Muscle Car Review - - Content - Bill Craft Michael McQueen Drew Hardin [email protected]­global.net

Agood colum­nist gets read­ers think­ing, and Diego Rosen­berg has done just that re­cently. His ideas about “Mus­cle Car Base­lines” (The Bot­tom End, Sept. and Oct. 2018) have prompted some in­ter­est­ing feed­back from read­ers.

One mes­sage came from Bill Craft, ref­er­enc­ing Diego’s Septem­ber col­umn about what kind of car can be con­sid­ered a mus­cle car. We il­lus­trated the col­umn with a “Venn-like di­a­gram” of over­lap­ping cir­cles that demon­strated Diego’s point: Full­size, in­ter­me­di­ate, com­pact, and pony­car mod­els all have hi-po en­gines in com­mon. So why can’t, say, a 428 Co­bra Jet Mus­tang be both a pony­car and a mus­cle car?

The ar­ti­cle was well thought out, and the Venn di­a­gram was help­ful. What con­sti­tutes a mus­cle car has been ar­gued through the past 50 years! You ac­tu­ally helped clear up a few things, but I’m go­ing to muddy the wa­ters a bit more.

First, many peo­ple won’t even con­sider a four-door a mus­cle car, no mat­ter what’s un­der the hood. To­day’s ex­am­ples would be the Charger, Jeep, and Chrysler 300. All three can be had with Hemis, and the first two can be or­dered with Hell­cat mo­tors.

Some cars can fall into more than one cat­e­gory. Again, I’ll use a mod­ern car as an ex­am­ple: The Corvette Z06s and ZR1s can be sports cars and supercars.

Are all supercars mus­cle cars?

Can you turn an or­di­nary car into a mus­cle car by en­gine mod­i­fi­ca­tions or swaps? What about the 318 Chal­lengers, Darts, Bar­racu­das, and Dusters? They don’t have high-pow­ered en­gines. You can add some fancy stripes and wheels, but they still aren’t mus­cle cars.

What about mus­cle cars of the late 1970s, all of the 1980s, and early 1990s? I had a 1987 305 four-bar­rel Firebird that had nice stripes, wheels, and rear-win­dow lou­vres. It sure looked fast but, 170 hp? Are you kid­ding me? Some of the Trans Ams, Vettes, and Ca­maros of the late 1970s had around 200 hp or less. Are they still mus­cle cars?

I think true car guys can ap­pre­ci­ate all vari­a­tions of mus­cle cars, and I love the cars you cover in your mag­a­zine. We know a mus­cle car when we see one. Or can we just call them cool cars?

When our Oc­to­ber is­sue and its day-two Ca­maro cover car hit the news­stands, reader Michael McQueen had this to say about what makes a mus­cle car. As you will see, he shares some of the same think­ing as Craft.

Well, I never thought I would see the day, we are fi­nally go­ing back to our roots, the true mean­ing of mus­cle car! Can we please get over the match­ing-num­ber, VIN-code blah blah blah? Save that for Rare Finds. I love it, but the truth is, back in the day, that meant noth­ing.

I do have fond mem­o­ries of 440 R/Ts, 340 De­mon, Dart, Duster, Boss 302, and all the Chevy fac­tory big- and small-blocks. But the car I re­mem­ber most is the car I built at 21, my 1966 Mal­ibu con­vert­ible. Out came the 283, in went a 427. Wow! I couldn’t wait to put that Im­pala SS427 em­blem on the mid­dle of that grille, and the skinny Cra­gars on the front. A mus­cle car was born.

My point is all mus­cle cars started as an op­tion on a base model, pe­riod. Did that make my Mal­ibu a clone? I think not. Ask the guy in that real SS396 I blew off what he thinks. I found out about 20 years ago as I stood on my soap­box and told all the car crowds that I had a real 1969 4-4-2 four-speed con­vert­ible, a su­per-rare car. Guess what? No­body cared! And I had to ask my­self, why do I care? You put the mus­cle in the mo­tor if you wanted to.

To­day I drive a fan­tas­tic 1970 four-speed GTO con­vert­ible that started life as a LeMans Sport that I built at half the cost. It’s just as nice or nicer than any so-called “real” GTO that rolls off a trailer, and no­body asks me if it has a 242 in the VIN.

Come on, guys, here’s your chance to turn the cor­ner and em­brace your name. Day two? Clones? Show your mus­cle!

If you’ve been a reader for any length of time you know we take a fairly broad view of what we think fits in a mag­a­zine named Mus­cle Car Re­view. We fea­ture all sizes of cars that share a bond of high per­for­mance. Our his­tor­i­cal em­pha­sis means that most fea­tured cars have muscular mo­tors from the fac­tory, but the grow­ing in­ter­est in day-two mods will con­tinue to blur that line.

I won­der if our par­ent cor­po­ra­tion would con­sider a name change to Cool Car Re­view?

n This 1970 Chrysler 300 Hurst Edi­tion isn’t a mus­cle car in the purest def­i­ni­tion of the term, but it is rare, pow­er­ful, and cool as hell.Look for it in a fu­ture is­sue.

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