiast can restore and drive with pride.

#5 – Pontiac GTO – 1971-’72

Early models can be pricey but ’71-’72 versions are still in range for the average enthusiast. The body design has that mean and beefy look and a lot of body and trim parts have been reproduced. The top engine available for this model was the 455 HO V-8 rated at 335 hp. Their are a ton of GTO fans out there so reselling at the end of your restoration shouldn’t be hard.

#4 – Chevrolet Corvette – 1978-’82

A lot of rebuilds start out as rust buckets on the back of a trailer. But, if your not looking to dig that deep this could be your ride. Many of these are available in drivable condition and there are a bunch of Corvette specialists selling reproduction parts and high-performance speed parts. If you want to bring in the big money you’ll have to be flawless in your restoration, but a ‘vette is a ‘vetteinterest will always be there.

#3 – Dodge Charger – 1968-’70

Charger is one of the most desired and respected names in the world of American muscle cars. Production numbers were high so these models aren’t difficult to find and every mechanical part is obtainable. Naturally the bigger the engine the higher the restoration price. But if you can afford to drop-in a 426 Street HEMI that kicks out 425 bph during chassis dyno testing, why wouldn’t you splurge? Plus, the Dukes of Hazzard drove one of these. The General Lee. We’re just saying.

#2 – Chevrolet Camaro – 1967 – ’69

They look great. They are easy to get parts for. They are fun to drive—and they can be built fast and mean thanks to a booming aftermarket for performance parts. What’s not to like? The first generation Camaros came with a lot of engine options the biggest factory offer being the L78 SS396 a 396 cubic inch V8 with 375 hp.

#1 – Ford Mustang – 1964 -’68

You didn’t think we would have a Top 5 list without a ‘Stang on it did you? Mustangs are perfect starter projects. They tend to be affordable and literally every part is available via catalogue or website. The support clubs are great and even forums can be helpful. Early model Mustangs are among the easiest restoration projects to resell. Do a good job on this one and maybe you’ll be able to dip into Shelby territory next round.
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Do Muscle Cars Attract Girls?

muscle car restorationWhile the classic muscle car restoration industry is typically a man’s world, there is a slew of women who love muscle cars and the men who drive them. They may not actually drive them, but they certainly appreciate them. And chances are, if you’ve done any form of hot rod restoration yourself, then you may have already reaped some of the benefits.
Ultimately, it may be the guy behind the wheel that attracts the girls, but when that guy does his own muscle car restoration, his cool factor rises tenfold. While not all vehicles will have the same effect on women, there’s definitely something sexy about muscle cars and hot rods. You don’t hear many female characters on television talking about the cute guy driving that red Prius or the white Jetta, but you definitely hear about the hottie with the Hemi engine.

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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Hot Rod and Muscle Car Communities

Muscle CarIf 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.

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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!