Change Of Focus And Time To Expand This Blog

While I have always said this blog is both to expand the horizons for the Muscle Car Universe and to help promote myself as a possible recipient for an interested investor; I am now at the crossroads for a slightly new direction with what I am doing here.  It has been long enough for me to harp on the possible money that can and is being made with regard to these cars and instead I am going to relate some of the stories from my younger years when these vehicles were a daily part of my life. 

The problem anyone finds when telling or retelling an episode from 30 or 40 years ago is that inevitably, the cars get faster and the “fish” gets 6 inches bigger, so to speak.  But in fairness, I will at least keep these tall tales within the realm of possibilities……or try to anyway.  Remember please that these instances happened a long time ago when the world was a much simpler place and in an area where you would best describe as rural…not urban in setting….and of course since no body was killed, the statute of limitations has definitely run out so there can be no legal repercussions.  LOL

Somehow, one of the most maligned cars from the Muscle Car Era was the Chevrolet Nova.  The Nova was the replacement for the boxy little Chevy II/Nova from the early and mid 1960’s.  The car was available with 2 or 4 doors in a sedan or a coupe body and because of it’s smaller size was very popular with the young crowd.  It’s low price didn’t hurt either.  And when you combine all that with the fact that the engine selection ran the gamut from a straight 6 cylinder to the small block V8’s and then all the way up to either the 396 big block and for a couple years anyway, even the 454.  It was a street racers dream.

The problem with the Nova, and there were a few, was it was an early attempt at unibody construction.  That means it had front and rear frames that were welded to the floor pan to make the chassis.  Most cars during the time used a full frame and the body sat on the frame.  This full frame made for a sturdy base to support the tendency of a large engine to try to “torque twist” the entire car when you launched hard from a standstill.  Basically the torque of the engine twisting the driveshaft to spin the rear tires makes the car try to spin like a clock when viewed from the rear of the vehicle.  With a full frame the steel ridges down each side of the car and the cross braces help keep everything in place.  With a unibody it was stamped sheet metal trying to hold everything in place.  Similar to expecting a sheet of aluminum foil to do the work of a roasting pan.  Exaggeration but you get the point.

The benefit of this flex though was that the body/frame flex did help keep the tires contact patch actually in contact with the road.  Some of the hardest neck snapping launches were in those little Novas.  But almost every one of those cars developed what is referred to as “doglegging”.  That is where the twist or flex in the frame makes the car go down the road slightly sideways.  Not good if you want your tires to wear correctly or want your front end alignment to not make the car shake at anything over 40 mph.  Like I said this was especially prevalent in those Nova’s that had the big block V8’s or had just been driven hard by some young kid trying to impress his friends.

Back in the 60’s and the 70’s nearly every kid in High School either had or knew someone who had some kind of a muscle car.  They were a fact of life.  Gasoline was under 50 cents a gallon and $5 kept you driving around town all Friday night.  Get 2 or 3 friends together and pool your gas money and even when your car got 6 or 8 miles to the gallon a mere $10 covered the weekend.

The reason I mention the Nova is this.  The only car that ever pulled a wheelie in the parking lot at East Noble High School in Kendalville, Indiana during the spring of 1976 was a 1970 SS396 Nova.  I know because I was in the passenger seat when my friend Brad did it.  And it was all anyone talked about for the next couple months….until the end of the school year and we all graduated.  And no, it was not factory stock.  Back then very few cars were.  You put headers and Lakewood ladder traction bars and glass pack exhaust and usually a 1/4 or half race cam.  And get rid of the Rochester Quadrajet carb and put a Holley Double Pumper and maybe an intake manifold.  By the time you were done with a $1000 upgrade your 350 horsepower stock engine was pushing 450 plus.  Then you needed to take your skinny rear tires and put some 60 or 50 series tires on a nice set of Cragar SS Mags.  Cause that power does no good if the car just sits there cooking rubber.  After all, no kid in 1976 could afford to buy new tires every couple months.

This isn’t the actual car, but rather a representative of what it was.  Manual 4 speed transmission and bench front seat.  Nothing real fancy, just fast as hell and this one does not have the Cragar SS nor the Goodyear 50’s that Brad had on his Nova.  Color is correct though, too bad that nobody thought we needed to actually document these cars for a time when they would be the Dinosaurs of a long past era.

Davey boy


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