Skip to comments.First They Came for the Muscle Cars .....
Posted on 01/19/2021 8:51:56 AM PST by Red Badger
You had to be there to remember – and to understand – so here’s a refresher.
In 1964, group of young Pontiac engineers created the GTO by pairing an expensive big-car’s engine with an inexpensive medium-sized car – thereby creating the first mass-market muscle car. Which was mass-market because it wasn’t just about muscle. That had been done before, by Chrysler (letter series cars) and Oldsmobile, too.
What made the GTO different – and dangerous, in the view of a certain kind of killjoy – was that it was cheap. Or at least, affordable. You didn’t have to be a rich old man to be able to buy one.
Or get your rich old man to buy one for you.
The GTO was a huge success for that reason and for another reason. There was a huge number of young buyers coming of age at right around the same time – the Baby Boom generation. Combine affordable muscle with lots of young kids who could afford muscle and just like that, muscle cars were everywhere.
Within three years of the ’64 GTO’s debut, every major car company – even AMC (RIP) – had at least one muscle car for sale.
Many car companies offered several. It was a bonanza of horsepower, style and fun.
But as much as muscle cars were loved by those who owned them, they were hated twice as much by those who couldn’t stand them.
They came up with a way to put a stop to the fun.
First, they made insuring a muscle car unaffordable. Then as now, it didn’t matter whether you – the specific individual – had ever wrecked your muscle car. All that mattered, premium-wise, was that someone else did.
You got the presumptive blame – and the actual bill.
But there was a way out, if you could afford to pay cash. It was to skip the coverage – which you could in those days, even if it was illegal. Because in those days The Man lacked the means to find out.
As incredible as it may sound to tender Millennial ears, back in the ‘60s and ‘70s – and even into the ‘80s – the insurance mafia and the government mafia were still separate families. There were even laws pertaining to the respecting of private info.
The government couldn’t directly collude with the insurance mafia as it does now to find out whether you have coverage at any given moment via a quick and even automated sync-check of computer records.
All you – the car owner – had to do to avoid the mordita was to check the box on the government form that said you had coverage.
If it was a lie, so what? Should a guy feel guilt about lying to a mugger about how much cash he has in his wallet?
The people who did not like muscle cars did not like this, of course. So they came up with another – more effective – method to kill the fun.
Two methods, actually.
The first was to strangle them via emissions controls they couldn’t comply with – and didn’t, at first. Those first generation muscle cars of the ‘60s and early-mid-‘70s all had engines designed back in the ‘50s – i.e,. designed without emissions control in mind at all. The only way to make them “compliant” with the emissions regs passed decades after the fact was to cripple them by grafting clumsy emissions controls onto them.
These made them run poorly – and gradually killed off the muscle, too.
It only took four years – from the passage in 1970 of the Clean Air Act – to eliminate literally every muscle car except the last one, which happened to be a Pontiac, too. It was the 1974 Trans-Am equipped with the 290 horsepower SD-455 V8. Just a few hundred made it through the noose and by the following year – 1975 – the Trans-Am’s strongest engine was a 185 horsepower 400 V8 geezing through a catalytic converter and single exhaust made to look like two.
But just like the Terminator rebooting himself after receiving a shotgun blast to the guts, the muscle car only seemed dead. Gradually, performance began to return. Clean performance, too – via engines designed to be “compliant” and powerful.
By the ’90s, performance had returned to what it had been in the late ’60s and soon exceeded it.
So that had to be stopped, too.
This time, the method applied was unanswerable. Federal fuel economy fatwas descended. It no longer mattered that muscle wasn’t dirty. It now had to be fuel-sippy and that is like making a ribeye without the fat.
The fuel economy fatwas also served to attack mass-market large cars, which went the way of the muscle car.
There was an end-run, briefly. It was christened the “SUV” – which didn’t have to comply with fatwas as strict as those applied to cars. The SUV quickly became the car of choice, until the government caught up with and closed the “loophole” and applied the fatwas to them, too.
They got smaller-engined and bigger-priced, a trend which you can see for yourself – today.
But they’re still being made – along with the highest-powered (and cleanest-ever) muscle cars. The engineers have worked near-miracles on the same plane as Jesus feeding a multitude with a single loaf of bread.
So that has to be dealt with, too.
By shifting the meaning of fuel efficiency to mean “emissions” once again – though this time, not pollution. The new meaning is “greenhouse gasses,” which don’t smog the air or foul the lungs but are asserted to change the climate.
Whether it does or does not is a matter for another column.
What it unquestionably will do is achieve the goal which has been their goal since at least the 1960s. That goal, of course, is to get rid of not just the muscle car, not only the large car and not merely the SUV but every car.
By making it impossible to make them compliant. So as to get people into other forms of transportation, under their control.
They have said so, openly, since the ’60s.
If you read their literature, you’d know all about it.
Now you can see it, all around you.
. . .
It won't be long before you'll play hell to find a gasoline powered car.
In terms of performance, the new electric cars can blow them away.....
Without the noise......
“In terms of performance, the new electric cars can blow them away....”
My 1965 Ford Galaxie can make it to Texas in two days of straight driving.
What electric car can do that?
If AOC and her ilk have their way, you won't be able to find a gas station. Yes, they ARE that radical and retarded.
Some muscle was earlier but maybe pricier. ‘61 Pontiac Catalina 389x3x2? 63 Sprint 289 4 spd. ‘61 Starliner 406 2x4. The first muscle I saw when my dad got transferred back to the states from England was in my mom’s podunk hometown in the hills of PA. At the local ford dealer a 63 1/2 blacked out fast back 427 galaxie with a dual quad 4 spd beast. Drooling....................... Of course the Chevy 409 cars as well. Dodge cross ram 413s then 426 wedges then hemis. Ah, the good old days.
That is going to be a problem.
All the car mfrs are developing an all electric vehicle.
Electric motorcycles as well.
HD has one, so do others........................
“We must get the riffraff out of their cars, do they think they have real money? They could end up anywhere we are unannounced and uninvited!” - the mindset of a limousine leftist
“In terms of performance, the new electric cars can blow them away.....”
The goal is to remove the “fun” of driving and get us into mass transit and coal-burning electrics. Yes; coal burning.
I should add that my Galaxie has a 390ci V8 with an electronic distributor, a 750 double pumper carb with vacuum secondaries, a Blaster coil, an open element air filer, copper wires, SplitFire plugs, electric water and fuel pumps, and it gets 31mpg on the freeway at around 70mph.
My ‘clean’ Volvo gets 26mpg going downhill with a tailwind at 55mph.
No need to duck, but you miss the point(s).
The sound of a muscle car on the street cannot be reproduced by a Prius, a Nissan Leaf, or a Tesla. Not even using good speakers.
The “seat of the pants” experience whilst a driver or passenger in a muscle car can not be reproduced by any of the above-mentioned vehicles.
The lines, the styling of each brand of muscle car is distinctive, unique. Today’s cars - electric or otherwise - look like eggs on wheels. Some of the SUV’s are so over-sculpted, I’m surprised they don’t whistle in the wind.
Attempts to take antique / special interest cars off the road have been made before. It would be a damned shame if the enviro-nannies were successful this time.
High car prices is what will kill car production.
I saw a chart recently. In 1974 the average new car cost 1/4 of the average median income. Now a new car cost 100% of the average median income.
We are heading to self driving cars that will be out at front of your house in the morning, pick you up, drop you off then go to the next customer.
FOMOCO is already headed there and announcing it proudly.
True. If I had a full tank of gas, put four 5-gallon cans of gas in my trunk and wore a diaper like that crazy NASA astronaut chick, I could drive 1000 miles nonstop.
I think there’s a song about this...
First, they made insuring a muscle car unaffordable.
I'm sure it wasn't all of those 'coming of age' baby boomers wrapping their GTOs around trees that had any effect on insurance rates.
“It’s got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it’s got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks. It’s a model made before catalytic converters so it’ll run good on regular gas. What do you say, is it the new Bluesmobile or what?”
Where are all the electric cars going to get the electricity to charge them? You see any new transmission lines being built? You see any new power plants being built?
Yeah, but that new elec mustang........................ LOL! What once was............
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