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Muscle cars 60,s vs today’s

namba860

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So what 60’s or early 70’s muscle car was the fastest and how does it stack up to today’s muscles cars?
 

SBMech

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69 ZL1 Camaro. Open headers, 10" slicks, ran a 9.96 and consistant low 10's with a professional drag racer driving it for road and track back in the day. I have the article somewhere, it was in a weekly mag called Autoweek.

ZL1 was an all aluminum 427 purely built for drag racing, it was a $5,000 option, making them priced around $7800...crazy expensive back then...they made 69 of them. A few have been tested, they estimated it to make upwards of 600hp.

Does not really stack up to Demon's and the like though, they can rip those numbers off and even faster while running the A/C and cooled seats, listening to your tunes off your phone lol.
 

lbhsbz

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Nothing from the '60s or '70s holds a candle to anything produced today...but they're fun in different ways.

I remember when I had '71 Nova with a BBC/4spd...I thought that was fast, until I got in my buddy's '91 VW GTI 16V....that VW would pretty much mop the shit outta the Nova. Nothing had 500hp out of the box back then, and if it did...it didn't handle for shit or have any brakes.
 

4Waters

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Nothing from the '60s or '70s holds a candle to anything produced today...but they're fun in different ways.

I remember when I had '71 Nova with a BBC/4spd...I thought that was fast, until I got in my buddy's '91 VW GTI 16V....that VW would pretty much mop the shit outta the Nova. Nothing had 500hp out of the box back then, and if it did...it didn't handle for shit or have any brakes.
You had problems with your nova, those VW's weren't that fast, I destroyed one with my 68 F250 and it ran 15.30's at Palmdale.

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bldrinker

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69 ZL1 Camaro. Open headers, 10" slicks, ran a 9.96 and consistant low 10's with a professional drag racer driving it for road and track back in the day. I have the article somewhere, it was in a weekly mag called Autoweek.

ZL1 was an all aluminum 427 purely built for drag racing, it was a $5,000 option, making them priced around $7800...crazy expensive back then...they made 69 of them. A few have been tested, they estimated it to make upwards of 600hp.

Does not really stack up to Demon's and the like though, they can rip those numbers off and even faster while running the A/C and cooled seats, listening to your tunes off your phone lol.
Many people don’t know that car existed.
 

lbhsbz

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You had problems with your nova, those VW's weren't that fast, I destroyed one with my 68 F250 and it ran 15.30's at Palmdale.

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It was with a bit of head work, 52mm Weber’s, 306 degree cams and a techtonics header...the one I built to go road racing would break loose hot R compound Hoosiers in 3rd gear.
 

was thatguy

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At my HS the bad boy was a 70 Z28.
there was a slew of Camaros and BB Chevelles. Plus a real Mach 1
(They bussed us poor kids in from the base to the richest HS in Anchorage)
There was also a sick Mazda rotary of some sort.
I had a 71’ Duster 340, 4 speed vertigate shifter, primered grey with side pipes and L60’s...air shocks of course!
The chevelles were scared of it.

But in town there was countless 9-10 second muscle cars. There was no real law enforcement on cruise nights.
You’d have a big block Vega lined up against Vanderheids blown Anglia doing burnouts and backing up to stage at traffic lights.
Today’s cars are engineering marvels. No doubt about that.
But it really took a certain desire and blood sweat and tears to build a standout hot rod in the 70’s and 80’s.
Nowadays, anyone with a checkbook can just go buy a 10 second car and their biggest concern is whether it comes with a Bose stereo...
 

4Waters

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At my HS the bad boy was a 70 Z28.
there was a slew of Camaros and BB Chevelles. Plus a real Mach 1
(They bussed us poor kids in from the base to the richest HS in Anchorage)
There was also a sick Mazda rotary of some sort.
I had a 71’ Duster 340, 4 speed vertigate shifter, primered grey with side pipes and L60’s...air shocks of course!
The chevelles were scared of it.

But in town there was countless 9-10 second muscle cars. There was no real law enforcement on cruise nights.
You’d have a big block Vega lined up against Vanderheids blown Anglia doing burnouts and backing up to stage at traffic lights.
Today’s cars are engineering marvels. No doubt about that.
But it really took a certain desire and blood sweat and tears to build a standout hot rod in the 70’s and 80’s.
Nowadays, anyone with a checkbook can just go buy a 10 second car and their biggest concern is whether it comes with a Bose stereo...
Holy shit! Are you O'Bannon?🤣🤣

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grumpy88

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Jay leno did a show on this topic and it was sad how what was considered fast back in the day compared to todays commuter car . Tim allen was on the show too
 

PlumLoco

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Yes but most any kid working in a gas station could buy a Road Runner 383, 335 hp big block, 4 speed, w/4.10s that would allow quarter miles times only a second slower than the fastest cars of the day. And for only 20% more you could have multiple carbs and 400+ hp, seating for 5 adults, and best of all, you could work on it yourself.
 

zhandfull

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I love the late 60's to early 70's muscle cars. All of them, Ford, Chevy, and Mopar. Hell Olds, Buick, and Pontiac had some cool cars too. None of them have anything on the late model muscle cars of today though based on performance or comfort. About the only advantage the early muscle cars have is that most of them were lighter weight compared to the new cars.
The early cars to me are still something special. They have to be driven. Pump the gas to get the car to start but not to much otherwise you have to hold it to the floor because it's flooded. Don't forget to pump the brakes in the rain to dry those drum brakes otherwise you may not be stopping. Big steering wheel with manual steering, chrome steel bumpers, two buttons on the floor to the left, one for high beams the other to pump washer fluid. If the car starts running hot and they all did, roll down the windows and turn the heater on. Yeah the early muscle cars were much better than today's muscle cars.
 

lbhsbz

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You had problems with your nova, those VW's weren't that fast, I destroyed one with my 68 F250 and it ran 15.30's at Palmdale.

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I’m not sure what that is...the MK3 was a tank, never got a 16V, and wasn’t produced until ‘93. I had one of those too.(along with about 13 MK2s over the years) ..it was a dog. Maybe some Euro market thing...but I doubt it....just a confused writer. That car came with a ABA 2L 8V crossflow and was not by any means fast...
 

rickdarling

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Had a 70 Chevelle for over 10 years. Tom Nelson built the last motor for it. Juiced big block. Sold it after they closed LACR. Seemed fast to me at low 10s. In retrospect, I’m sorry I no longer own it.

That said, the new Z06 is almost as fast and oh so much better in many ways.

Each era has its own charms..

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FreeBird236

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We had lots of 11 sec cars that ran 14's and 15's because no one could launch. 😅 I guess because we didn't really drag race nobody spent the money on the suspension set up.

The fastest car I'm aware of on the streets of the I.E. was an El Camino 454 with Nitrous that ran in the mid 7's at Palmdale. Built and tuned by the local Chevy guru Len Roberts.
 

was thatguy

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We had lots of 11 sec cars that ran 14's and 15's because no one could launch. 😅 I guess because we didn't really drag race nobody spent the money on the suspension set up.

The fastest car I'm aware of on the streets of the I.E. was an El Camino 454 with Nitrous that ran in the mid 7's at Palmdale. Built and tuned by the local Chevy guru Len Roberts.
True!
My 70 nova was a race car first, Wednesday night terror second.
Many very nice street warriors would show up at the drag strip and be summarily dismissed...

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Sharp Shooter

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The quickest 60's and 70's muscle cars weren't quick until you first added better tires. These cars did not hook with stock tires, but the magazines generally tested them that way. A quick car back then would run low 13's or high 12's. With a few cheap mods you could greatly improve it.

When Detroit got back in the game in '82 the quickest cars were no match for the best 60's and super early 70's cars. The last 20 or so years things changed. The modern muscle car wars have finally surpassed the best "stock" muscle cars from 50 years ago (it's about time).

The newer cars are superior in every way except one. Design and character. Back in the day, the auto manufacturers kept a body style 2 or 3 years before making significant styling changes. They were creative back then. Today's big 3 are still using 12+ year old "retro" inspired designs (Mustang, Camaro, Challenger) without all that much refinement.

Thanks to a robust aftermarket, we can still build a 50 year old car that rivals and sometimes surpasses the modern bad boy while retaining the classic look style and character of the 60's/very early 70's.

I had a friend with a new Red 1990-91? VW 16v GTI. I worked with him. He wouldn't shut up about his car and how fast and agile it was. He let me drive it and we even took it to both LACR and Carlsbad raceway. Of all my friends cars it was always the slowest and by a wide margin. It was far from impressive to me.

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nganga

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Even though today's cars are so much better, I consider it entertainment to ruin guys days (nights) with my 66 sleeper. A guy in a new Z06 pulled in to a Circle K after I hurt his feelings. Just had to know...

 

was thatguy

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The newer cars are superior in every way except one. Design and character.
Lots to be said for character.
Last time I was at Phoenix for Friday night drags there was a grip of 10 second hellcats or whatever the dodges are called.
Nice cars...all looked the same.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a z51 C7 Stingray so I do appreciate modern technology!
But my boat is a 79’ with BBC, Brodix heads, big ass tunnel ram and open headers!
You can’t compare real muscle cars with new space shuttle cars.
Luckily we can do both!

There are some things the old iron does way better though!

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Hdgasser

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Even though today's cars are so much better, I consider it entertainment to ruin guys days (nights) with my 66 sleeper. A guy in a new Z06 pulled in to a Circle K after I hurt his feelings. Just had to know...

Got damn thats a GORGEOUS Chevelle, those 2 year chevelles and 66/67 Nova’s are my all time favorite cars.

with THAT being said you can’t really compare old to new muscle, I had a full bolt on daily driven 2010 cts V that would run 10.89 @131 and could leave the track and drive 3.5 hrs to Vegas or havasu, with cooled seats and the AC blasting that rode like a Cadillac.

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nganga

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Got damn thats a GORGEOUS Chevelle, those 2 year chevelles and 66/67 Nova’s are my all time favorite cars.

with THAT being said you can’t really compare old to new muscle, I had a full bolt on daily driven 2010 cts V that would run 10.89 @131 and could leave the track and drive 3.5 hrs to Vegas or havasu, with cooled seats and the AC blasting that rode like a Cadillac.

View attachment 919766
Thank you. And I agree. My wife has a 68 Corvette resto I built. It's all 100% modern, LS7, rear coil-over..Blah Blah blah, everything. BUT its still a 52 year old car and drives like it. I can't go on long trips in these old cars.

When I go out "prowling" in my Chevelle, I hook the car hauler to my truck and tell my wife to keep her phone on her. :)
 

Sharp Shooter

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jetboatperformance

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Owned a slew of Hot rod door slammers 56 Belair , 63 Sting ray, 64 SS 409 , Chevelles, Novas , Mustangs, Road runners ... all COOL loud & Hot ... But ... My current Aluminum body 15' F150 (2.7 ecoboost) would have given most all a run for the money 0 to 80 in seconds before the end of most on ramps
 
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was thatguy

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This corvette is really something.
I’ve seen Steve’s cars up close and personal.
The Chevelle is the defining standard for which all car insanity is measured. Lol

BUT...the corvette is is a whole different kind of crazy.
First glance I thought “Steve built a hot wheels sparkle car”....
Then you start looking closer and it’s like “holy shit...what have you done??”

It’s not A C7 with a ‘68 body pinned on it.
Is a 68 built into a C7...sort of?

Just an amazing piece.
 

Sharp Shooter

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Owned a slew of Hot rod door slammers 56 Belair , 63 Sting ray, 64 SS 409 , Chevelles, Novas , Mustangs, |road runners ... all COOL loud & Hot ... But ... My current Aluminum body 15' F150 (2.7 ecoboost) would have given most all a run for the money 0 to 80 in seconds before the end of most on ramps

Looks respectable! My 68 Chevelle (when I got it) with a tired mostly stock 325hp 396 ran low 14's at 98 on street tires.

Your truck through the eyes of Car and Driver. Boost being the key word here. :cool:
F-150.png
 

SoCalDave

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Got damn thats a GORGEOUS Chevelle, those 2 year chevelles and 66/67 Nova’s are my all time favorite cars.

with THAT being said you can’t really compare old to new muscle, I had a full bolt on daily driven 2010 cts V that would run 10.89 @131 and could leave the track and drive 3.5 hrs to Vegas or havasu, with cooled seats and the AC blasting that rode like a Cadillac.

View attachment 919766
Love my 2011 daily driver, such a blast to drive.
 

monkeyswrench

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This is an apples/oranges kind of thing...an evolution of motors. They are now cyborgs...half mechanical and half processors.
I have been lucky in an odd way. I have driven Frontenac overhead conversions, the Model T gone pro street for the era. They brought the power up to a whopping 30hp I believe. I have driven 300 cubic inch "full race" flatheads, blown small blocks and twin turbo LS based things...even a peripheral ported rotary or two.
Modern vehicles have so many advantages. RPM controlled fuel and timing curves, added to air density and exhaust wide band, it's like having a crew chief tweaking while driving. They even have factory traction control...driving skill is down to cutting a good light...the car does the rest.

Call me old school, but the sound of a 14:1 small block still rocks. That, and the metallic "pingy" sound of the 500ci prostock motors of the mid-80s...sweet music.
Luckily I don't race anymore, so it just has to sound fast and look cool.
 

TimeBandit

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I lost my drivers license for a year street racing my 1969 Firebird in High School.

I out ran the cop chasing me, but nobody beats the Motorola, they had units blocking the intersection.

His comment as he drove me to jail: "whattaya got in that thing ?" Cop cars circa 1977 sounded like an air nozzle when they floored it, nothing but emissions restrictions.

My car was a senior year auto shop project, Chevy 396, turbo 400 blah blah blah... I never took it to the dragstrip, but it hauled the mail.

So what does gear head do with no drivers license? Road Race motorcycles! Ontario, Willow Springs, Riverside. Full throttle and no cops!
 

monkeyswrench

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Over the years I've come to appreciate the Javelin. Someday I'd like to own one.
There was a "trailered ride" that would roll into the San Gabriel Valley meetups. BBC with dual quads and a whole bunch of nitrous solenoids. I think the guys name was Lonnie? That Javelin flat hauled ass! Some real nice tube work, both chassis and headers. Really a nice car, not just a flying engine stand.
 

LargeOrangeFont

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69 ZL1 Camaro. Open headers, 10" slicks, ran a 9.96 and consistant low 10's with a professional drag racer driving it for road and track back in the day. I have the article somewhere, it was in a weekly mag called Autoweek.

ZL1 was an all aluminum 427 purely built for drag racing, it was a $5,000 option, making them priced around $7800...crazy expensive back then...they made 69 of them. A few have been tested, they estimated it to make upwards of 600hp.

Does not really stack up to Demon's and the like though, they can rip those numbers off and even faster while running the A/C and cooled seats, listening to your tunes off your phone lol.
That would be the equivalent of a modern COPO Camaro drag car.. they just aren’t street legal.
 

BIG MIKE

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My Dads 69’ Nova he was running the streets of San Gabriel Valley in 78’

With the hood on you couldn’t tell it was blown. And he wouldn’t run you for anything less then $100.00. Guys would want to run and he would say ok it’s $100.00 bucks. They would say wow why so much and he said if he threw a belt it would be that much to replace it. They would be surprised because everyone thought it was just a tunnel ram.

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was thatguy

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we used to be able to work on the cars of the 60's and 70's.................today unless you are a computer geek with double jointed hands and fingers it isn't going to happen
Yep.
I built that Nova from scratch. Literally.
I was 23 years old.
I bought the body for $300 no engine or trans.
10 bolt posi. I tore off the rotted vinyl top and ground all the rust off of it. Welded in the frame connectors, moved the leafs in 4”, installed ladder bars, and a cage. No tubs, but fit 30x11 slicks under it with a little massaging.
I was working for Bob Hayes at his race machine shop, so the engine work was all in house and after hours. 383 stroker with long rods, I built the pistons from Speed Pro blanks. Erson solid cam, spent 3 months after hours on the heads (461 castings) converting them to Brodix replicas.
Manual turbo 350. I think I had maybe $3-4K total into the whole car maybe? Thats counting the centerlines and slicks too, which was the biggest outlay of all as I recall!
Eventually got it into the high 10’s with a long rod 400 I built using most of the same engine and swapping to an actual 400 block.

Today, I can’t even change the oil on my vette. Need a lift or a pit, and can’t even buy the GM recommended oil over the counter for the dry sump system.
I had to you tube it just to see the right way to check the oil...
 

KevinR

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Always love these threads. Like has been said, cannot compare old muscle to new muscle. Just enjoy the heck out of each for what they are.

I’ve been fortunate to own some 60’s and 70’s cars, these are my favorites. Had the BOSS for nearly 20 years and had a blast with tweaking it. Traded it for the 64 R Code 427 Galaxie. Always wanted a big Ford with the R Code.

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nameisbond

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I don't like the looks of modern cars. Id rather have a 67 big block Vette with side pipes over the newest generation. The C6 was the last to look like a Vette should. In Mustangs and Camaro's and other cars. The new ones look like those artists drawings of people as their cartoon selves.
 

was thatguy

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Used to be that you could recognize what kind of car it was from 1/2 mile away, even at night. Now not so much.
When I got the C7 last year I was looking for a C6 OR going to a new 3 black Camaro convertible.
As my buddy and I were driving all over Phoenix looking at candidates I noticed something....there was a Camaro at seemingly every stoplight...Or a challenger, hard to tell at a glance.

I ended up with the Z51because of the low miles and price drop, but also because I’ve never seen another one before or since.
 

Wheeler

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I hope you’re going to provide some details I can’t tell from the pictures what all is going on there?😊
Chrysler Hemi, turbo charged never got the nitrous on it. The night the pix were taken Gordon drove over to speak with a neighbor who worked at Fairchild Hiller about engineering some solenoids for NO2. Car was street legal but set up for Bonneville.

I'll dig out the July '64 issue Hot Rod and try scanning it.
 
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