The HOT ROD Ar­chives

Hot Rod - - Front Page - Dave Wal­lace

20 YEARS AGO

Fe­bru­ary 1999 (144 pages, $3.50): Way back be­fore tech­nol­ogy be­came a re­place­ment for dis­place­ment, big street power on un­leaded fuel still called for “Big Cubes”—the ti­tle of Tech Edi­tor Terry McGean’s guide to af­ter­mar­ket stro­ker kits. Large rat mo­tors and wedges of the era ranged up to the mid-500s, with small-block Chevys and Fords top­ping out around 435 ci. Ray Bar­ton swung the big­gest stick of all: a 4.625-inch-stroke, 4340-bil­let crank ex­pand­ing the 426 Hemi to a mon­strous 604. Mu­si­cians Dick Dale and Paul Rodgers showed up in cov­er­age of our first Power Tour East (Joan Jett also per­formed).

40 YEARS AGO

Fe­bru­ary 1979 (108 pages, $1.25): “The Last Amer­i­can Mus­cle­car” tested a 1979 Trans Am with one of the last 10,000 or so 6.6L/400ci, gen­uine-Pon­tiac V8s. Of those, 7,500 were re­served for the 10thanniver­sary, midyear “sil­ver edi­tion” that our cover helped in­tro­duce. The rest re­port­edly went into T-As and For­mula Fire­birds or­dered with a four-speed (after which all buy­ers were stuck with Olds’s 185hp 403). Pos­si­bly none of those 2,000 or so oth­ers could’ve equaled the 14.61 at 96.67 that our fac­tory-“blueprinted” model clocked, even de­spite a granny-shift­ing writer. Those num­bers were so un­real that we were com­pelled to warn po­ten­tial buy­ers to re­al­is­ti­cally ex­pect “15.30/94.00 at best, and only if you can find one with a 400-inch mo­tor.”

60 YEARS AGO

Fe­bru­ary 1959 (100 pages, 35¢): News­stand buy­ers surely cursed upon re­al­iz­ing this was the only photo they’d get of Webb Cal­la­han’s “fab­u­lous ’34 Ford com­pe­ti­tion coupe to be fea­tured soon in HR.” Our first Don Gar­l­its drag­ster fea­ture was an­other big sur­prise, con­sid­er­ing its lead role re­sist­ing the na­tion­wide fuel ban im­posed by NHRA Pres­i­dent Wally Parks—also HRM edi­tor—and had al­ready squab­bled pub­licly with the out­spo­ken out­law, ex­pand­ing the racer’s pop­u­lar­ity. Weirder still was this is­sue’s NHRA Bul­letin Board in­tro­duc­tion of Gar­l­its as “World’s fastest NHRA Ad­vi­sor,” show­ing the fu­eler in tire­blaz­ing ac­tion and cred­it­ing its “all-time top speed...with 180.00 run” (about 25- to 30-mph faster than le­gal gas rails).

1999

1979

1959

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