American Muscle Cars: A Full-Throttle History by Darwin Holmstrom, Tom Glatch

By Darwin Holmstrom, Tom Glatch

A muscle motor vehicle symbolizes freedom. It was once freedom that introduced the muscle automobile into lifestyles ─ the liberty of inexpensive fuel and open roads, the liberty provided by means of the postwar American dream, the liberty to move with regards to wherever and do exactly approximately whatever. whilst Pontiac advertised its GTO to the baby-boom iteration, the autos, the folk who drove them, and the days during which the 2 got here jointly ended in one of many maximum tales in car background. while these first fortunate purchasers cranked up the 360-horsepower Tri-Power 389 engines and drove their GTOs off broker plenty, these vehicles took their proprietors towards event, romance, luck, the long run. American Muscle vehicles tells the tale of the main remarkable and fascinating autos ever to come back out of Detroit. it is a tale of flat-out functionality advised at full-throttle, illustrated with appealing glossy and old images.

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In January 1961, less than five weeks after assuming the presidency of Ford Motor Company, McNamara took his “no-fun” philosophy to Washington, DC, where he would orchestrate US military affairs as John F. Kennedy’s, and later Lyndon B. Johnson’s, secretary of defense. McNamara’s prosecution of the war in Vietnam would prove disastrous for the United States (and also to the muscle car market), but his departure worked to Ford’s advantage. McNamara’s midlife career change put Ford back in the business of building cars that were fun.

The company’s Max Wedge engine used every hot-rodding trick to dominate America’s drag strips. 2 cubic inches for Super Stock engines. Its parts list summarized the state of pushrod V-8 engineering art: double-row timing chain, one-piece short-ram aluminum intake manifold topped by a pair of four-barrel carburetors, header-type exhaust manifold, high-capacity fuel pump, dual-point distributor, forged-aluminum pistons, Magnafluxed connecting rods, high-strength valve spring retainers, smaller crankshaft pulley to limit belt speeds, and heavy-duty clutch with an aluminum clutch housing.

Bottom, left: Beswick proved his skill at extracting maximum power from Pontiac engines many, many times. bottom, right: Today this car is restored to the condition it was in when Beswick raced it. of most citizens. For the most part, optimistic exuberance fueled the American psyche, exuberance reflected in the automotive industry. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Detroit experienced a period of technological explosion, a period in which the automotive industry’s best engineers perfected the overhead-valve V-8 engine.

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