Powerful and graceful: 10 legendary American muscle cars

1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. Mustang cars, modified by American racer and designer Carroll Shelby, were the cherished dream of every true Mustang fan. Released in 1965 and 1966, the Shelby GT350 models were not only powerful, but elegant and light, perfect for travel.

After a couple of years, this Shelby philosophy has changed: now his cars actively participated and won in sprint races of racing competitions. So, under the hood of the Shelby GT 500 of 1967 and 1968 there was an engine with a capacity of 355 hp. and a volume of 428 cubic inches. The increased body length and more aggressive appearance of the car distinguished the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 from the 1965 GT-350 model.

A little-known fact: the 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby models used the side lights of the Mercury Cougar, and the 1968 models used the side lights of the '66 Ford Thunderbird.

1984 Chevy Corvette. The third generation of American sports cars Corvette has come a long way, which actually lasted from 1968 to 1982. Therefore, the launch of the C4 Corvette caused a huge stir and a real storm of rumors and speculation. Some argued that the car will have a rotary engine, like the Mazda, and someone predicted the central location of the engine, like the Italian "exotic."

In the end, the new model was not so revolutionary. The first 1984 Chevy Corvette were powered by a 205 liter V8 engine. from. But by changing the fuel injection system, power increased, and with it productivity. In 1990, the Corvette ZR1 was launched based on the C4, powered by a 375-hp V8 LT5 engine.

A little-known fact: despite the fact that 1982 was the last year of the third-generation Corvette, the new model was decided not to be released in 1983, but to wait until 1984. Why? Some argue that it took more time to develop, others talk about production failures. In any case, all 1983 Corvette prototypes were destroyed, except for one - a white car, which can be seen at the Corvette National Automobile Museum.

1969 Dodge Charger Daytona and his fellow 1970 Plymouth Superbird are perhaps the most radical muscle cars. But the Daytona was not born for street racing. Her goal was much higher: Nascar racing on super-fast oval tracks. To increase speed, the Daytona creators worked to improve aerodynamics by adding various “noses” to the Dodge Charger 500. As a result, the Dodge Charger Daytona has an 18-inch nose fairing and a 23-inch rear wing, which provides additional stability and downforce. The result was impressive: the Daytona was the first to exceed 320 km / h in Nascar racing. After numerous Daytona victories, a change in Nascar regulation forced them to stop racing. Cars equipped with the legendary 440 or 426 Hemi engines are popular to this day - collectors, buying them at auctions, are ready to part with an amount of $ 150 thousand.

A little-known fact: the aerodynamic modification of the Daytona helped reduce the drag coefficient to 0.28 (compared to other Charger models) - this is an excellent figure by today's standards. But the question is: should the rear wing really be so huge as to increase downforce? It is believed that no. And the size of the Daytona wing is due to the need to open the trunk lid in the serial version.

1970 Oldsmobile 442. Model 442 of the American automobile brand Oldsmobile got its name thanks to its four-chamber carburetor, four-speed manual gearbox and double muffler. The Oldsmobile 442 was created based on the Oldsmobile Cutlass model and has become a popular muscle car in the Oldsmobile family. Its platform was adopted by two other GM cars - the Chevy Chevelle SS and the Pontiac GTO. Like GTO, at first the Oldsmobile 442 differed only in the level of equipment. But in 1970, Oldsmobile 442 offered an impressive V8 engine with a capacity of 455 cubic inches - especially for those who wanted to get the maximum speed from the car. Equipped with W30 elements, the engine produced 360 hp. and allowed to accelerate to 100 km / h in just 6 seconds.

A little-known fact: actor James Garner raced the NORRA Mexican 1000 in a 1970 Oldsmobile 442, where he became second in class. This car was built by the legendary Victor Hickey especially for James Garner, she was nicknamed Goodyear Grabber. An engine of 410 cubic inches (6.7 liters) was with an aluminum block and developed more than 500 forces, and a sports gas tank of 50 gallons (189 liters) was installed in the back. Today the car is restored and put up for sale.

1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. The 1970s became a pale semblance for muscle cars in previous decades: rising fuel prices and insurance made manufacturers restrain their ardor for super-powerful cars. This has affected almost all car brands. But not Pontiac! Their Trans Am has become the darling of the public since the release of the film "Police Officer and Bandit" (1977). In 1978, the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am model increased power from 200 to 220 hp. The special WS6 package added wider 8-inch wheels, new tires and fast steering to the car. As a result, Pontiac Trans Am became much more agile and faster on the track than the Chevy Corvette.

A little-known fact: in 1976, the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am began to be produced with a T-top body. The roofs were first made by Hurst, and they were named Hurst Hatch. But there was a problem: the roofs were leaking. Then Pontiac and Fisher (GM) developed their own roofs for the T-top, which were launched in mid-1978. So some 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am have T-top Hurst roofs, and some have Fisher. To distinguish, be aware: the glass panels on Fisher roofs are larger than on Hurst Hatch.

1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429. The golden years of Nascar came in the late 70s and early 80s of the twentieth century. Automakers took races seriously and in order to homologate (for the model to participate in races, a serial analogue was to be produced in a batch of at least 500 copies) often produced extremely dangerous models for the streets. A real beast was known as a Mustang Boss 429 car: its V8, with a volume of 429 cubic inches, produced 375 hp. and 6000 rpm. But the engine was so massive that it did not fit into the classic Mustang engine compartment. Ford then contracted with Kar Kraft to eliminate all interference. Kar Kraft specialists had to redo half of the elements to free up space and literally squeeze the engine. Today at auction, the 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 model goes for more than $ 200, 000.

A little-known fact: in the first cars, an S-Code engine was created, designed specifically for racing. But S-Code had problems with a guarantee, possibly due to an incorrect build process. He was replaced by a T-Code with lighter parts. The latest version of A-Code for Boss 429 appeared at the very end of production.

1970 Chevy Chevelle LS6. When GM softened its previous requirements, which prohibited the installation of engines of more than 400 cubic inches on medium-sized cars, a real boom in muscle cars occurred in the American automotive industry. Oldsmobile installed a 455 cubic inch engine in its 422 engine, while Chevy equipped the Chevelle SS with a unique 454 cubic inch V8.

According to the most conservative estimates, the power of the LS6 was 450 hp, but according to some experts, due to the high compression ratio (11.25: 1) and the huge Holley 780 CFM carburetor, the real power of the LS6 was close to 500 hp. Employees of the magazine Car and Driver tested the car in 1970 and claimed that it picks up 100 km / h in 5.4 seconds and runs 400 m in 13.8 seconds. Think about how much faster this car would be today, with modern rubber. Among all cars, the LS6 delivers the highest horsepower.

A little-known fact: it was planned for the release of the LS7 with 465 hp, but it never officially went on sale, and the power of the LS6 Corvette, released in 1971, dropped to 425 hp.

1969 Pontiac GTO Judge. In the early 1960s, Pontiac was a leader in the production of "muscle cars" - often the GTO is called the first muscle car. But by 1968, the car had too many competitors. Then the idea came up to create a cheaper version of GTO with a small engine of 350 cubic inches. Chief Engineer John De Lorian did not approve of this venture - in his opinion, the GTO could not have such a small engine. As a result, the new model was different from the traditional GTO: the Judge was equipped with a 360 hp Ram Air III engine, but customers could also choose a Ram Air IV at 370 hp. The rarest were the convertibles GTO Judge Ram Air IV - they were released only 5 copies in 1969.

A little-known fact: American rock band Paul Revere & the Raiders took part in the filming of the official Pontiac GTO Judge commercial. The musicians, being fans of the automobile brand, dedicated a song to him.

1969 COPO Camaro. COPO (Central Office Production Order) is a special ordering system that was created for the sale of special cars in large quantities, for example, police cars with heavy duty suspensions or taxi cars with special salons. But enterprising car dealers with the right connections managed to place an order for Camaro in the same way. So, by production order No. 9561, cars were produced with large eight-cylinder V8 engines with a working volume of 7 liters and developed a power of 425 hp.

A little-known fact: the ZL-1 aluminum engine in the previous 9560 COPO Camaro was essentially racing - it was developed for Chaparral Cars to compete in Can Am races. It is curious that on the ZL-1 engine there are no external signs that would distinguish it from others, only the Camaro logo.

1987 Buick GNX. In the 80s, it seemed that the “muscle cars” had already outlived their own. But Buick took an unexpected step forward in the development of muscle cars, releasing the Buick GNX with a turbocharged V6 engine. The power of Grand National (of which Buick GNX “grew”) increased from 245 to 276 hp. The car accelerates to 100 km / h in just 4.6 seconds. Buick GNX immediately became one of the fastest cars on the market. In total, only 547 copies of the model were released.

A little-known fact: after the discontinuation of Buick GNX, a lot of “extra” engines remained. They were used to create the anniversary 1989 Trans Am.


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