Muscle cars flex againWritten by Mark Moses | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember when you actually got up out of your chair and turned a dial to change to one of the three available TV stations? Remember when monsters ruled the streets? Names like Demons, Cobras, Stingrays and Goats filled the parking places at the White Hut and in later years, “Motor Head” at Greenwood Mall. It was not a time for the timid or the weak of heart and if you didn’t like the smell of burning rubber, it was best to stay on the porch with your Grandma.
The colors were bold and accented by chrome. The sounds left a strong pulse in the air and in your soul for minutes after the departure of the intriguing beasts. Under the hoods was unbridled power and only insiders could decode the markings of LS-6, Super Cobra Jet, WS-6, Ram Air IV and Hemi. Interestingly, these beings were crude and raw and usually only did one thing well, go really fast for — of a mile at a time. An interesting time indeed.
And just like the death of the dinosaurs from the ice age or perhaps a crashing comet, the 1970s saw the near extinction of these once dominating beasts. Insurance costs, the Arab oil embargo, and the government’s new emission regulations turned beasts into icons of the past.
Today, these vintage muscle cars can command a hefty price. A Boss 429 Mustang that sold new for just over $4,000 will fetch an easy 6 figure price on today’s market. The kids of the 1960s and 1970s who are now in a position to own one, now found them to be as out of reach and they were in high school. Fret no more, muscle-cars are alive and well and can be found at just about every new car dealer near you. In spite high fuel prices, the passion for hot cars is back.
The three factors that killed the muscle car are exactly what brought us the performance and quality of the “new breed” of performance cars today. Pressure for higher CAFÉ ratings and tighter emission regulations, brought better fuel economy and efficiency and at the same time, more power. Insurance companies pushed safety and today we have air bags and passive restraint systems and anti-lock brakes. Another factor driving today’s industry is competition, not just from the confines of the U.S., but a true global market. Once a group of companies that were thought to build only economy-based cars, companies like Subaru, Toyota and Honda have joined the ranks as factory “tuners.”
A new Ford GT500 Mustang is due out soon with more than
450 HP on tap and even the Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro are scheduled to return. One surprise, at least to me; even Cadillac is trying to enter in the game with a V8 powered sedan, which puts out 400 horsepower. Rumor says, Caddy will bring out a muscle-car version of its CTS sedan with 440 horsepower and a price of more than $70,000.
If you have a car or motorcycle question, e-mail Mark Moses at Mark@MosesAutomotive.com.