The Times Journal & Russell County News
Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014 — RUSSELL SPRINGS & JAMESTOWN, KENTUCKY — russellcounty.net
Get online news updates FREE - Subscribe:  [?]
Google

Cruisin’: Muscle Cars are back
In Feb. 24 Issue
By Ron Cowell, Columnist

Some automotive historians trace the beginning of the muscle car all the way back to when Oldsmobile stuffed a 303 cubic inch overhead-valve V8 into the 1949 Rocket 88.

The car produced a whopping 135 horse power. That's all it took to be king of the performance hill in 1949.

Performance continued to improve over the next 10 years.  By 1955,  Chrysler was on top of the performance hill with their classic C-300.

The C-300 was a big car but with the 300 horse power  Hemi, it was the most powerful American car manufactured in 1955. The Hemi could propel the luxury car from zero to sixty in 9.8 seconds and it had a top speed of 130 mph.  

The 1960's was the golden age of the muscle car. The decade started with cars build specifically for the drag racing crowd. The compact Dodge Dart promptly dominated the drag strip. Ford created the Thunderbolt from a stripped down Fairlane.  

With its' fiberglass body boards and its' lack of all comfort features, it was a real runner. Quarter mile times in less than twelve seconds were common. Ford also offered 200 copies of a stripped down version of the Galaxies with a 427 cubic inch engine.

These were very limited production models and only a few copies were sold. The only muscle car offered to the masses during the early part of the decade was the Impala Super Sport with a 409 engine.

1964 there was the introduction of the Pontiac GTO. The GTO was the first of the classic muscle cars. It was an intermediate sized car and it came with a 389 engine. Performance was very acceptable with 0-60 time of 7.7 seconds and a ¼ mile time of 15.8 seconds. However, performance was only part of the success of the GTO. The secret to the GTO's success was the look were right, the performance was right.

Ford was the next manufacturer to produce a performance car. The Mustang changed everything.

General Motors quickly added the Chevelle Super Sport and Buick added the Olds 442 to its' muscle car list. Chrysler began stuffing Hemis and big blocks into everything they could. Chargers and GTXs all became legends.

The rare HEMI and the accommodating 440 big blocks were tearing up the roads. Ford had the Fairlane and the Galaxies for those wanting something a little larger than the original Mustang.

Plymouth quickly launched the Baracudda and even beat the Mustang to market.

By 1967 GM introduced the Camero and the Firebird. The next year AMC launched the XMX and the Javelin.  Many consider 1970 as the pinnacle year for classic muscle cars.

 Then things changed, fuel prices began to rise, the insurance companies started raising rates and the economy began to slow down.

By 1974 all the original muscle cars were just shadows of their former selves.  Performance was no longer a consideration for the automotive customer was looking for fuel economy, not tire burning performance. The Cuda and Challenger were discontinued. The Chargers and Chevelles were now mid-priced luxury cars.

The only cars to continue the tradition were the Firebird and the Camaro. Although, they too were much less powerful than just a few years earlier

Nothing much happened until the Ford Mustang was reintroduced in 1979 as a performance model.  In 1984 Chevrolet introduced a new Corvette. Performance was back.

The cars kept getting better and better and by the late 1990's these new muscle cars out did their classic muscle cars in every category. Performance, comfort, reliability and fuel consumption were all much better than they were in the 1960s.

Amazingly, no one cared. Sales were down across the board. GM even stopped production of the Camaro and Firebird in 2002.

In 2005 Ford redesigned the Mustang and for the third time, the Mustang changed the automotive landscape. Sales exploded and people loved the retro look.

At the same time, Chrysler developed a new line of rear wheel drive intermediates and the Charger with an optional HEMI engine was born. The muscle car was back.

Dodge followed up the Charger with a retro Challenger and Chevrolet is racing to re-introduce a classic Camaro.  The muscle car is back.

That's it for this week. It won't be long before we start seeing Cruise Ins and Car Shows and these cars back on the street. Till next time, "Keep Cruisin."

Content Management Powered by CuteNews
SUBSCRIBE to The Times Journal: CLICK HERE

SPONSORED LINKS


Publish Yourself PUBLISH YOURSELF
You can publish news about your group or organization directly to our site, using your computer.
CLICK HERE
Laker Band LAKER BAND
Visit the award-winning official web site for the Russell County Marching Band.
CLICK HERE
Lake Cumberland Web Cams LIVE WEB CAMS
Views of Lake Cumberland as it is right now, from a number of web cams.
CLICK HERE
Lake Cumberland LAKE CUMBERLAND
lakecumberland.com
Official site for Lake Cumberland with everything for the lake visitor and fisherman.
CLICK HERE
The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
-
P.O. Box 190
120 Wilson St.
Russell Springs KY 42642
Phone: 270-866-3191
Fax: 270-866-3198
Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
-
404 Monument Square
Jamestown KY 42629
Phone: 270-343-5700
Publisher:
David Davenport
(publisher@tjrcn.com)
Managing Editor:
Greg Wells
(editor@tjrcn.com)
News & Sports Editor:
Derek Aaron
(sports@tjrcn.com)
Advertising Manager:
Stephanie Smith
(ads@tjrcn.com)
Business Manager:
Kim Haydon
(business@tjrcn.com)
Production Manager:
Renee Daffron
(people@tjrcn.com)
Jamestown Office:
Kim Graham
(rcnoffice@tjrcn.com)
PUBLIC MEETINGS
Members of the public may attend meetings. Boards or agencies may schedule other meetings at special times, but are required to notify the public.
FISCAL COURT: 2nd Monday of month, 6 p.m. in the Courthouse
RUSSELL SPRINGS CITY: 2nd Thursday of month, 6 p.m. in the City Hall Municipal Room
JAMESTOWN CITY: 3rd Thursday of month, 6 p.m. in basement meeting room at City Hall
SCHOOL BOARD: 3rd Monday of month, 6:30 p.m., Board of Education office in Jamestown
LIBRARY BOARD: 2nd Tuesday of month, 5 p.m. at Jamestown Library
AIRPORT BOARD: 1st Tuesday of month, 5 p.m. at Airport
TOURISM COMMISSION: 2nd Wednesday of month, 12:30 p.m. at Tourism Office
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: 3rd Tuesday of month, noon at The Cove restaurant
LOCAL & AREA
NEWS SITES
The links below open new windows. We are not responsible for the content of the sites.
Laker Country WJRS
(Russell Springs)
lakercountry.com/
WKYM-1017 (Monticello)
wkym.com/
Adair Progress (Columbia)
adairprogress.com/
Casey County News (Liberty)
caseynews.net/
Clinton County News (Albany)
clintonnews.net/
Cumberland County News (Burkesville)
burkesville.com/ccn/
Wayne County Outlook (Monticello)
wcoutlook.com/
Somerset
Commonwealth-Journal
somerset-kentucky.com/
Danville
Advocate-Messenger
amnews.com/
Lexington Herald-Leader
kentucky.com/
Louisville Courier-Journal
courier-journal.com/
WKYT-TV, Lexington
wkyt.com/
WBKO-TV, Bowling Green
wbko.com/
USEFUL SITES
The links below open new windows. We are not responsible for the content of the sites.

RUSSELL CO. OFFICIALS
RUSSELL COUNTY SCHOOLS
RUSSELL CO. LIBRARY

LAKE CUMBERLAND
STATE RESORT PARK
TV LISTINGS:
Choose your service and provider
SOMERSET MOVIE SHOWTIMES

.