American Muscle Cars: A Full-Throttle History by Darwin Holmstrom, Tom Glatch

By Darwin Holmstrom, Tom Glatch

A muscle motor vehicle symbolizes freedom. It used to be freedom that introduced the muscle automobile into lifestyles ─ the liberty of inexpensive fuel and open roads, the liberty provided via the postwar American dream, the liberty to move with reference to wherever and just do approximately whatever. while Pontiac advertised its GTO to the baby-boom iteration, the vehicles, the folks who drove them, and the days during which the 2 got here jointly resulted in one of many maximum tales in car background. whilst these first fortunate dealers cranked up the 360-horsepower Tri-Power 389 engines and drove their GTOs off broker plenty, these vehicles took their proprietors towards event, romance, luck, the long run. American Muscle vehicles tells the tale of the main outstanding and fascinating vehicles ever to return out of Detroit. it is a tale of flat-out functionality advised at full-throttle, illustrated with appealing sleek and historic images.

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Not that the Chevys performed poorly in NASCAR—Chevrolets won 14 Grand National races in 1962 and placed second in Pontiac’s Super Duty engines made the brand a formidable competitor at drag strips and NASCAR ovals. Archives/TEN: The Enthusiast Network Magazines, LLC. the manufacturer’s championship behind Pontiac— but the sell-on-Monday part of the win-on-Sunday equation only worked if a car won; the second-place winner was just the first loser. BURNOUTS AND BACK SEAT BINGO 43 409: Biggest Chevy Yet “The 409 is, in hot rod terminology, a bored and stroked version of the 348 .

In fact, that engine block formed the basis of every Pontiac V-8 of the classic muscle car era. When introduced in 1955, the engine displaced just 287 cubic inches, but engineers had left plenty of room to punch out increasingly bigger holes, which they proceeded to do each year. In 1956 they bored it to 316 cubic inches. In 1957 they took it to 347 cubic inches, and in 1958 to 370 cubic inches. The following year they punched it out to 389 cubic inches, a capacity that would soon prove to be significant.

Chevrolet responded with a sporty SS package for the Chevy II, which featured special trim, bucket seats, and enhanced instrumentation, but still no V-8. The Nova SS retained Chevy’s unsporting inline six. In 1964 the Chevy II finally got a proper V-8. Although not a fire-breather like the 427-cubicinch Mark II big-block race motor, the two-barrel 283-cubic-inch small-block V-8 in the Chevy II produced 195 horsepower, enough to propel the diminutive Chevrolet through the quarter-mile traps in 18 seconds.

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