By on November 4, 2019

1973 Plymouth Duster 340 in California junkyard, RH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsDepending on how strict you are about stuff like gross-versus-net horsepower ratings, emissions-related compression ratios, or the general feeling of Malaise that set in after the 1973 Oil Crisis, the Golden Age of the Detroit Muscle Car ended in some year between 1970 and 1974. I say that year was 1970 and that only midsize coupes really qualify, but my definition leans to the strict side.

The case could be made that the 1973 Duster 340 was a lot more fun-per-buck than Chrysler’s “traditional” muscle car choices for that model year (the Plymouth Road Runner and Dodge Charger), and so we’ll keep that in mind when studying today’s Junkyard Find. (Read More…)

By on July 1, 2019

With Independence Day nearly upon us, it seems fitting that Rare Rides take a look at a car wearing its red, white, and blue theme very proudly. It’s a rare version of the AMC Rebel: The Machine. Get your sparklers ready.  (Read More…)

By on June 27, 2019

Maximizing the footprint with which to apply up to 707 horsepower and 650 ft-lbs of torque, the 2020 Charger SRT Hellcat and Scat Pack add a Widebody package to cover their 305/35ZR20 Pirelli tires and 20×11-inch wheels. For the Hellcat, 0-60 mph comes in 3.6 seconds while the quarter-mile elapsed time drops to 10.96 seconds and the skidpad grip builds to 0.96 g. Combined with the additional braking grip and revised chassis tuning, the lap time around an FCA-approved, 2.1-mile road course drops by a massive 2.1 seconds.

The Scat Pack Widebody sees similar improvements, getting to 60 mph from a standstill in 4.3 seconds on its way to a 12.4 second quarter mile. Without the weight of the supercharger and associated plumbing over the nose, the Scat Pack Widebody pulls an even more impressive 0.98 g on the skidpad. Around the same 2.1-mile road course (presumably GingerMan Raceway), the Charger Scat Pack drops 1.3 seconds in Widebody form. (Read More…)

By on May 21, 2019

Buy/Drive/Burn returns this week with three American sports cars in their most basic, purest form. The Big Three are represented here, and they don’t get any cheaper than this. No options or fripperies are allowed, and one must receive the Buy.

Start your (small) engines — it’s sports car time.

(Read More…)

By on March 27, 2019

TTAC’s Slack channel honed in on muscle cars the other day. As the discussion progressed, a question came to light which your author hadn’t previously considered. It’s a simple enough inquiry, yet there are many variables to consider.

Today we talk about the least sporty muscle cars.

(Read More…)

By on February 5, 2019

Today’s Buy/Drive/Burn brings three big and brawny American luxury coupes from 1963. You’ll have to burn one — no exceptions.

(Read More…)

By on January 24, 2019

Today’s Rare Ride is a Plymouth Barracuda, but not the one which generally springs to mind whenever someone mentions the legendary nameplate. Rather, it’s the first of the line. Let’s check out this special fastback.
(Read More…)

By on December 20, 2018

Domestic sedans are currently being walked up to the edge of a mass grave. Beneath them rests their two-doored brethren and the first wave of four-doors previously executed by the Big Three. Ford has promised a lineup comprised almost entirely of pickups and utility vehicles in the coming years and General Motors is in the process of doing the same. Fiat Chrysler wisely kept its automotive killing spree under the radar by being the first to pull the trigger and not making a big deal of it. But consider what’s left within its domestic nameplates: SUVs, pickups, a few vans and the endangered Chrysler 300 — which is really a more of a commoner’s luxury vehicle.

FCA also has the Dodge Charger and Challenger in its stable, but they’re not what one might consider when imagining your typical sedan. They’re ancient, powerful creatures. Gas-guzzling muscle cars, brimming with attitude, and seemingly impervious to harm. Goliaths without a David or fuel crisis to put them down. Who could have ever imagined that American muscle would crawl back out of its grave after such a long absence and manage to outlive the typical sedan?

Their manufacturer, for one.  (Read More…)

By on October 16, 2018

The Rare Rides series featured a vintage Aston Martin once before, when we took a look at the luxurious Lagonda sedan from 1984. Today we move forward in history a few years to see a luxurious, large coupe that’s more along the lines of what you’d expect from the Aston Martin brand.

It’s a Virage, from 1990.

(Read More…)

By on August 28, 2018

The Jensen Interceptor brought together American power and British design and craftsmanship in a rare heavyweight sports-luxury liftback.

The company even made a few of them into convertibles, like today’s Rare Ride.

(Read More…)

By on June 28, 2018

Dodge uploaded a teaser video last night that appeared to indicate Fiat Chrysler’s performance division is working on another ludicrously overpowered vehicle. In it, we see a modern Challenger blasting down the salt flats against an auditory backdrop of a raging V8 with loads of supercharger whine.

The Challenger loses focus as it approaches the camera, but we can just barely make out the car’s twin hood scoops before things faded to black. Then the text “LOCK: RED797_19” flashes for a moment, with the reassurance that whatever we’ve just witnessed is coming soon. Dodge makes a habit of issuing cryptic teasers for his highest horsepower models. The prelude to the Hellcat and Demon felt a little like playing Myst, and this latest teaser rekindled that sense of intrigue and frustration.

Fortunately, we already have details on — and photos of — this new Mopar beast.  (Read More…)

By on May 22, 2018

Our Rare Ride today is an excellent condition example of an easily forgotten Malaise coupe from Chrysler Corp.

It is, of course, the second-generation Dodge Challenger, from 1980.

(Read More…)

By on September 22, 2017

road-runner-jack-smith

By 1966, muscle cars were hitting peak stride. But some argued they had become too expensive and strayed too far from the original concept. As performance models had grown in displacement and technology, some crossed into premium pricing territory. Pontiac’s GTO, for example, could easily exceed $4,000 with a handful of options when the average cost of an American automobile was closer to $2,750.

Enter Jack Smith.

Plymouth had fallen into the pricing pitfall like most other manufacturers. Smith, who owned a souped-up Belvedere II, had recently been promoted to head of the company’s mid-sized car planning division. He wagered the public might enjoy a car like his and Plymouth introduced the GTX in 1967 to compete with the GTO. But it was still too expensive, especially for a budget brand like Plymouth, and garnered a lukewarm sales response — which gave Jack an idea.  (Read More…)

By on August 26, 2017

Image: Buick GSX, by Corey Lewis In our previous concours edition of Picture Time, we shared five distinctly American luxury cars from years gone by. Today we move forward in history a little, and subtract some luxury for the sake of sheer power.

Follow along now for some great American muscle cars from the show.

(Read More…)

By on August 11, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Camaro RS - Image: GMThere’s more than one reason the sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro has failed to live up to the fifth-gen Camaro’s U.S. marketplace success.

First, the drama of the (quite possibly) superior sixth-gen Camaro’s styling is diminished by the fact that it looks so very much like the fifth-gen car. To the casual muscle car buyer — of which there have to be tens of thousands of it’s going to be the high-volume sports car it was — it’s certainly not obvious that this is even an all-new car.

Then there’s the fact that the sixth-gen Camaro also continues the fifth-gen’s visibility trend: there is none. Added to that, GM always intended to sell fewer Camaros to daily rental fleets when the sixth-gen car arrived for the 2016 model year.

In the end, however, it’s always down to money. Not only is the Chevrolet Camaro a costly ticket, but Camaros are also packaged in a way that shrinks appeal at the affordable end of the spectrum.

According to GM’s North American boss Mark Reuss, the company wants to fix that, though it’s not yet clear what the remedy is. (Read More…)

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