Gut Rumbles

May 16, 2005

muscle cars

I read this post and I started to salivate. I grew up in the heyday of muscle cars, hot-rods and really fast vehicles that you could drag-race with right off the show room floor. I lusted after a Chevy Chevelle 396, an Olds 442, a Dodge 427 hemi, a GTO or even a Road Runner or a Super Bee. Those cars would FLY, and speed is intoxicating when you are young.

If you drive around southside Savannah today, you may encounter "Sallie Mood Drive." It's a long, straight stretch of road that intersects Eisenhower Boulevard and Montgomery Crossroads, and it's got all kinds of shit built up around it now. Back when I was in high school and during my early college years, that piece of pavement was called Meridian Road, and there wasn't a damn thing out there but woods on both sides of that long, straight road.

Some clever fellow went out there and marked off a quarter-mile with orange flourescent paint on the pavement and that's where everybody went to race their cars. Meridian Road was smack dab in the Middle of Nowhere at the time, and I don't think the police minded people running drag out there as long as we didn't kill ourselves or bother anyone else.

I saw a lot of money change hands over those races, but I never saw a wreck. It was a good place to drive fast. I still remember watching those races and wishing that I had a muscle car.

I ended up with a 1972 Javelin, which wasn't bad--- but it damn sure couldn't run with the really Tall Dogs. I could go from a dead stop to 80 MPH in the quarter, but that wasn't nearly good enough. Some of those other machines would leave me sucking exhaust fumes. They were still peeling rubber when they crossed the marker. I liked my car, but I never bet on it in a race. I couldn't beat the Bad Boys and I knew it.

One of the few fantasies I still have in this life is to own a vintage muscle-car, fully restored to original condition and ready to rock 'n roll. Part of that is nostalgia and part of it is just the fact that I LIKE THOSE CARS!!! They were sleek, good-looking and FAST!!! You can't buy 'em like that anymore.

I'm still partial to a '57 Chevy Bel Air, but I'd take a GTO in a heartbeat.

(UPDATE: Call me a liar if you want to, but I saw a 1966 Mustang with...what... a 286.. a 289 engine in it?... beat a LOT of bigger cars in the quarter. That thing was quick off the line and it could max out before the Big Boys ever got warmed up. That's the truth.)


My lustful heart beats after a 69 Charger. Those were the days they knew how to make cars.

Posted by: tincanman on May 16, 2005 09:09 PM


My friend had a 69 Z-28 w. a 302 that could smoke the 454 SS 'velles and 455 Goats. Of course, he had over $5000 in the engine (in 1984 dollars) and was running some ungodly compression like 14 to 1. Car was fast as hell, but very, very fickle about WHEN it wanted to run.

Posted by: rightisright on May 16, 2005 09:21 PM

It can be expensive. My buddy Paulie is in for about $10K so far, and he and his brother (a serious drag racer -- funny car) do most of the work themselves..

It's got the 389 with some kind of hopped up cam, a bigass carburator and a special rear end that will leap off the line.

It's a gem.

Posted by: Jim - PRS on May 16, 2005 09:45 PM

Didn't they use the 289 motor as the base for the Shelby GT-350's as well?

Posted by: tincanman on May 16, 2005 09:49 PM

I think so. Also believe that the 302 was a modification of the smallblock 289. At one time the five liter (302) Mustang was about the hottest thing on the road in its price range. Problem was it has more guts than suspension and was dangerous on a flat curve-try to power out and flip!

Posted by: GUYK on May 16, 2005 09:59 PM

Always a Chevy guy, but Dodge had it down. Real muscle cars. Charger, Challenger, Hemi Cuda, Super Bee, Roadrunner. Fuck!

Posted by: Velociman on May 16, 2005 10:38 PM

Yep. And the Charger with the 318 was one tough machine. Not as fast as some but damn sure durable. My boy tore up every thing I put him in until I bought him a 74 Charger with the 318. In Alaska at the time and he kept the road thawed between Fairbanks and Anchorage. Couldn't get the best of the engine although he did wreck the car a couple of times. Dodge screwed up when they quit producing the 318 a few yeaRS AGO.

Posted by: GUYK on May 16, 2005 10:53 PM

In my early 20's I had a fire engine red, 69 chevy camero. The license plate was "PRL NKLC" (Pearl necklace, after the ZZ Top song). I miss that car.

Posted by: Maeve on May 17, 2005 12:08 AM

The GT-350s were K code solid lifter 289s. Stock bottom end with really no more than a set of headers, an aluminum intake, and 715 cfm Holley. They made a little over 300 hp. I have a '66 289 in my play pretty. Puts down a touch over 400 hp. Wont go into the buildup list but it's pretty extensive. I've wasted Vipers, Vettes, Camaros, Porsches, and an asshole in a Ferrari with it. Have had my ass kicked by heavily massaged big blocks and forced induction cars as well.

Posted by: bitterman on May 17, 2005 12:36 AM

Yep. I remember all those old muscle cars too. My favorite was the '69 Mustang Fastback with the 351 Cleveland engine. I had a lot of money in the engine on that car but I won most of it back during weekend drag races. One thing about being a young man and owning a muscle car was that you always had your pick of girls that wanted to ride around with you. Loved them days. Sure do miss them.

Posted by: assrot on May 17, 2005 08:22 AM

1972 LeMans (poor man's Goat) with the big block 400, Holley 350 turbo tranny, true dual exhaust, and four different colors of bondo/black spray paint.

Talk about sleepers. Car looked like ass, but the motor and tranny were brand-spankin' new and rarin' to go...

Buddy of mine at the time had a 1971 Cutlass S - Olds Rocket 350 - with the Hurst "his-n-hers" shifter (dualgate). He and I used to troll around for the posers in their stock 5.0L Mustangs (this was the late 1980s) that mommy & daddy gave 'em for high school graduation.

You wanna see a poser cry? Leave their shiny new Mustang GT in a mess 'o' tire smoke in an old bondo bucket...

Posted by: Jay G on May 17, 2005 08:57 AM

In 62 I rode to work in a black 58 Impala 348 tri-power convertible. I still remember someone coming along side at 60 MPH and Danny threw into 2nd and pulled away. Also remember the song “Hot Rod Lincoln” by Commander Cody. The telephone poles looked like a picket fence?

Posted by: Ivan Ivanovich on May 17, 2005 10:21 AM

I also lust for a muscle car, specifically a 1969 Plymouth GTX with a 440 wedge. Prefer a 4 speed.

Funny thing is, a modern "Muscle Car" like the new 400 HP GTO or the new 300 HPMustang GT will usually blow off an old muscle car, and get twice the gas mileage, and start every day. Of couse, they just don't sound like a Big Block Chevelle or MoPar.

Posted by: JoeB on May 17, 2005 11:01 AM

Screw the land boat muscle cars. Get yourself a Cobra reproduction with a built 427 under the hood. If you're as crazy as I am, it's not hard to get upwards of 900 horsepower out of them with a pair of turbochargers.

900 ponies in a car that weighs 2,000 pounds is like having sex while jumping out of an airplane on crack.

Posted by: Mr. Lion on May 17, 2005 11:06 AM

When i was 15 (circa 2000) i found an old 74 chevelle malibu, with the factory 400 smallblock. add a carb, intake and duel exhaust, and it just friggin screamed.

nothing in the world more fun than leaving a football game on friday night and hunting those little bastards in rice grinders inspired by "the fast and the furious", with thier retarded spoilers and coffee can mufflers, and kicking the living shit outa em.

best one was when i smoked this little shit from a local private school, in his spanky new firebird, while his girlfriend was riding shotgun, after much shit talk at the light

this winter i had the motor punched .30 over, added new aluminum heads, nitrous and a new trans and rear end. can't wait to light 'er off, hopefully tomorow night.

Posted by: Heath on May 17, 2005 06:38 PM

Has an old '64 Ford Falcon Sprint rag-top with a 260 V8 and a 411 rear-end. Sucker would get off the line before most of the Big Dogs. I'd get more than half the quarter done before the other guys got traction. But when they did, look out.
Too GUYK, the 260 block was the same on they used all the way up to the 350, just bored out and different heads for the valves. The 260 didn't have a ton of power but it had killer torque for getting off the line.
Wish I still had that Falcon.

Posted by: Wichi Dude on May 19, 2005 01:59 PM
Post a comment

*Note: If you are commenting on an older entry, your
comment will not appear until it has been approved.
Do not resubmit it.