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.]
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