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Posts By: J Sutherland
I can recall the first time I saw a first generation Camaro in the October 1966 Popular Science new car preview edition. The 1967 Camaro was the star attraction when it debuted in the fall of 1966 and it gave the General an instant classic in the pony car battle.
I liked the original Camaro because it was a stylish blend of well-sculpted bodylines with curves in all of the right places. The hidden headlights and race stripe around the front fenders of the car were options that took the car to an even higher level of cool for me as a very young admirer.
The idea of an old car is both a complicated and uncomplicated concept for car guys.
The complicated part is the age and engineering behind the car.
The age and engineering behind the car is also the uncomplicated part of the car and the reason for this article.
Personal opinion time here: I hate trailer queens. Let me clarify the term “trailer queen” before anybody gets the wrong idea. Trailer queens are vehicles that leave the safety of a garage, enter the safety of a trailer and head out on the street in an enclosure towed by another vehicle.
I saw a very nice car being shoved into a covered trailer this weekend and it just kind of set me off on the topic of trailer queens. Don’t get me wrong, there are many other vehicles beyond broken-down cars that should be towed behind another vehicle. A barely street legal quarter mile ride should be trailered for practical reasons like: microscopic gas mileage, finicky track motors, an earnest desire on the part of their owners to remain in one piece.
The default power choice for many resto-mods is the popular 350 from the General. They are plentiful, affordable and can be built into a beast of a motor. But for many non-General car guys, the idea of a Chevy engine under the hood of their non-General Motors ride is simply a great reason to run it directly over a cliff.
A survivor car is a pretty narrow category in my opinion. It means that a vehicle has come through the years with all of the originality that made it highly desirable in car guy world. Lately, the definition of a survivor car has been diluted down to a wishy-washy. I watched a TV program that featured survivor cars and tried to include a repainted car in the collection as a survivor model.
So let’s re-establish a set of basic ground rules about what makes the grade as a survivor car. (Read More…)
You have decided to jump headfirst into the old car game, and you are anxious to pull the trigger on the process by buying a four-wheeled blast from the past. Ahead lays a very cruel path of pain and disappointment if you make a bad decision.
The initial purchase price may be well within the price range of most car guys, thus many of them may begin to get buck fever about the vehicle. This is the exact point where emotion might blind side common sense, and where a car guy finds himself to be the proud owner of a four-wheeled nightmarish money pit.
The first step is to truly understand the consequences of an old car purchase. (Read More…)
I realized how far we have come off the tracks from that golden era of miles per hour when I had to cuff my over-30 nephew after he asked how many kilometers were on a large 1972 Chrysler Imperial. Those of us from a kinder and gentler time knew that old Impy was a miles car – not a kilometer kar.
Canada used to be a miles per hour country, until we recklessly elected Pierre Trudeau to run our country from the late 60s until the early 80s, with an-all-too-brief timeout from the guy in the late 70s.
Hate is a powerful emotion. Sure, its impact has been diminished by its new fad-like use as a term for everything from mild irritation to medium discontent, but I am still old school about the term.
If I hate something, I really hate something in that full-on way that respects the power of the emotion. Hate is not something to be treated lightly as a term, and people who accuse others of hatred should realize that it is considered to be a major decision to accuse somebody of hatred. If there is one thing I hate, then its new cars at classic car shows. (Read More…)
One of the worst kept secrets in show business is actor Tim Allen’s legendary love of cars, an affliction that has almost reached Jay Leno proportions. In fact the Toolman made his car addiction a major part of the storyline for his classic situation comedy “Home Improvement”. (Read More…)
‘American Graffiti’ exploded onto the movie screen in the early 70s, a little over 10 years after it happened 1962, according to the movie plot.
“Where were you in ’62?” became the question of the day in the movie trailer. Back when, most of us wished that we had been old enough to cruise around in the cool ’62-era iron shown in ‘American Graffiti’. Today, we wish we would have been born after that. (Read More…)
Cars are a little bit like pets. The years are not kind to either over the long run. The wear and tear begins to take a toll. They have less spring in their step, and moving around gets painful.
We notice the changes and hope for the best with a little more time together, but time waits for no one and no machine or pet. Sooner or later tough decisions have to be made and the pet or vehicle become a fond memory with a little heart-break when the decision to say goodbye is made at the end of the relationship. (Read More…)
In 1980, Chrysler was headed into the financial whitewater rapids of a 2-year recession, paddling a leaky canoe full of weak sales. Their products weren’t moving, and the survival life raft full of government loans was a year away.
They needed customers in the worst way, and in early spring 1981, 18-year-old Don Sutherland saw a brand new black T-top 1980 Plymouth Roadrunner sitting in the corner of a local Chrysler-Plymouth dealership. This was his first brand new car.
In theory. (Read More…)