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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Top-10 Classic American Muscle Cars (Part-1)

We know that America loves speed. The 1960s and 1970s might have produced the wildest and rarest muscle cars packing giant torque-rich V-8s, but the 1980s brought its share of powerful machines to the street, too—cars that were quick and met the more stringent emissions controls. And behind the horsepower there are some surprising stories.

Currently with the popularity of Gone in 60 Seconds or the latest Fast & Furious movie, I think it is time to explore the world of American muscle cars. These cars are known for their strength and speed as well as many of them also to be collected by automotive enthusiasts around the world.

Here I will discuss the first part of the Top-10 Classic American Muscle Car,

10. 1969 Chevrolet Camaro COPO
Chevrolet's Central Office Production Order (COPO) system was designed for fleet sales; it was intended to spec out heavy-duty suspensions for cop cars and stain-proof interiors for taxicabs. But enterprising dealers with the right connections, such as Yenko Chevrolet in Pennsylvania, figured out that Camaros could be ordered this way, too. And given the right order codes, the dealer could spec out a fire-breathing monster of a Camaro that Chevy didn't really want you to own.
1969 Chevy Camaro COPO. (Picture from: http://www.popularhotrodding.com/)
The production order 9561 specified a 427 big-block V-8 rated at 425 hp—just like a Vette. But the even rarer COPO 9560 called for an all-aluminum ZL-1 427 V-8. Though this engine was rated with just 5 more hp, it was widely known that this race-spec engine delivered more like 550 hp. Only 69 ZL-1 Camaros were built, and these cars command prices in the $400,000 range at an auction.

The aluminum ZL-1 427 V-8 in the 9560 COPO Camaro is essentially a race engine. Chevy originally developed this 427 motor for the Chaparral racing team to use in the Can Am series. There are no external emblems on a ZL-1 Camaro that let you know what's under the hood—only plain-vanilla Camaro badges.

9. 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner
Mopar struck paydirt when it came up with the idea of capitalizing on the muscle car wave of popularity by offering the low-priced Roadrunner to the masses in 1968, with 1969 being a particularly stellar sales year. They were definitely marketing the younger audience with better affordbility, as well as licencing the Warner Brothers cartoon character as its namesake and mascot, including the well-known “beep-beep” sound for its horn.
1969 Plymouth Roadrunner. (Picture from: http://bringatrailer.com/)
To keep the price down, Roadrunners were minimally appointed, but these cars weren’t toys, as performance and suspension features were not compromised. Base stickered at under $3,000, the price quickly went up when you started beefing it up with power options. Who wants the standard 383 cid mill when you could get a 390 hp 440 with a three-two "Six-pack"? Well forget even that; what you really wanted under the hood was the 426 Street Hemi.

Featuring with the high power of engine such as Hemi heads, 10.25:1 compression and two fours, its rated output boosted to 425 hp at 5,000 rpm. It could run the quarter in 13.5 seconds and had a top speed of +140 mph! Over 80,000 units of the various configurations were sold in 1969, with the “no-post” hardtops being the most desirable among collectors. But the real find today is the rag-top, of which only about 2,200 were produced.

8. 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30
Considered by many to be the best that Oldsmobile put out, the 1970 Olds 442 W-30 is truly a classic muscle car. Not many think of Oldsmobile in terms of muscle cars; the high-end brand from General Motors was always more known for its large, luxury-oriented vehicles.
1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30. (Picture from: http://www.fossilcars.com/)
For most of its life, the 442 existed as an option package. The 1970 Olds 442 W-30 fell midway through the brand’s four-year run as a model in its own right. From 1964 to 1968, it was an option package on the Cutlass and F-85 models. By 1972, the 442 was back to an option, thanks to the increasing insurance rates and gas prices that brought an end to the high-performance muscle car.

During its four-year span, though, the 442 outperformed many of its competitors. The 1970 Olds 442 W-30 represented the pinnacle. To compete with other muscle cars, Oldsmobile took advantage of the fact that GM had dropped its engine size limitation on its smaller and mid-sized vehicles. They introduced the 455-cubic inch V8 as the standard engine on the 1970 Olds 442 W-30. On the standard 42 for that year, the engine generated 365 horsepower and 500 foot pounds of torque.

7. 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Nascar was in its golden age. Automakers took the business of stock-car racing seriously and would dream up engines and bodywork for racing that were often too wild for the street. All the automakers needed to do was sell 500 of these radical cars and they could run them in Nascar. The Boss 429 Mustang was just such a beast. Although the 

Mustang didn't compete in Nascar, the 375-hp 429-cubic-inch V-8 under its hood was designed specifically for racing and built to rev to 6,000 rpm. The problem was, this motor did not perform well on the street. It was slower than the other big-block Mustangs at the time.
1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429. (Picture from: http://www.topcarrating.com/)
The Nascar-bound V-8 was monstrously large and did not fit in a stock Mustang's engine bay. So Ford contracted Kar Kraft in Brighten, Mich., to handle the job. The company relocated the shock towers, widened the track of the front end using unique componentry, relocated the battery to the trunk, and fitted a smaller brake booster—all to make room for this beastly powerplant to fit in the Mustang. Today, the rarity and mystique behind the Boss 429 has pushed values at auction well beyond $200,000.

There were actually three different 429 engines installed in the Boss 429 between '69 and '70. The hardcore "S-Code" was installed in early cars and filled with race-duty parts. But the S-Code had warranty problems, reportedly because of an incorrect assembly process. So the "T-Code" with lighter-duty parts was used in some cars. The later "A-Code" version of the 429, equipped with smog equipment and a new valvetrain, appeared toward the end of production.

6. 1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88
1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 has a nice aggressive and robust look. This great beast can consume 7-liter and produces 460 hp in return.  With its impressive looks and exceptional, It’s indeed, a ruler in the world of sports car today. The 1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 is one of the most happening sport cars of the century.
1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88. (Picture from: http://goldenagegems.com/)
Initially only 20 such cars were manufactured by Chevrolet but later, its number increased. Other upgraded features of this vehicle includes a strengthened crankshaft, solid lifter, 12.5:1 pistons, a 850 CFM dual feed Holley carburetor, and cold air induction.

Boasting a top speed of about 170 mph with a special order package, the 1968 Chevy Corvette L88 is thought to be the end-all, be-all in the Corvette world. The 550 hp motor was designed specifically for racing and GM didn’t want the L88 on the open road due to its power. (Jump to Next-Part). *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | LISTPHOBIA | LISTVERSE]
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