Tag Archives: V8

The First Personal Luxury Car: Ford’s Thunderbird

The First Personal Luxury Car: Ford’s Thunderbird

1955 Ford ThunderbirdThe ultimate American personal luxury car of the heyday of the Big Three had to be the Cadillac Eldorado, but the very first of the breed was the Ford Thunderbird. The car went into development in 1953 as competition for the new Chevy Corvette as a sporty two-seat convertible, and by 1954 the first prototype was introduced at the Detroit Auto Show, in February; by September of ’54 the T-Bird went into production. The first 1955 Ford Thunderbird models were offered to the public by the end of October that same year.

1971 Chevy Monte Carlo

You may recognize this muscle car from the thrilling opening sequence of the popular movie The Fast and the Furious 3: Tokyo Drift, or you may simply be a fan of the old Chevys, but there is no disputing that the 1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo holds a special place in the hearts of car enthusiasts.

1971 Chevy Monte CarloThe Monte Carlo was first debuted in 1969 as an answer to the Ford Thunderbird and has since seen five generations of production. The 1971 model sold for $3416 and included verticle, slimmer headlights in comparison to the previous model, but also featured a stand-up hood ornament and an optional four-spoke steering wheel. It had a V8 engine, rear-wheel drive, and coupe style, though it was largely unchanged from the 1970 model. At first, however, sales on this model got off to a slow start due to strikes.

Early Muscle: 1961 Pontiac Ventura

Early Muscle: 1961 Pontiac Ventura

Pontiac VenturaIt is hard to pin down the first actual muscle car; some have asserted that it is the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88, which was built with speed in mind, with an overhead valve V8 placed in a mid-size car with a relatively lightweight body. A lot of observers cite the next big step in the evolution of the early muscle car to be the introduction of the 1955 Chrysler C-300 with its 300 horsepower Hemi engine that could go from zero to sixty in 9.8 seconds and reach a top speed of around 130 miles per hour.

1972 Plymouth Duster

1972 Plymouth Duster

Oh, the 1970s. Some of us remember them fondly, while others see bad fashion choices looking back through the picture frame. As with anything, there were good moments and bad, highlights and less exciting moments. In the early 1970s, Plymouth was excited to add a little something exciting to one of its models. The Plymouth Duster made its appearance in 1970 as a compliment to the existing Plymouth Valiant. The Duster served as the performance version of the classic car, the Valiant.

The Boss 429

Ford MustangWhen looking back at the history of muscle cars, one model stands out in American car-making: the 1969 Boss 429 Mustang. Though originally intended to compete with the Corvette, the Boss didn’t quite live up to Ford’s high hopes, and was discontinued relatively quickly after production continued from 1969 to 1970.

Each vehicle was hand assembled at the Kar Kraft facility in Brighton, Michigan. Production numbers were low, making each of the only 859 units just a little more special. In fact, some say that the Boss 429 may be the most valuable muscle car built in the 1960s because of its rarity.

Driving In A Winter Wonderland

The first snows have fallen across the country, parents everywhere have dragged out the kids’ snow gear, and people have been heard far and wide grumbling about the frost so stubbornly clinging to the windshield. Though this time of year can be filled with extra cheer, beautiful views, and plenty of old family memories, we’re sad to say it also means it’s time to “winterize” all the great classic, sporty cars and store them safely in Grandma’s garage, nestled safely away from the bustling cities…over the river, and through the woods, of course!

Monte Carlo SS: Ending the Oil Embargo in Style

Monte Carlo SS: Ending the Oil Embargo in Style

1970 Chevrolet Monte CarloWhen the 1980s rolled around and the oil problems and energy crisis began to dissipate, the Big Three automakers, GM, Ford, and Chrysler, began turning away from fuel efficient gas sippers and slowly began to reintroduce cars with a little power under the hood.

1986 Chevrolet Monte CarloCars started to get exciting again, especially as the Big Three released a few cars that paid homage to the muscle cars from the pre-energy crisis years. Automakers started using V6 and V8 engines because fuel was available. As the decade moved on, Detroit car makers even started to add turbo into the mix, too.

1955 Chevy Bel Air

1955 Chevy Bel Air, 150 & 250

1955 Chevy 210

1955 was a good year for the Chevrolet branch of General Motors. The 1955 Chevy models were the first to include the legendary small block V8 that the car company has produced longer than any other engine. No other engine in the world has been mass-produced for so long. At the time, though, the V8 was only an option on the 1955 Chevy models, which included the 150, 210, and Bel Air.

1970 Pontiac GTO Ram Air III

1970 Pontiac GTO Ram Air III

1970 Pontiac GTO Ram Air III
As muscle cars were just making their way onto the American auto scene, Pontiac threw its hat into the ring with the GTO. To create this line of sporty cars, controversially named after the Ferrari race car, Pontiac took one of its biggest engines, a 389-cubic inch V8, and put it into a mid-size car. The Ventura received this honor, and in fact, the first GTO was really just an option package on the Ventura. The result was one of the coolest-looking cars yet produced by American manufacturers and one that set the bar for the rest of the fast and powerful muscle cars to come.

1972 Ford Gran Torino

Among the most popular muscle cars in American automotive history is the Ford Gran Torino. Featured in movies and other forms of popular culture, it represents a unique time in automobile history because of its ability to compete with other muscle cars which were just as exciting then as they are now. The Gran Torino was produced from 1968 until 1976, and it was named after an Italian city called Turin. Though it is still a popular muscle car, this was not the most powerful or the fastest car of its time. Take a look below as we examine one model year of the Ford Gran Torino.