A little special sauce for the bread and butter 318.
I get it. I fully understand the market forces behind making the 318 the base engine in the Road Runner for 1973. Understanding it doesn't mean I have to like it. Nor does that mean it was the right move to make. If I was running Plymouth my plan would be the 340 as the base motor, followed by the 360 for the 1974 MY. I would have created a Fun Runner type stripe and wheel package for 318 buyers, essentially all the visual stuff of a Road Runner without the bird decal or the beep-beep horn. If some corporate honcho above me on the pecking order insisted on the 318 I'd go the "special" Road Runner Engine route. A 318 with a cam and heads from the 340 parts bin, topped with a 4 barrel Thermoquad. That hypothetical engine should have been available all the way till the end, the 1980 Volare Road Runner.
Jim Morrison was a car guy?
Jim Morrison died 50 years ago today at 27 years young. Okay, we don't talk Shelby GT 500, a real muscle car. Nor do I know much of anything about Jim Morrison aside from singing a couple of hits I enjoy. The folks at Hagerty do. They have a good article on Jim Morrison and his Shelby GT 500 that seemingly has disappeared. Since the young Morrison fancied himself a filmmaker they is some footage of Jim and his prized Ford.
Check it out.
Yes, I know there are some Charger pics in the collage. I'm a Mopar guy.
Need to do this again.
An impromptu decision to attend the 20th annual show at Chester NJ lead to a short yet enjoyable experience. The weather really helped this year although a very brief light shower toward the end probably freaked some car owners out. Light winds, temps in the low seventies and overcast meant walking around comfortable without getting a sun burn. We got there around 1:30pm just in time for lunch. While there are some lots packed with classic iron it's both sides of Main Street with parallel parked cars that are the attraction. Cars lumber up and down Main Street as you check out where you'll grab a bite to eat or the wife spies a cute blouse. We stopped at Pren Kitchen grabbing an outdoor table by the blue McLaren. I enjoyed the lamb burger topped by gorgonzola cheese with bacon and a side of Mac 'n Cheese. Thinking about how I really should have gotten a few pictures of Carmine's '74 GTO.
Ford released a small pick up truck today.
It's not trivial. Ford launched a smaller pick up truck called Maverick, with a hybrid power train that supposedly will sticker for under $20K. Everybody is talking about it. That's not really our scene but the Ford Maverick Stallion is our bag.
For 1976 the Grabber was dropped for a new appearance package called Stallion. Check out the pics. The Stallion package was also available on Mustang II and Pinto. Unfortunately this bad ass look could be ordered with mere mortal power trains. It could also be ordered with a 302 V8 and is a great platform for other Ford V8 engines...no GM LS please.
Here is one for sale in Live Oak, Florida. Their asking price is $14.7K, a former magazine feature car with a worked 302.
1976 Ford Maverick Stallion for sale: photos, technical specifications, description (topclassiccarsforsale.com)
I'd drive that, would you? Anybody know of any other hot Maverick Stallions out there? Hit me up.
Malaise muscle sneaking into the DMC event
Well, show season and normal are back. Among the cars there were also smiles and hand shakes. Dead Man's Curve is a car club turned event business with a huge presence in the north east and probably known nationally among the serious hot rod crowd. They throw an epic three day event each year to wind down summer, with other events during the year.
"a big family who shares the same passion for cartoon hot rods"
Their focus is hot rods and rat rods with their shows having a 1972 and Older rule on signage and posters. The DMC guys had an event this past Saturday at a drive-in theater. A gear head brother told me the 1978 Dodge Super Coupe shouldn't have a problem getting in. Dave was correct, they were happy enough to wave me in and take my $20. There were other malaise era machines on sight. Another Mopar 360 V8 in the form of a Lil' Red Express truck. A few non-chrome bumper Corvettes and a C4. An AMC Eagle four wheel drive sedan but not much else. Again no surprise, a DMC event is going to be heavy on hot-rods, rat-rods, Tri-Five like stuff and muscle cars, with a few genuine classics. Old foreign stuff gets in to, spotted a Jag E-type and flaired-out pre-fox body Capri, various air-cooled VW stuff. Modern Challengers, Mustangs and Corvettes were relegated to the spectator parking lot. I doubt my 1999 Trans Am would have gotten in, it's in that gray space of not quite classic yet but not modern anymore. There was a little swap meet and a magician. A DJ with deeper cuts than just doo-wop, I mistook Make Your Own Kind of Music by Cass Elliot for something by Petula Clark. Decent grub from the on-site drive-in concession stand, a couple of iced coffees felt good on a warm morning.
The drive to the sight was great with the windows down and the sunroof open. The old normal and car season are back! Get out and enjoy it.
Find out more about DMC: Classic Car Club, Events & Shows | Northern New Jersey | Dead Mans Curve, LLC (deadmanscurveusa.com)
I've got the sickness from the HL/NL virus
I think I need to straight up warn you, dear reader. This post will seem like the ranting of a mad man. I feel crazed at the moment. I want to do something now. When I know what I really need to do, what would be best for me is to calm down. Calm down and forget this car.
Let's go down this road again! What is it? A 1980 Plymouth Volaré Road Runner. Many react saying, "a what now"? Others call it garbage unworthy of the Road Runner badge. Back in the day meaning the 1980's. When my buddies and I were tooling around on legit Mopar A, B and E bodies we bought for under a grand. There was a black T-top 1980 Road Runner in a nearby 'hood. I don't who owned it but I always wanted it. That desire never left me.
Through the years several 1980 Road Runners slipped through my fingers.
Today one is crossing the block at Mecum Indy. The good: Black, T-tops, manual transmission. The bad? Ughh, believe it or not for 1980 Plymouth offered the Road Runner with the indestructible Slant Six. I know, I know, some of you just learning this are incredulous. This one is 225 cid six equipped. I said I'd never buy one without a 318 V8 at minimum, fun fact the 360 V8 was dropped for 1980*. The T-top weather stripping looks shot as well. I'm sure it's got the fragile 7 1/4 rear axle.
I'm bidding on this dog. Please pray that I'm outbid, I'm not sure how I'll explain it to my wife or to the other men at cars & coffee.
*Some claim the 360 V8 was available on the F-body in 1980. I'm not yet a believer.
UPDATE: the car sold for $18K which is Kit Car & Super Coupe money and no I wasn't the crazy s.o.b. that bought it.
Hagerty presents a roaming cars & coffee.
I got a event suggestion at Fakebook from Hagerty. In AZ, NJ and NY Hagerty with something called Car Park was hosting a multiple location cars and coffee at participating Dunkin' Donuts...excuse me it's just Dunkin' now. Drive a "circuit" with names like Daytona, Monaco and Monza hitting up three DD to get cool swag and a poster. Meet other cool people, see cool cars in their natural habitat. I thought "wow" fire up the 1978 Dodge Super Coupe, grab the camera for shooting cool pics of malaise era cars. It was a bust.
Now to be fair I didn't drive any of the circuits in AZ, just one in NJ and NY. Also the weather in the area was sketchy, the warm sunshine never materialized but some showers did. At most locations we had the only enthusiast car participating. We didn't see many kindred spirits on the road either. It wasn't a complete waste of time. At our final stop, the Dunkin' on MacArthur Blvd in Mahwah, NJ there was a full blown cars & coffee happening. Coincidently some other group of gearheads were holding a meetup there as well. Check out Richard's blog below for other pics and a more favorable opinion on the day.
Sunday Morning Cars and Coffee, May 2, 2021 | richardscarblog
There were no other malaise muscle, there was a cool Nova SS, a hot rod, an antique fire truck, sports cars classic and modern . Our SC drew a small crowd which was nice. It also gave us an excuse to explore Greenwood Lake, NY a little bit, with a nice lunch at Murphy's Tavern.
If they run this event again and the weather cooperates I'll try it out one more time. Car Park was the main driver of this event, check out their website below.
About — CarPark (carparknyc.com)
Pontiac should be alive today.
I was reading an article at barnfinds.com about an Olds H-Body of all things. Apparently, there are people who believe an over use of body cladding killed Pontiac. At first, I laughed it off then I became indignant. Body cladding didn’t kill Pontiac but Rick Wagoner certainly did. Below is my opening and closing statement in the trial of Rick Wagoner for the vehicular homicide of the Pontiac Motor Division.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is the complete incompetence of former chairman and CEO of General Motors, George Richard Wagoner Jr. That lead to the untimely death of Pontiac. In 1992 Wagoner was named GM’s Chief Financial Officer, in 1994 he was named executive vice president and president of North American Operations. June of 2000 he’s president and chief executive officer. May of 2003 Wagoner is elected chairman. Under his leadership GM lost $85B. Wagoner’s greatest sin was his lack of vision, backbone to make the tough decisions, believing GM could get by with a slow incremental approach. Wagoner long before 2009 should have sought a reorganization that would have made Buick/GMC/Pontiac one legal brand structure. The brands were mostly housed together in much of the USA. He could have left Buick as a separate brand in China. By the 2009 bankruptcy it was too late. The government would make GM lean using an axe instead of Wagoner using the scalpel of a fine surgeon. Now a proud heritage of domestic automobile performance is gone. It's death announced April 27th 2009.
A story of disappointment and frustration
When you find out about the 1980 Duntov Turbo Corvette excitement turns to frustration. So much promise unfulfilled. Frustration that GM couldn't get turbo-charging right till Buick did it in the early 1980s. Chrysler and Ford were no better. Think about the reputation of the 1980 Turbo Trans Am. Had the Big Three gotten the mix of V8 engines and turbos right the malaise muscle car era almost certainly would have turned out different. As in better. Hell, we probably wouldn't call it malaise muscle. Unfortunately the tuner firms didn't have much better luck. Which is all the more disappointing when you remember Duntov spent GM dollars tinkering around with turbo Corvettes for years.
That doesn't mean this Duntov Turbo Corvette is insignificant. American Custom Industries of Sylvania, OH built the over the top Greenwood Corvettes in the mid-seventies. A car that personally I'm not a big fan of. They must have sold enough of them, ACI was looking for a sequel. Having one Zora Arkus-Duntov on the payroll since his retirement from GM in 1975. It was a no-brainer to collaborate with him in building a Super-Vette. ACI chief Robert Schuller early on was content with a body kit and suspension mods. Duntov made it clear the car bearing his name would have power, turbo V8 power. The Duntov Turbo Corvette was to be the car that to his frustration GM never approved.
Customers were to have their new L82 Corvettes delivered to ACI. A turbo producing 4.0psi and a water injection system would be mounted to the 350 Chevy V8. The Corvette's tight engine compartment and the turbo caused development issues early on due to heat. Braided metallic lines, a special vented air cleaner, hood vents and wider body work providing a larger engine bay were the solutions. Documentation from the era is almost nil, multiple sources claim the turbo was good for 70bhp. That would put the turbo L82 into early modern LS1 territory. Yet, the Duntov Turbo Corvette was a failure because for all the effort the car didn't perform much better than a stock 1980 Corvette. In 2004 Corvette Fever posted a 0-60 time of 7.5 seconds with a 15.5 quarter mile time. At a cost of almost $35K the Duntov cost more than twice the price of a base Corvette. The math just doesn't add up. It wasn't all bad news.
"A stock Corvette feels like a bucket of parts bouncing around in the back of a pickup, all loose and wobbly and rattily. It must do old Zora's heart good to see his car track the straight and narrow for a change, to not get knocked askew at the very thought of the bumps, seams, and dimples that Mother Nature and heavy traffic have strewn around for us to find wherever we go." Car and Driver, November 1980.
When cars arrived at ACI they were completely stripped down. Along with the engine mods substantial suspension and steering system tweaking were done. As were quality control measures, providing a road machine better than anything coming out of GM's St. Louis plant.
"They settled on a production number of 201 cars. Zora got the first one, chassis number 000, the very one you see here". Car and Driver, November 1980.
According to multiple sources Zora never got to keep that promotional car tested by C&D. There was a clause in Duntov's contract that he would get a car only after ACI sold 100 units. The automatic transmission only, the high price and lackluster performance caused the car to flop selling only 86 cars of the 200 planed.
It doesn't appear any are available for sale at the moment. A brief search shows one sold on Craig's List for $48,975 back in 2012. Have you ever seen or driven one?
Pics from Hot Rod, Car and Driver.
So much good malaise muscle at Indy.
I really want to be at Mecum Indy this year. There is so much really good malaise muscle with many cars at no reserve. Are you heading to Indy next month?
Check out the lots. Mecum Auctions | The World's Largest Collector Car Auctions
John is a GenX car enthusiast who grew up driving classic muscle cars. He enjoys the new modern muscle cars that can out perform the classics in every way. In the sportscar world his banners are Viper and Corvette. John has a guilty pleasure. The disco era street machine. Those unloved, underpowered cars festooned with scoops, spoilers and stripes.