Posts Tagged ‘Ford’

Bloated or “Chubby”?

December 29, 2015

1969 Camaro SS not avail 454When the final year for the “original style Camaro came around the model year was 1969, and despite the “454” emblems on the pictured car it was not a “factory choice” back then.  The cubic inch limit remained the 396 for big blocks other than a handful of “COPO vehicles” that snuck through.

1971 Camaro split bumperFor the redesign in 1970 (technically known as 1970 1/2 for collectors) not everyone liked the new style.  Production had been 230,799 Camaros for 1969 and fell to 117,604 for 1970.  Collectors all try to explain the big drop to a limited production run due to a labor strike, but facts are that the 1971 production fell to 107,496 and then in 1972 it went even lower to 68,656.   So no matter if you are a fan of the redesign or not- most buyers at that time were not.

The reason I bring any of this up is due to the age old argument about the “fat Mustang years”.  The redesign of the Camaro added 2 inches to the overall length yet people say the Camaro got much bigger.  Maybe they were referring to the .4 (less than 1/2 an inch) increase in width.  The one loss with the changeover was that Camaro no longer came in a convertible style.

1970 Mustang Fastback

For the Mustang its final year for the “Original style” (yes, technically there had been redesigns before) was 1970.  The designers needed a larger engine compartment for the available engine choices and decided to make the car seem larger to compete with the true “Muscle Cars”.  Basically it was time for the Mustang to grow up.

1971 Mustang Sportroof Mach 1Their new design was this.  1 inch more in wheelbase; it was now 109 instead of 108.  (The Camaro did not change their wheelbase from the 108 in 1969.)  Where it grew ever slightly was also the overall length- from 187.4 inches to 190 even.  The biggest gain was the width from 71.7 to 75.  All that rear sheetmetal also raised the base weight almost 180 pounds.  The look made the Mustang seem much larger than it really was.  To buyers or those who test drove it there were glaring deficiencies with the design.

You sat down much lower it seemed in the seat and the dash was higher and with the taller roofline and those huge rear quarters there was a severe blindspot.  Add the angle of the rear window and the rear view through the mirror was as if you were looking through a gun slot in a tank.

The redesign for the Mustang also saw production fall from 1970 (197,046) to 1971 (149,628) to 1972 (125,093).  Despite what many “Collectors” consider ugly years for the Mustang it still outsold everything in its class (Pony Cars) just as it had since the model was introduced halfway through 1964.  And it did so by impressive margins.  Today because of those production numbers you can buy a Mustang for about half of what a Camaro goes for.  And that will continue to earn the Mustang “collector status”.

Davey Boy

Where I Have Been And Why I Am Back

December 26, 2013

1970-Ford-Mustang convertAs an “Internet Journalist” I have the opinion that people want to hear what I have to say. Now that does not mean you have to agree with me.  And it certainly does not mean you need to hang on every word I say or follow along with any of my business practices.  What it does mean is that I feel there is something I have to share and to enrich you or the automotive community as a whole.

This being said, the internet is full of companies claiming to give a journalist the platform to share his or her opinions with the promise of actually getting paid for it.  The problem is those companies all seem to be blowing smoke when they make their claims. They want you to be a member for months and months before you qualify for payment then they give mere pennies while they rake in dollars.  Typical B.S. for today’s society yet sooner or later it all comes to light and those Multi-Million or Multi-Billion Dollar companies end up being worth the mere pennies they pay out and the only person who makes money is the guy who started the business and then sold out to “Investors” who now own “Toilet Paper”.  The actual “authors” move on to the next new deal and keep plugging away.  To them it is the words that drive them not the profit.  In the collector vehicle business the money is in the cars and the concepts behind buying and selling and even restoring them, not in writing about how it was done.

Enough of my rants and ramblings and onto the subject of discussion.  The New Year is almost upon us and January means the “Auction Season” is here.  As I have stated in the past… to most it means Arizona but to me it means Florida.  The hype and “show biz types” tend to go local and stay in Arizona since it is in their area of the country.  That is fine with me because there are more cars and more bargains in Florida at the Mecum Auction.  This has grown to become the “Largest Auction” of the year with around 3000 cars crossing the auction floor.  And that number is still climbing every year.  The 1970 Mustang Convertible shown is up for sale this year.  Even with its 302 V8, it makes a nice summer driver.

1986-Pontiac-Trans-Am 305 ttop Also crossing the block will be this 1986 Pontiac Trans Am with its 305 “tuned port” V8.  These vehicles and ones from its era are gaining traction as “Collector Cars” due to the fact that in most states they are now “emission-exempt”.  That means you are now able to retune or replace the engine without needing to install catalytic converters or smog devices.  Despite the 200 to 300 horsepower available from “factory versions” of these, you can now legally get 400 plus from the GM small block V8’s without spending more than the value of the car.  The added benefit of using this car over its 1960’s or 1970’s counterpart is that you gain better handling for the street or the track in stock form.  You also get vastly improved brakes with discs VS. drums (for earlier versions).  Third reason and most importantly for “new” collectors is that this car can be bought for around $10,000 in most parts of the country versus $20-30,000 for a “Bandit Trans Am” or even $50-60,000 for a first generation T/A.

1971-Dodge-Demon-GSS 340 tripower Then for the “hard-core gearheads” we get to a vehicle that probably represents a “Last Hurrah” for the Muscle Car Era.  This is a 1971 Dodge Dart Demon GSS.  The GSS designation is due to it being sold and equipped through “Grand Spaulding Dodge” which was better known as “Mr. Norms” dealership.  Mr. Norm was a “Muscle Car Icon” during the time of the Muscle Car Era and vehicles left his dealership with certified “dynamometer” papers to show what they were putting out in the power department.  He was the driving force behind several of Mopars “enhanced” models.  Because of the fact his dealership would drop a bigger V8 into your new car even if the factory didn’t offer it, he was also a driving force behind the “Horsepower Wars” of the 1960-70’s.  This particular car has the “Six-Pack” setup on its 340 cid engine.  And because it is a Mopar with “history” it will probably sell for serious cash and deservedly so.

70 Torino 351 4v convertible Final car for this post is this 1970 Ford Torino Convertible.  It retains its 351 Cleveland engine and 4 barrel carburation just as it left the factory with.  The Torino does not get the following of the Mustang but it was Fords true “Muscle Car” representative.  It was a midsize vehicle and every power option was available for it that Ford offered up to and including the 428 and 429 Cobra Jet engines.  Add a top that comes down and for around half of what a Oldsmobile 442 hardtop or Buick GS 455 hardtop will cost you.

So while these are only 4 of the 3000+ cars waiting to run through Mecums January Auction, they represent a wide range of what is out there.  Happy bidding.

Davey Boy

Expanding The Hobby and What Needs To Be Done To Save Collector Vehicles As a Business

December 23, 2013

ImageImageAs the photo from the January 2008 Gooding Auction in Arizona depicts, the “Collector Car Hobby” is decidedly an “Old Caucasian Guy Hobby”.  Therein lies the problem.  Whether anyone likes it or not, and despite claims to the “increasing” health of the  hobby of “Collector Vehicles”; there needs to be fresh blood or the “hobby” will eventually die.  That is because the hobbyists are eventually going to die and as every auction has shown the heirs seem to be more interested in “cashing in” than they are in continuing the legacy that was started.

While everyone in the “hobby” dreams of finding that million dollar car that puts them on the map as a collector, most simply collect cars that mean something to them personally.  The Auctions that come every January in Arizona are big draws for buyers as well as the casual fan of the “Old Cars”.  But those over priced multi million dollar Ferrari’s and the like are not helping to draw anyone new into the hobby.  A first time buyer sees the auctions on their Cable ( or Satellite ) Television feed and thinks these are what the “hobby” is all about.  The truth is they amount to very little in actual count.  There are somewhere around 10,000 cars a year that are run through “major” auctions and few draw the million dollars you see on television.

Average prices are closer to the $50,000 mark and even that is a steep price for admission to the hobby for a first time buyer.  I don’t have a solution to the problem of getting new people into the hobby, except to say the way to grow the hobby is to bring in a bigger demographic for your base.  That means “minorities”.  Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, any minority.  The Rappers and “Hip/Hop” artists seem to be into flashy big dollar vehicles that are new and the “Pro Athletes” are as well.  Most Hispanics in my area are into vehicles that cost much less than the $50,000 for an average auction vehicle.  I cannot count the number of $2000 cars I see daily with $3000 worth of rims and tires on them.  Hispanics who are into cars still want “flash” but are on a budget it seems.  The 1972 Ranchero with it’s 351 is a great choice for a vehicle with “Hispanic Appeal”.  There are “Rappers” who are into cars as well.  Snoop Dogg comes to mind with his Bonneville convertible and for athletes we have Reggie Bush with his Shelby Mustang to name 2 off the top of my head, but there is a serious shortage of “Color” in the collector ranks.  And that needs to change.

I would like to partner with someone who belongs to a “minority” to put a new “face” on the hobby and bring this “Collector Car Business” to a whole new level.

davey boy

Again With The Auctions

December 9, 2013

ImageThose who have read posts from me before know I am a fan of Mecum Auctions.  Their just completed Kansas City Auction sent many reasonably priced vehicles to new homes.  Those who have read my posts also know I prefer to deal more with “fringe” vehicles rather than “popular” Muscle Cars.  The reason is simple.  Instead of forking out $50,000 or more for a single car, I can find 3 or 4 to buy with that amount of money.  And to be honest, a 1971 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler with a 429 CJ is as quick as a Chevelle SS 454 from the same year with the average driver behind the wheel.

The 1969 Dodge “flat-nose” pickup shown is not close to being a “Muscle Car” but is still a very good “Collector Vehicle” with a large following and for the mere $5750 spent for its bid price, the new buyer should have enough cash left to repair or replace it’s needed interior.  It did have a 318 V8 engine with a 3 speed manual transmission for some pep…. most common for the vans and the van/trucks during this era were straight 6 cylinder motors.

1972 ford econoline 100 super van- $ 4250Another “flat nose” would be this 1972 Ford Econoline 100 Super Van.  It had the aforementioned 6 cylinder with a 3 speed manual transmission and for the $4250 winning bid its new owner can afford to get a nice “Hippie Van Mural” paint job done on it as well as the shag carpeting and 12 volt mini-fridge.  You simply do not find a lot of older vans still running around even at “Car Shows” anymore.  Somewhere there needs to be a “Restorer Shop” that still cranks out “Hippie Van Conversions” for those of us who still appreciate them.  Maybe there still is on the West Coast.

1965-Plymouth-Sport-Fury- $ 12000 1966 Mustang conv. floodcar-$ 13500 1966-Ford-Mustang-$ 9750Then we have a trio of interesting vehicles.  The red Plymouth Sport Fury with a V8 engine went for $12,000 despite being a convertible and also being a Mopar.  They tend to go for twice that amount and that is when they are in a lot worse condition as well.  This one with its decent paint and new convertible top should be valued in the $30,000 neighborhood.

The “Powder Blue” 1966 Mustang Convertible had a 289 under the hood and went for $13,500 which was not a bad price even for a car that had been in a flood.  The 1966 models did not have the extensive electronics we have today so minimal damage should have occurred to the vehicle.  Early Mustang convertibles usually run in the low $20,000 range due to the fact there are so many still around.  During the 1965-1966 model years the Mustang was the best-selling convertible in America in fact.

The red 1966 Mustang went for $9750 with its 289 V8 and automatic transmission which is about $6000 less than its value in most areas of the United States.  Again this is because they built 607,568 total 1966 model Mustangs.  First thing to change on this one would be to return to the stock 14 inch tires and rims and get rid of those 17 inch ones.

1991-Cadillac-AllanteThe final entry for this post would be this 1991 Cadillac Allante which sold for $4750.  Even missing its hardtop this car values in the $12,000-16,000 range and with a hardtop can fetch close to $20,000.  Hardtops can be found for around $2000 and paint it for another $600.

So basically for the price of that $60,000 big block Chevelle, here are  6 vehicles with potential to double your money on and that is something the Chevelle will take years to do.  But none of these can outrun the Chevelle…… even with a bad driver.

Davey Boy

Absent and Off The Rails

December 1, 2013

1971 Mustang Mach 1 Limegreen

Despite the larger size in appearance, the 1971 Mustang only gained 1 inch in it’s wheelbase.  While looking much bulkier than it’s previous incarnation, it was Ford’s attempt to bring the Mustang into the actual “Muscle” class and out of the “Pony Car” class that was named for it.  Length went up slightly more than 2 and a half inches as well and width gained just over 3 inches.  All this added 50 pounds of weight as well compared to the 1970 version.  Base price went up only $4.  The catch was that the 351 Windsor with it’s 2 barrel carb as the base engine was now replaced by the 302 with a 2 barrel.  This meant a loss of 40 horsepower in base model configuration.  Horsepower was down slightly on most engine options but the former Boss 429 engine with its 375 horsepower was now an engine option instead of a special model vehicle.  While not named as a “Boss 429” it still carried the formers 375 horsepower when optioned with the Ram Air option.  The base 429 without Ram Air chimed in at 370 horsepower as well.  The trick model for 1971 was the Boss 351 which due to gearing changes and lower weight was actually the quickest Mustang to date….with only a claimed 330 hp.  The Boss 351 was a much better handling car for the street as well without all the added weight over the front wheels creating push when attempting to turn around corners.

1971 Torino Mediumgreen

The other “news” for Ford for 1971 was the Falcon/Fairlane/Torino conglomeration was now cleaned up into the Torino model.  Sales dropped to only a few hundred less than the Chevrolet Chevelle model but would rebound for 1972 and outsell the Chevelle by over 100,000 units.  The Torino offered most of the Mustangs engine choices and with it’s longer wheelbase was a true midsize vehicle at the time and therefore a full fledged “Muscle Car” when properly equipped.

I realize it has been a while since writing for the blog here but time has been scarce for me and other business ventures have taken priority.  I hope to get things sorted out and return to more timely contributions in the future.  In the meantime, keep the faith and most of all…. enjoy life.

daveyboy

1967 – Ford Makes a Statement

October 9, 2012

 When Ford created the 1965 Mustang, they were building a car to compete with the emerging import market.  It was to be a compact vehicle with seating for 4 or 5 people and with its 6 cylinder engine it was aimed at being an economy car as well.  The small block V8 was to make it competitive as being a sporty vehicle to appeal to the younger buyer.  What they did not count on was the fact that they created the most successful new car to come along since their own Model A in the 1920’s.  While Plymouth actually got the jump on them a few weeks earlier with the Barracuda, it was the Mustang that set the pace and the market segment now known as the “Pony Cars”.  These were vehicles smaller in size and less powerful than the midsize vehicles touted as “Muscle Cars”.

For 1967 Ford made the Mustang wider and longer than before.  This was in part to make the vehicle now capable of installing a “big-block” engine under the hood.  With the addition of the 390 cubic inch motor they had a performer capable of taking on the Muscle Cars and in a smaller package.  While Shelby was creating their “350” and “500” versions of the Mustang, these were not Factory vehicles and in fact Shelby was classified as an Automobile Manufacturer at the time.  Ford learned a trick or two on styling from the Marlin from AMC/Rambler and the Dodge Charger and made the fastback model smoother and wider to where it no longer looked like they just added a chunk of metal and glass to the coupe.

During this time Ford also grew jealous of Shelby getting all the credit for “Performance Mustangs” and was deeply involved in improving their image as such with the addition of special models.  There was the “High Country”, “California Special” and “Hertz” Mustangs plus now the GT and GTA factory models.  Various trim pieces and engine choices designated the respective packages but the top factory option for 1967 was the GT and GTA- both carried the 390 with the later being an automatic transmission hence the “A”.

  The Fairlane continued with minor revisions for 1967 and the GT and GTA versions as well.  Ford was going to change its look to separate it from the full size Fords but that was due for 1968, so 1967 saw minor change.

  The Ranchero was now solidly based on the Fairlane for both its sheet metal and engine choices.  While few people saw the Ranchero or its rival the Chevrolet El Camino as real trucks, they did appeal to the market for people who wanted a vehicle capable of hauling things but without the harsh ride of pickup trucks from the era.  The added benefit was they had a vehicle with some style and with the right equipment checked on the order form – a vehicle capable of serious performance as well.

  Mercury still had its Comet based Cyclone model and the 427 was available as an option although the main engine choice was now the 390.  Some Fairlane GT and GTA models also left the factory with the 427.

 But the big news was that Mercury finally got into the “Pony Car” market with the introduction of the Cougar.  Once again it was Lee Iacocca behind another hit for the Ford Corporation.  Based on the Mustang with a stretched frame and sharing no sheet metal similarity it was to be Mercury’s shot at the market.  The downside was the bigger vehicle meant it needed more power than the Mustang to achieve the same performance and all motors used for the Cougar could be also had in the smaller and more nimble Mustang.  Mercury instead figured their market was a more upscale buyer and while offering “Dan Guerney Specials” they instead went to the luxury models for their focus.

Ground Zero and Time To Start Back Over

October 3, 2012

Greetings and salutations to all who may stumble upon this blog.  I realize I have been absent from this for a rather extended time.  The short explanation is that my business venture has taken all my free time that I formerly used for this endeavor and left me no time for research and trying to keep this going.  That may seem like a “cop-out” to some if not most of you, but this blog actually requires major investment of time and research.  I know you thought it was easy being me, but in fact it is major work and commitment to be this disorganized and confused.  The “Detail Shop” I opened in April 2011, sad to say is no more.  The economy is simply no longer there to make a living washing and waxing cars.  This is my astute observation only after wasting $65,000 of my money trying to prove otherwise.  Back to the drawing board.  Or, rather….. Ground Zero.

Every year on my birthday, I evaluate where I am at and what goals can be set for the following year.  This year is no exception to that routine.  Having been born in 1957 means I have hit the age of 55 now.  Time is running out to get where I want to be.  Should anyone reading this be interested in contacting me involving a business endeavor involving “Muscle Cars”, please do so.

Hopefully someone has the needed funds and lacks the expertise to make a financial business out of what is undoubtably my strongest asset.  That being my knowledge of where the market is and anticipating where it is headed.  My knowledge of the vehicles is also a plus.

While almost everyone knows a 1957 Chevrolet when they see one, there are many details to know if you want to make money on one.  Things such as is it a Bel Air or a 210….. 2 door or 4 door…..original engine or not….all things that greatly vary the value of the car in question.  Is it worth $20,000 or in excess of $100,000 ?

While there are literally thousands of serious “Car Collectors” out there making money on this so-called hobby, there are hundreds of thousands of people doing it as a hobby.  While this blog lends itself towards the actual hobby, the goal I have is to be one of the minority who actually make a living doing it.

I do not mean to offend anyone but the guys like Jay Leno who buy cars just to have them and preserve them for future generations are very rare.  It does help when the individual has somewhere in the neighborhood of about 100 million dollars to play with.  The area where I live has a few guys who make their living buying, selling and restoring cars, and they all have their market niche’s to fill.  There is always new ways and new ideas to move into the market for more dealerships or collectors.  And as the economy turns around the market will grow massively in the future.

 Just as the 1957 Ford Fairlane was the competitor to the Chevy that year there will be different markets to fill and different needs for those markets.  I do not claim to be the expert on all cars, but I also do not shun any one model over another.  While the hobbyists prefer a Chevelle, Camaro, Mustang, Charger, or another model for whatever reason; I also know there is a market for a Maverick Grabber and Mercury Cyclone and even the Nova SS has a following.  Being limited by the Manufacturer such as Pontiac, Ford, Buick, Chevrolet, Dodge, Plymouth and Mercury means you leave out the AMC Marlins and Rebels and even the “lowly” Gremlin X.  It means you also miss out on the Studebaker Avanti, and the Oldsmobile Cutlass and 4-4-2.

There were dozens of models from every manufacturer in America during the Muscle Car years and every one of them had a following because they had a story and a legacy to tell.  Some literally sold millions over time and some sold only a few hundred copies, but every one of them deserves to be mentioned for the mere fact that someone thought they were special enough to buy when they were sold new.  Now it is time for me to get back to the blog and let you know what their story was.

Davey Boy

Full Disclosure- Mercury had Performance Cars As Well

February 17, 2011

 I have received a couple of complaints and rightly so.  It seems that I have left out a portion of the history up to now regarding the developement of the Muscle Car Era.  What has been pointed out to me is that for every vehicle Ford came up with, they also had a Mercury division companion vehicle.  True and I thought I had mentioned that fact, but I did not mention model names nor did I show photos of these cars.

  This post will correct my omissions up to the point we are at, namely through the 1966 models.  The main point for talking about the Galaxie with its 427 CID engine was because of its sucess in NASCAR and how some of this trickled into other models and became part of the Muscle Car models.  Since the Galaxie was a full size car it technically was not a Muscle Car and neither were the full size Mercury’s shown here.  This is the 1963 Mercury Monterey S-55 convertible. Under the hood was a big block with a tri-power setup.   Mercury was a conflicted division during the 1960’s.  They wanted to be a luxury brand, yet wanted to be a full line manufacturer with the performance models just like it’s parent…..Ford.

For 1964 Mercury came up with a Montclair Marauder and then further upped the ante with the Super Marauder shown here with its 427 pushing out a factory claimed 425 horsepower.  Remember that unlike today, when the factory made a horsepower claim it was almost always under-rated.  People at the track and the “car magazine” reporters were figuring close to 475-500 horsepower was actual.  Remember that in the 1960’s they used “gross” horsepower not “net” as is used today.  Gross horsepower is rated at the flywheel, whereas net is at the rear wheels (or today possibly front wheels for front wheel drive vehicles).

 The obvious difference between the Marauder and the Super Marauder was that the Super used multi-carb setups such as this ones dual four barrel intake system.

  Unless you are very gifted as a mechanic, or know someone else who is multi-carb engines are very difficult to keep properly tuned and running.  Stick with a single 4 barrel engine if you want something to drive and enjoy rather than something you want to work on for weekend fun.  Just my opinion, of course, but that’s the only one that counts since I am the author of this post.

One of the nicest things about some of the full-size vehicles was the fact that because they cost more than most intermediates, they also had nicer interiors and used better materials where they did not need to cut corners to save money and hold costs down.

 This is the Interior photo for the Super Marauder.

 Full gauge instrumentation was also a benefit of full size cars and for any vehicle that had a performance image, idiot lights were not an option for high-end buyers.

Chrome trim was used inside and out on most cars from the era as well.  And it was real metal, not chrome plated plastic as is common today.  Sometimes old school is the best.

 For 1966, the Super Marauder got the 428 engine like the Galaxie and the 7 Litre model at Ford did.  The 428 delivered smoother power and could actually idle without shaking the car.  It was a perfect match for the image Mercury wanted to portray when compared to the bare knuckle attitude of the old 427 which was a race engine being used in a street car.

 As I pointed out Mercury also had the Caliente and Cyclone models which were based on the Comet model.  Check past posts for those photos.  That’s the update to include Mercury in the timeline I have been doing.

Any other suggestions let me hear from you, otherwise be posting the 1967 model lineups soon.

Davey Boy

1966- The Dodge Charger Is Born

February 13, 2011

 The Plymouth Barracuda with its 273 cubic inch V8 was the Mopar answer to the Ford Mustang.  And technically it was the answer before anyone asked the question, since it came out 2 weeks before the Mustang.  But unlike the Mustang it did not come in coupe, convertible and fastback styles.  Only a fastback was used.  That combined with what was considered a less than attractive fastback body did not help it achieve domination in the area of sales.

It was of course based on the Valiant chassis and as such had limited choices as far as available power.  The Dodge division also wanted a fastback Muscle Car of their own, but Plymouth would not allow them to have one based on the Valiant/Dart chassis because it would be competing with the Barracuda.

The Belvedere for 1966 got fresh sheet metal and the big news was that the 426 Hemi engine had been tamed for street duty and was now available for purchase as an option.  The previous engines used in limited production and full size cars was now suitable for everyday use by anyone who wanted one.

The top of the Belvedere line was the Satellite and it got the Hemi as an option as well.  The 426 with its rated 425 horsepower was the most in a production engine for the 1966 model year.  And it was considered about 50 horsepower underrated.

During the Muscle Car Era this was a common occurrence due to manufacturers wanting to downplay their advantages over one another.  And to keep the watchful eye of Washington regulators off of them as well.  Car manufacturers were not supposed to be involved directly with racing and while GM did a good job of honoring the rule, Ford and Chrysler were still supplying engines and parts to NASCAR race teams as well as other venues such as SCCA.

The Dodge Coronet was the choice for its sponsored teams running NASCAR, but that was to change with the introduction of their newest model.  The new model was the Charger and it was based on the midsize Coronet platform and since the Hemi was available for the Coronet, it was available as an option in the Charger as well.

The Charger had a similar style to the AMC Marlin, but although the Marlin was a new model for 1965, the 1966 Charger was the first Muscle Car created as an actual Muscle Car.  Every previous model in Detroit had been either an option for an existing model or was already a model being produced.  The Marlin was a new model, but lacked the big block engine to claim itself a legitimate Muscle Car.  The Charger was created with the 318 as a base engine and then you could get a 383 big block or the new 1966 street Hemi 426.

While Dodge wanted a competitor for the Mustang, they had went to the far side of the scale and came up with a vehicle that was going to stake a serious claim as the King of Muscle.  The interior offered such options as a full length console which essentially gave you four bucket seats in the interior.  The rear armrest shown was an option and what you see is the “Deluxe” vinyl seating option here.

 The 426 Hemi gave new meaning to the term “big block” as it was the heaviest engine produced at the time or even since as far as gasoline engines are concerned.  The lightest engine was the Ford 427 which tipped the scales at around 650 pounds.  The Chevrolet big block rang up about 685 as a 396 engine.  And the 426 Hemi was overkill at an amazing 843 pounds.  It was called the “elephant” motor not just because of its weight but its size.  The heads were the widest ever seen due to the dual set of rockers for the valvetrain.  And the trademark giveaway and what makes it a hemi; the spark plugs are in the middle of the valve cover as you see in the photo.

Some of the styling similarity with the Marlin can be seen from the rear view of the Charger here.  The full width tail light lens had the “CHARGER” name across the full width lest someone think it was something else.

  The front view however would never remind anyone of the AMC Marlin or any other car.  Not even the Coronet that shared the underneath could match the Charger in the style department.  The grill look has been called the “electric shaver” grill.  Kind of looks like an older model Remington doesn’t it?

  Well, that’s the deal with the 1966 models.  See you soon for more.

 Davey Boy

1966- Ford Raises The Stakes

February 13, 2011

  Ford felt that the success of the Mustang was their claim to fame with the Muscle Car crowd.  But they also knew that in the world of cars you are either leading or you are just in the way.  The real hardcore performance cars were the European models coming out of Italy and Henry wanted to put them in his pocket.  When he flew to Italy to talk with Ferrari about buying them up he was laughed out of the room.  He made it his mission to beat Ferrari at their own game and the Ford GT40 was the result of that mission.  It was top to bottom built as a race car to beat the dominance of Ferrari and to prove that Ford knew how to build a world-class race car.  He succeeded.  Even with its original 289 it outright beat everything in its class and when Henry’s engineers upped the ante to its race proven 427 they were in a class by themselves. 

The number 40 in its name comes from the fact that the car was 40 inches tall at the roof.  Although not a Muscle Car by anyone’s imagination, it proved that the American Car Companies were the leaders in performance.

The 1966 Mustang GT with its 289 was selling well as all Mustangs were, and with the Shelby 350 and now Shelby 500 versions coming out the image at Ford was getting a boost.  Other car makers were copying the Mustang Fastback style.

  While not a particular good-looking car in my opinion, the Fastback was gaining acceptance as a good performer.  But it needed more power and that meant bigger engines.  Ford was working on the next generation Mustang with that goal in mind.

The midsize Ford Fairlane received a GT option for 1966.  The engine choice was Fords new 390 cubic inch engine and a model known as the GTA was also added which designated an automatic transmission added to the GT.  Some of the GT and GTA’s received a dealer installed 428 Police Interceptor engine to further enhance the available power.  The 428 was a new engine for 1966 that had been created to smooth out the radical behavior of the race created 427.  Everyone who drove the two engines agreed that the 428 had similar power, without the aggressive power band of the 427, in short, a streetable race engine.  It was further enhanced with heavy-duty cooling and oiling for use as a Police Interceptor engine for the Galaxie Police vehicles.

The Mercury division also got a version of the Fairlane GT package which was called the Mercury Comet Cyclone.  The Cyclone had dual hood scoop cutouts compared with the Fairlane’s single intake.  Some versions used a hood with the intakes at the front edge of the hood as well to catch and force feed more air into the engine.

 Over at American Motors they trudged along with their new for 1965 Marlin with minor styling changes.  They did not have the budget of the Detroit automakers and were not in the position of going toe to toe with them.  But they were paying attention and working on future models to make a run at the “Detroit Big Three” meaning General Motors, Ford Motor Corporation and Chrysler Motors.

Davey Boy