Muscle Car Writing Contest Finalist 1: Frank Rodgers Calls You a Nimrod

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
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muscle car writing contest finalist 1 frank rodgers calls you a nimrod

Yes, you little nimrods! The American muscle car does have a future! Detroit simply needs to stick to a few basic principles. The first thing it mustn’t forget is that any muscle car worth building will have a V-8, expensive fuel or no. To any camel admirers ready to start preaching the gospel of turbonium and other unnatural elements, I’ll just say that no other amount of cylinders or configuration can match the distinctive presence of a V-8 – especially a good ol’ American one. Sound MATTERS. Nothing brings out the hairy chested, knuckle dragging Neanderthal in me faster than a carnivorous sounding V-8. If it’s cammed up, it’s all over. I’d be ready to run the Mille Miglia after a vasectomy.

Proximo, a muscle car must be RWD. I believe that on any car, and specifically on those motivated by brute force, FWD is an abomination no more desirable than exchanging fluids with one of the half breeds on The Island of Dr. Moreau. But wait…AWD has its merits you say? Fine, just remember that a muscle car flaunts said muscle the old fashioned way. AWD is to one of these cars as another tattoo is to Kat Von D’s epidermis: unnecessary and ruinous. Transmission wise, a proper stick or a traditional slushbox is all that’s needed at muscle beach…paddle shifters here would be akin to vein augmentation surgery. And sorry, Dodge Charger. Sedans have no place in musclecardom. Leave the four door bruisers in the hands of coppers. Or piston heads of questionable character. Oh, and Ford? ALL muscle cars should have an IRS. Live axles are more modern than the suspension on Ben Hur’s chariot…but not by much. The drag strip crowd can fend for itself via the aftermarket. Where there’s a will there’s a way.

For the love of Benji, I wish Detroit would lighten its muscle cars up. The new Challenger’s a 2 ton pig. The Mustang and Camaro aren’t far behind. Ideally, these cars should weigh no more than 3,500 lbs. Weighing less, they could employ smaller motors while retaining impressive performance. The whole size thing is a bloody travesty. The Mustang, Camaro and Challenger are as big as they are because the big 2.8 have resorted to one-upmanship, plain and simple. It’s more than a horsepower race. Cost cutting, safety and emissions regs and platform sharing all factor in, yes, but providing more car (pork?) than the competition is the misguided ethos right now. Leave the bloat fest to the Accord, Camry, and Altima camps.

A smaller, lighter car needs less engine to get the job done. That’s a fact. Detroit needs to stop putting the biggest and dumbest V-8’s it can fit into its muscle cars. The added complexity, cost and packaging issues of DOHC valve trains more than justify themselves. I’d rather have a 4.0+L, 7,000+ RPM DOHC fire breather than some big, dumb and slow push rod fossil any day. Yeah, pushrods have their benefits, I read up on the Corvette. But c’mon, brothers, at what cost progress? How many more improvements can be made to the same basic design? The constant improvement to and evolution of the basic design of the 911 is a marvel to behold. But even magnifying glass focused Porsche knew when to abandon its air cooled boxers. Change is inevitable. For nostalgia’s sake though, I will admit that in a classic muscle car, a push rod motor is in its natural habitat.

Speaking of nostalgia, trips down memory lane make me feel alive. Those Sha Na Na and Leif Garrett clips on You Tube…never mind. Let me just say it. Whatever numbskull at Ford thought to go retro with the 2005 Mustang needs to be skinned alive and dipped in iodine. Twice. Enough with the friggin’ retro already! What a way to lead by example, Ford. What ever happened to imagination and creativity? And shame on you Chevy and Dodge for letting yourselves be lured into a fad that will eventually crash and burn as hard as one of those Libyan MiG’s that tried to do the tango with a Tomcat.

While the hybridization of just about every automotive segment continues apace, muscle cars should remain immune to this. Either you’re a carnivore or you ain’t. So yes, even in these conservation and efficiency conscious times, there indeed is a future for the American muscle car. We want and need them. Unlike the pick up trucks that are never used to haul or tow, or the SUV’s that never go off road, a muscle car’s existence and use is justifiable on just about any road, at any time. No other type of car could serve as a better antibiotic to the ills of fuelmiseritis and its bedfellows. You can bet your grandpa’s fillings on that.

[The above article is presented without editing.]

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Blindfaith Blindfaith on Sep 28, 2008

    If the frames, subframes, hoods, trunk lids, roof, inside crash rails, engine cradles, floor pans, crank shafts, rods, camshafts, fly wheels, blocks and heads all direct injected with highest possible PSI on injectors calipers turbo charged, and seat frames were made out of aluminum or carbon fiber. The cars would be as strong or stronger, engines would be more efficient with greater horse power. Get rid of old tech battery for lighter battery. The lighter the moving components inside an engine the quieter the engine. Weight would be reduced by 500 to 1000 pounds. A good engine should be able to idle at 300 rpm without bouncing all over the place. Broken engine mounts means a poorly balanced engine wasting energy, reducing life span and disturbing my phone calls due to noise. When steel crushes only the creases took energy from the crash the remaining flat areas were of no real benefit. The stupid public actually believes a car has to be heavy to stay on the ground when traveling at high way speeds. All of this is known to the car manufacturers! davey49 : Look around for insulation for heat and sound deadening material for car rebuilder. Look at the specs and the weight you will find it doesn't weight that much and does a great job. Also if the car engines would be built properly the sound would be next to nothing from engine compartment and the weight would be reduced and proper airodynamics leads to no wind noise and this weighs nothing.

  • AJ AJ on Sep 29, 2008

    My father-in-law has a collection of Dodge muscle cars. He use to own a '70 440 Six-Pack Super Bee that he took me for a ride in. Within minutes he scared me on just pubic streets... LOL. But I cried worse when he sold it (for $65,000 in decent shape, but it had never been restored). Now that was a muscle car!

  • Tassos Unlike Tim, I don't use this space as a wastebasket for ANYTHING BUT a proper used car.If you seriously need a car AND you are as destitute as Tim's finds imply, HERE IS A PROPER ONE FOR YOUR NEEDS:You can probably get it for only $4k, WITH Leather, Factory Navigation, plenty of room and a V6. even considered getting it myself as an extra reliable car.
  • Jeff Of all the EV trucks I like the Rivian the best but I am still years away if ever from buying an EV.
  • Kwik_Shift I definitely like the looks of the newest 300s over the Chargers.
  • SCE to AUX "Should car companies shack up with tech giants in order to produce legible infotainment systems and the like? Or should they go it alone?"Great question(s).The River Rouge days are gone, where Ford produced whole cars out of raw materials entering the plant at the other end. Nearly everything is outsourced these days - sometimes well, sometimes disastrously.But the problem with infotainment systems is that they are integrated with the car's operation. VW has delayed entire products for issues with infotainment.For me, the question boils down to a contractual arrangement - who owns and maintains the code forever? Since more and more of the car's function is tied to the infotainment system, I'd argue that the car mfr needs to own it - especially the larger ones.Do mfrs really want to share intellectual property with Huawei just to fast-track some code they've managed themselves in the past?
  • Kwi65728132 I always did like the styling of the 300C and it was on my short list for a new (to me) rear wheel drive, naturally aspirated V8 luxury sedan but I found a Hyundai Equus that was better optioned than any 300C I could find and for several grand less.