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Thread: The truth about classic muscle cars...

  1. #21
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ekrampitzjr View Post
    Another consideration is that quite a few of these cars—Camaro, Mustang, Firebird, etc.—left the factory equipped with straight sixes. The hotter V-8 versions were rather more expensive and rare even when new, by comparison with the slower bread-and-butter versions. But survivors with sixes have not been considered desirable, so far fewer have survived in good condition. Collectors want these cars with a V-8, any V-8, even if it's the tiniest small-block.

    We have become spoiled by the car magazines' constant claims that a new car that takes all of 8 seconds to go 0–60 mph is "slow". Most cars on the road in the '60s and '70s, meaning import and domestic alike, took 15 or more seconds to hit 60 from a standstill. And just how often does the average driver accelerate in that fashion? In a sense, 0–60 full throttle is comparable to making a high-speed panic stop 60–0.

    OT a bit: some years back (1990s), Popular Mechanics compared some of the old muscle cars with the models then available new and found that the old ones cornered just about as well as the new models if modern radial tires were installed. Highly revealing...
    In the case of the circa 1990 Camaro, the car still had more or less the same basic suspension layout as the 1970s models - notably the solid axle rear. No surprise the old ones handled about as well with modern tires!

  2. #22
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post

    Every day, I go out and find myself stuck behind a "high performance" car of some type that's just puttering along at about the speed limit. The owners (as you say) rarely, if ever, make full or even close to full use of the available power/capability - which in many cases has become extreme. If they did, they'd lose their licenses or be in jail within a few weeks.
    In a way, I think that's kind of the point. If you have a car that will only do 12-15 sec 0-60, and have to floor it every time you take off from a light just to keep up, it's kind of stressful and annoying. Using a fraction of the car's total capability is more pleasant in stop-n-go traffic. To a point, of course, driving your Z06 like you've got an eggshell under your foot is no fun either.

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    Just a bit of knowledge to relay, almost all the Auto reporting media use calculations to render those 1/4 mile times one see's reported in the articles, taking a run's time (best), by their driver(s), and calculate the potencial based on all conditions being perfect and at sea level, heat, humidity, wind, ect.. There's a name for that, but I can't remember what it's called at the moment.

    So a Media reported time of say 11.50's for a specific stock car (thinking new Vette here), and set up, may actually be 12.0's or worse, in the hands of the average Joe at his 2200 ft above sea level track under a bone dry, 101 degree sky.

    Also something to think about too, most Media Auto reporters don't really have the track time and car experience's that the seasoned weekend warriors have, so their best baseline run's may also suffer.

    Rex

  4. #24
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel View Post
    In a way, I think that's kind of the point. If you have a car that will only do 12-15 sec 0-60, and have to floor it every time you take off from a light just to keep up, it's kind of stressful and annoying. Using a fraction of the car's total capability is more pleasant in stop-n-go traffic. To a point, of course, driving your Z06 like you've got an eggshell under your foot is no fun either.
    Most any new car - even "family" and "economy" cars - gets to 60 in around 7-8 seconds. Only a handful are slower than that. None need more than about 11-12 seconds to make it to 60.

    I drive new cars every week and have been doing it for 20 years. I can't remember a time when a new car I was test driving had to struggle to keep up with traffic - because traffic in this country moves at a Buick LeSabre pace, not a 911 (or even Miata) pace.

  5. #25
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Most any new car - even "family" and "economy" cars - gets to 60 in around 7-8 seconds. Only a handful are slower than that. None need more than about 11-12 seconds to make it to 60.
    Quote Originally Posted by ekrampitzjr
    We have become spoiled by the car magazines' constant claims that a new car that takes all of 8 seconds to go 0–60 mph is "slow". Most cars on the road in the '60s and '70s, meaning import and domestic alike, took 15 or more seconds to hit 60 from a standstill. And just how often does the average driver accelerate in that fashion? In a sense, 0–60 full throttle is comparable to making a high-speed panic stop 60–0.
    7-8 seconds is one thing, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. But 12-15 seconds is sluggish and frustrating.

    If you didn't have constant access to test cars, and had to settle on one vehicle for your daily driver, would you still be satisfied with your Nissan truck?
    Last edited by misterdecibel; 06-08-2010 at 01:16 PM.

  6. #26
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel View Post
    7-8 seconds is one thing, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. But 12-15 seconds is sluggish and frustrating.

    If you didn't have constant access to test cars, and had to settle on one vehicle for your daily driver, would you still be satisfied with your Nissan truck?
    Absolutely.

    Hell, I drove a 73 Super Beetle in DC traffic for several years!

    Keep in mind: I also have motorcycles - including sport bikes that are quicker than almost anything on four wheels.

    If I feel the need for speed, that's the tool I select...

  7. #27
    But 12-15 seconds is sluggish and frustrating.
    Is it? My 240D (0-60 in 25 seconds) felt a little slow at first, but after daily driving it for a year it isn't that slow anymore. In fact when I drive the Jetta it actually feels fast, even though it has a "sluggish and frustrating" 0-60 time of 12 seconds.

  8. #28
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dieseleverything View Post
    Is it? My 240D (0-60 in 25 seconds) felt a little slow at first, but after daily driving it for a year it isn't that slow anymore. In fact when I drive the Jetta it actually feels fast, even though it has a "sluggish and frustrating" 0-60 time of 12 seconds.
    I just got back from a drive from our place into Christiansburg, about 30 miles away on a country secondary road with a speed limit of 55 mph. If I drive this road at 60-ish, a slightly brisk pace but by no means pushing it - I am already driving faster than 98 percent of the cars I encounter.

    In a car like say a Porsche Boxster or BMW 3 or similar, you'd need to be driving at least 65-70 to even begin to utilize the tires, the suspension, brakes and so on. And I almost never see such a car being driven like that.

    Same goes for starting out from a stop at red lights. All around me, cars capable of getting to 60 in 7 seconds or less. They almost never "punch it" - or even close to it - from a red light.

    Take a stopwatch or just count it out for yourself the next time you are stopped at a red light. How many cars go from 0 to 60 in less than 10 seconds?

    Again: I love fast cars; I myself do drive fast. But most people don't - and that includes all these maroons I see out there everyday in their grossly overpowered (given the way they drive) and thus, stupid and wasteful, vehicles.

    75 percent of the driving public would be just fine in a car with the 0-60 capability, top-speed and handling grip of a mid-1980s Taurus.

    Indeed, they would never know the difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Well, maybe you did!

    But the published (corrected) results are what they are - and I'm just quoting them.

    The early Z, as you know, was not even intended to be a quarter-mile car but to be a successful road racer.

    If you wanted maximum straight-line performance in '67-'69 you wanted an SS 396, not a Z28 302!
    Yes, that is one of the reasons I bought the Z. It handled so much better than my previous '67 396 Chevelle. I also remember it having nominal up-front torque and I had to feather the clutch a bit to keep from stalling it off the line. I could take off in fourth gear with the 396 if I so desired. It also was one of the few '69 Z's that had power steering and that allowed for wide tires in the front as well as back. It was many years before I had a car that could match it's cornering/handling.

  10. #30
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gareebee View Post
    Yes, that is one of the reasons I bought the Z. It handled so much better than my previous '67 396 Chevelle. I also remember it having nominal up-front torque and I had to feather the clutch a bit to keep from stalling it off the line. I could take off in fourth gear with the 396 if I so desired. It also was one of the few '69 Z's that had power steering and that allowed for wide tires in the front as well as back. It was many years before I had a car that could match it's cornering/handling.
    I've been fortunate enough to have been able to drive (and own) several '60s and '70s-era muscle cars and agree with you completely. Most of the big block cars were nose heavy and pretty terrible in even mild cornering; they just weren't set up for it.

    As an example:

    A friend of mine owned a '71 GTX 440 that I got to drive extensively. Here was a 4,000 pound muscle car with a 370 hp V-8 riding on 14 inch Hurst wheels, with totally numb and overboosted power steering connected to a disastrously too -firm sometimes and over-soft the rest of the time suspension. It was quite literally a dangerous car!

    GM did much better during those years; in particular the '70-'81 Camaros and Firebirds, which were much better balanced overall and handled better than just about any other American car on the road at the time.

  11. #31
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    The best handling muscle car from the 60's/70's that I owned back then, was the 1970 SCJ 429 Cyclone Spoiler (C6 - 13.70's/80's @97 mph), followed by our 1970 LS6 SS Chevelle with it's "F41" suspention (M22).

    Both could keep up, if not surpass the Corvette's of the 60's and 70's (supposedly the big dogs of handling back then), and when I added what was called the "Talladega Bar" (brace for the shock towers), (given to me by CaleYarborough in 1971), another story for another time, it really handled well, trying to push those pesky HO and SD T/A's outa the way, equally supurb handler's back then.

    Rex

  12. #32
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Was there any difference in weight between the Z-28's 302 and a decent 350? It's the same block with a (slightly) smaller bore and a (much) shorter stroke isn't it?

    Seems to me that all the '67-'69 Z-28's handling advantages could be maintained with a more powerful 350-powered Camaro, no?

  13. #33
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel View Post
    Was there any difference in weight between the Z-28's 302 and a decent 350? It's the same block with a (slightly) smaller bore and a (much) shorter stroke isn't it?

    Seems to me that all the '67-'69 Z-28's handling advantages could be maintained with a more powerful 350-powered Camaro, no?
    The 302 (and 267 and 283) use the same basic block as the other, large Chevy small blocks. So yes, the 302 engine's weight was about the same as a 350.

    But the Z-28 was a package that also included suspension and brakes upgrades (even 4WD discs, by the way) that weren't available in other Camaro models, at least as factory options. The 302 was the '67-'69 Z's powerplant rather than the 350 because of displacement limits in SCCA racing. The 327 and 350 were too big.

    The early Z's 302 was also a special engine, unique to the Z, which benefitted from several performance enhancements specific to that engine, as well as available add-ons such as a dual-carb cross ram intake, cowl-mounted cold air induction system, etc.

    Of course, as we all know, beginning in 1970, when the new body came out, Chevy dropped the 290 hp 302 - which had inadequate low-end torque and wasn't a particularly good street engine - in favor of the 370 hp 350 LT-1. This engine retained the high-rpm high-performance but had more "bottom end."

  14. #34
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post

    But the Z-28 was a package that also included suspension and brakes upgrades (even 4WD discs, by the way) that weren't available in other Camaro models, at least as factory options. The 302 was the '67-'69 Z's powerplant rather than the 350 because of displacement limits in SCCA racing. The 327 and 350 were too big.
    I understand the need to homologate for TransAm racing.

    But for an end user, once the car has been delivered to the customer it no longer bears any legal responsibility to maintain the limits imposed by homologation. And 43 years after the fact, aren't the parts available to turn any ol' 6-cylinder Camaro into a Z-28 clone?

  15. #35
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel View Post
    I understand the need to homologate for TransAm racing.

    But for an end user, once the car has been delivered to the customer it no longer bears any legal responsibility to maintain the limits imposed by homologation. And 43 years after the fact, aren't the parts available to turn any ol' 6-cylinder Camaro into a Z-28 clone?
    Sure, but it's still a clone - so either fraudulent or worthless (if the owner is honest and discloses the truth).

    And while the owner of a real '67-69 Z-28 could surely put in the more tractable 350 in lieu of the high-strung 302 and improve the performance as well as the drivability of the car. But it would also ruin the historical value of the car in the process.

    And of course, today, the aftermarket is bristling with suspension pieces and so on that are vastly better (in terms of the handling ability that results) than the original '60s stuff - and while many people do upgrade, in my opinion, it similarly ruins the car's historical value. I cringe whenever I see, for example, a '60s or '70s era muscle car with a Corvette IRS and 20 inch rims... and crate motor LS1 in place of what was originally there.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Sure, but it's still a clone - so either fraudulent or worthless (if the owner is honest and discloses the truth).

    And while the owner of a real '67-69 Z-28 could surely put in the more tractable 350 in lieu of the high-strung 302 and improve the performance as well as the drivability of the car. But it would also ruin the historical value of the car in the process.

    And of course, today, the aftermarket is bristling with suspension pieces and so on that are vastly better (in terms of the handling ability that results) than the original '60s stuff - and while many people do upgrade, in my opinion, it similarly ruins the car's historical value. I cringe whenever I see, for example, a '60s or '70s era muscle car with a Corvette IRS and 20 inch rims... and crate motor LS1 in place of what was originally there.
    I agree. In my opinion, the only acceptable modifications to an older car would be, say a bigger sway bar, an overdrive transmission, tighter springs, or something relatively invisible. The idea of putting an LS1 in a classic car is kind of BS. On the other hand, if the car was a grossly underpowered slug from the late 1970's, why the heck not?

  17. #37
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat View Post
    I agree. In my opinion, the only acceptable modifications to an older car would be, say a bigger sway bar, an overdrive transmission, tighter springs, or something relatively invisible. The idea of putting an LS1 in a classic car is kind of BS. On the other hand, if the car was a grossly underpowered slug from the late 1970's, why the heck not?
    Yep, it's exactly like taking a steam locomotive and installing a modern diesel-electric powerplant. It becomes just a shell. In a very real way, a fraud.

    It particularly hurts (me) to see a car that came with an engine long out of production (Buick, say - or Pontiac or Cadillac) retrofitted with a crate Chevy engine. I have nothing against Chevy engines; they are excellent. But the engine is the heart of a car and if it was originally equipped with a non-Chevy engine (especially if it was an interesting non-Chevy engine) then you've taken away a lot of what makes the car different and thus, interesting as well as a historical artifact.

    My Trans Am with a crate LS1 in it would sound/drive and behave very much like a new Corvette, albeit with a custom body.

    It's that massive lump of Pontiac cast iron (7.4 liters!) that makes my car neat!

  18. #38
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    I don't see anything wrong with taking a base-model '67-'69 6-cylinder Camaro and upgrading the engine and chassis to a higher, but period-correct spec. If you want the driving experience of a Z28 but don't want to pay collector car prices, it seems like a valid option to me.

    As long as you don't stick Z28 badges on it.

    On the other hand, a Chip Foose resto-custom with a modern engine and drivetran and ugly billet wheels would be a rolling abortion.

  19. #39
    Chip Foose, what an idiot. I wouldn't let him within 20 feet of any of my cars....or anything I own for that matter.

  20. #40
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dieseleverything View Post
    Chip Foose, what an idiot. I wouldn't let him within 20 feet of any of my cars....or anything I own for that matter.
    He's a talented guy with no taste or sense of history. Or maybe he just doesn't care and sees his atrocities as a way to make a buck because that's what the Maggotry wants....

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