2017 is off to a good start: Dodge is teasing what they call the “Demon” — could this be the ADR we’ve been hearing about since last fall, the rumored 1,000 hp super-Hellcat? Dodge won’t say, but they’ve fired up the Tease-o-Matic machine until the week of the New York International Autoshow, April 14-23, 2017, where they’ll pull the wraps off the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon.
“The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is conceived, designed and engineered for a subculture of enthusiasts who know that a tenth is a car and a half second is your reputation.” – Tim Kuniskis
Dodge will be reeling out a series of videos at www.ifyouknowyouknow.com until the big show in New York City with a new video dropping every week, starting with today’s “Cage” episode. They may not be calling it the American Drag Racer (ADR) anymore, but the SRT Demon sounds like the drag strip-focused Challenger that we’ve been hearing about since the 2015 FCA Chrysler’s Dealership Preview, FCA’s strict no-media/no-cellphone conference in Las Vegas. “
Most cars attempt to be everything to everybody. Then there are the rare few that revel in a single objective, rendering them totally irresistible to a subculture,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Car Brands, FCA North America.
Speaking of subcultures, April 14, 2017 also marks another SRT Demon clue: The Fate of the Furious, the eighth installment of The Fast and the Furious series, debuts in theaters. We caught the unique, wide-body Challengers in the film’s trailer, which we believe could be the SRT Demon (or at least, prop cars made to look like one) after the V6-powered GT-AWD lost its wide-body flares in the path to production last fall.
Either way, we’re excited to see that the horsepower wars are alive and well — at least, for now.
Just 50 modified Corvette Grand Sports to be produced
Move over, Hellcat. There’s a new horsepower king in town. The 800-hp Yenko 2017 Chevrolet Corvette was unveiled earlier to a small group of media at an event held at the headquarters of Classic Industries, a Southern California-based purveyor of restoration and aftermarket parts for Chevrolet and Mopar muscle cars.
Built by Tom’s River, N.J.-based Specialty Vehicle Engineering (SVE), which uses the famous Yenko name under license, this car starts life as a conventional Corvette Grand Sport. SVE then increases the LT1 V-8’s displacement from 6.2 liters to 6.8 (or 416 cubic inches, if you prefer Imperial units), replacing a number of the components in the process; SVE’s version is fitted with a forged steel crankshaft, forged aluminum pistons, and CNC ported and polished cylinder heads.
Topping things off, literally and figuratively, is a 2.9-liter twin-screw supercharger fed by the fuel system from the LT4 V-8 found in the Corvette Z06. In all, SVE’s creation is good for 800 hp and 750 lb-ft of torque — and can be had with both transmissions offered by Chevrolet in the Grand Sport, a seven-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic.
Aside from the engine, the rest of the Yenko modifications appear to be purely cosmetic. Yenko badges are added throughout the exterior, interior, and are even found on the brake calipers, just to make sure everyone knows it’s a Yenko.
SVE will unveil the Yenko Corvette to the public at the 2017 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale sale that begins this weekend. The package costs $46,000 on top of the cost of the Grand Sport itself. It can be had with the coupe or convertible, but just 50 will be built, so get your orders in to SVE now. Unless you live in California, in which case you’re out of luck as this Yenko, unsurprisingly, does not meet the state’s strict emissions regulations, most likely because SVE was unwilling to pay for CARB certification for such a small run of aftermarket engines.
Running on a pro tree, heads up, these cars are really racing. Most of the cars are accurate recreations, with safety updates certified to current NHRA specs. Ruth cautions that the faster the cars go, the more modern they have to be, so the group is very serious about keeping the accuracy and then matching the cars, rather than owners reaching for ever-quicker times.
The majority of the cars have four-speed Lenco transmissions and all of them feature steel rear back halves and tops; no carbon fiber, no beadlock wheels, aero scoops, Pro Mod–style wheelie bars and wings, and no nitrous or turbos. “The fans are more savvy than you might think,” Ruth says. Plus the original builders, families, or estates first sign all of the cars off, which also lend a certain amount of legitimacy to the cars. In some cases, the offspring of racers—like legendary driver Ronnie Sox’s son, Dean—show up to drive one of the recreated rides. Says Ruth, “He’s a big fan of what we’re doing and sometimes comes out with the Billy the Kid car of Billy Step, which his dad drove for a time in the 1970s.”
With the value of name Pro Stock cars being so high, and as most are in museums, there’s little chance of ever seeing them run again. This is an excellent way to see, hear, and smell 1970s and 1980s Pro Stock cars again, with a bunch of owners enjoying keeping the flame alive.
“We’re all friends, and so we try to help each other out,” Ruth says.
Share the excitement of Pro Stock from back in the day, with some cars and owners that bleed Pro Stock. If your view of the current state of affairs in Pro Stock is making you yearn for the glory days of Grumpy Jenkins, Reher and Morrison, and Bob Glidden, then check out the MWNPSA schedule at MWNPSA.com and make plans for some heads-up, pounding Pro Stock.
You know that saying, “A winner has a thousand fathers but a loser is an orphan?” Well, this winner we assume has quite a few involved in its build based on how many have signed their names in chalk. It was once a 1939 Plymouth sedan. We can’t say what it’s supposed to be now. We like the extra-added protection of a chain link fence shielding the exposed radiator, and the buckhorns protecting the roof vent. The Florida license plate figures prominently, but we won’t start with the Florida jokes. Well, except to say we sort of figured it might be from there, right all of you Florida HOT ROD enthusiasts?
Proportion is everything in automotive design, and GM’s second-generation F-bodies had it down like Julie Newmar’s curve-hugging Catwoman costume. Free from the design constraints that came with styling the first Firebird and Camaro models on an existing architecture, the second-gen cars would have a body structure shared with no other vehicles. GM Design chief Bill Mitchell’s affinity for European touring cars drove the overall design theme, with the F-body proportions radically reimagined, pushing the passenger compartment farther back on the chassis. The result was a longer nose and fast-sloping rear profile, though surprisingly, the basic exterior dimensions weren’t all that different from the 1969 models.
The first- and second-generation cars shared a 108-inch wheelbase, and while the second-gen cars were noticeably lower, they were only fractionally wider. That longer, lower look was also reinforced with lonnnggg doors and the elimination of the rear quarter-windows. Those doors made it difficult to squeeze out of the car in garages and parking decks, but such was the price of proportion perfection.
While the second-generation’s F-bodies’ future was ensured with the redesign, the Pontiac Trans Am’s was not. Plans for the second-gen were well underway when the comparatively paltry 697 Trans Am models were built for 1969. The car was intended as a homologation special for the popular SCCA racing series, just like the Boss 302 and corporate cousin Camaro Z/28. Unfortunately Pontiac’s Trans-Am racing engine program was never fully realized, so the production model had no ties whatsoever to its namesake racing series.
With such a low production run and no competition link, it’s no wonder Pontiac’s product planners didn’t see the marketing benefit in carrying over the model into the second generation. But they did, and the unique design cues were overseen by designer Bill Porter. He was there as specific features, such as the front fender vents, front spoiler, and fender spats, were drawn up, along with the functional shaker scoop pushing through the hood.
Porter was actually dead-set against the shaker scoop. An early version appeared on a first-gen performance concept featuring Pontiac’s OHC-6 engine, and the design was refined for the V-8 application, but Porter resisted. He thought it disturbed the flow of the long, sleek front end and suggested it wouldn’t really deliver a performance advantage. A pair of air scoops like nostrils at the forward edge of the hood, he argued, would be more aesthetically pleasing and effective for engine performance. Mitchell ultimately overruled Porter on the shaker scoop, but the consolation prize was that his twin-scoop idea was picked up for the budget-performance Formula model.
Interestingly, Porter also reportedly suggested using a large Firebird hood graphic to wrap around the shaker scoop he found so obtrusive in an effort to integrate it better in the car’s overall design—or at least take the emphasis off it. Mitchell nixed that idea too, but a smaller version of the car’s updated logo was used on the nose, heading up a stripe that ran up and over the body, culminating on the trunk. Porter moved on from the Pontiac studio a couple years later, but his idea for the large hood bird motif was picked up by his successor, John Schinella.
Despite his setbacks with the hood bird and shaker scoop, Porter was nonetheless rightfully proud of the second-generation’s design, calling it his favorite Pontiac in later interviews. Its proportions, he said, were spot-on.
Ram Air Swan Song
One of the carryovers from the 1969 model year was the standard L74-code 400ci Ram Air III engine, which was rated at 345 hp (gross). It was offered with the wide-ratio Muncie M20 four-speed manual, the close-ratio M21 four-speed manual, or the Turbo 400 three-speed automatic. The 370hp Ram Air IV was optional; and with either engine, torque was funneled to the ubiquitous and sturdy, Safe-T-Track-equipped 12-bolt rear axle. It would be the only year the 12-bolt was available in a second-gen Trans Am.
It was also the only year the Ram Air III and IV engines would be offered in the second-gen cars, as the regulatory changes facing the entire auto industry brought an end to high-compression performance. In 1971, the Trans Am’s Ram Air engines were replaced with the 455 H.O., as Pontiac’s engineers tried to offset the power drop that came from reducing compression more than two points—from 10.5:1 down to 8.4:1—with torque-building displacement. It wasn’t a bad solution, but the halcyon days of the muscle car era were definitely in the rearview mirror.
In addition to the Ram Air engines and 12-bolt axle, a number of other components and elements were built into the 1970 Trans Am that made the car unique, starting with the oddball 15-inch wheels. The story goes that Pontiac planned on 15-inch versions of the Rally II design but could not get them made in time for the car’s start of production. So the center section of the 14-inch Rally II was used inside a 15-inch rim along with a 1-inch band of steel between them. The true 15-inch Rally II came in 1971.
The 1970 models also used carryover low-back bucket seats from the 1969 model, and the interior was offered in a striking bright blue hue that would be toned down by the next year. Those were the most obvious visual distinguishers. A number of others are all but invisible unless you are trying to restore a 1970 Trans Am. From the single-year black shift knob to the hood hinges to the “open-face” alternator and a myriad of other minor parts, it was a car of contrasts compared to later second-gen models. The grain on the instrument panel, for example, was different, and the headlamp bezels were changed by 1971 to provide easier access to the aiming adjustment screws.
The challenge is compounded by the relative few 1970 Trans Ams produced. There were only 3,196 built out of a total Firebird population of less than 49,000. That means there simply aren’t many donor cars left to scavenge for accurate parts, and some parts, such as an accurately grained instrument panel, aren’t reproduced.
Lifelong Love Affair
Dave Miller’s first car was a 1968 Firebird; the first brand-new car he purchased was a Y84-code 1977 Trans Am Special Edition, which he managed to pay cash for while working his way through college. But it was the 1970 Trans Am that was always the car that tugged at his emotions.
“I’ve had a love affair with Pontiacs my whole life, but when I was around 12 years old and the 1970 models came out, everything about that second-generation design lit a fire in me,” he says. “It was the most awesome thing I’d ever seen, and I vowed to have one.”
That opportunity came 10 years ago, when his mechanic told him about a white Trans Am that had been sitting in a building for several years.
“The story was a pool builder took it as a partial trade, but he never really drove it,” says Dave. “It had just under 56,000 miles on it and was in original condition. I couldn’t turn it down.”
The Norwalk-built car had been first sold at Red Holman Pontiac in the Detroit area. It was a quick turnaround from the May 20, 1970, assembly date to the delivery date just barely a month later, June 24. It wasn’t in the Motor City long before it moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where it stayed with the second owner until 1993. It changed hands again several more times before the pool builder bought it and returned it to Michigan in 2001. Dave acquired it about six years later.
The Polar White paint was resprayed back in the 1980s or early 1990s, and it is likely that the interior was refurbished too, but nothing like a rotisserie-type restoration has been done to the car.
“It’s been in great driver condition over the years, with small resto projects and respray occurring as necessary,” says Dave, “and as far as I know the engine has never been cracked open.”
It is a moderately optioned car, ordered without air conditioning but with a center console, remote trunk release, and the custom (deluxe) interior trim, which included textured seating surfaces rather than the standard pleated vinyl.
“They really help with keeping you planted in the corners,” says Dave. “It’s helpful, because this car is terrific when it comes to carving corners. I’ve owned a number of other muscle cars over the years, and none has compared to the driving experience of this one. From the driving position to its handling, it’s the closest from that era to a modern car. It’s dynamic and engaging, and an absolute blast to drive.”
At a Glance
1970 Pontiac Trans Am
Owned by: David Miller
Restored by: Unrestored
Engine: 400ci/345hp Ram Air III V-8
Transmission: Muncie M21 4-speed manual
Rearend: 12-bolt with 3.55 gears
Interior: Bright blue vinyl bucket seat
Wheels: 15×7 steel Rally II
Tires: P245/60R15 BFGoodrich Radial T/A
Special parts: 1 of 1,769 4-speed cars for 1970
When we asked Don Miller what other vintage Chrysler, Plymouth, or Dodge cars or trucks he has owned besides this out-of-this-world 1967 Dart GT convertible, he hold us: “This is the first one.” We were somewhat surprised, but also happy to welcome him to the Mopar family. As they say, better late than never! Now that he’s seen the light, we thought we’d inquired about what other types of American-made iron he has owned which may have paved the way toward the build of this truly unique A-Body Pro Touring standout: “I once had a 1966 Pontiac GTO that was equipped with a 421 Tri-Power of all things,” he elaborated. “It was a pretty quick hot rod and with its strangely-equipped three-speed manual trans, there were a fair share of cars that I was able to dust off on the street by the top of Second gear.”
While we have an appreciation for any good hot rod story that involves other types of street machines from Brand X, we dig what Don has done for the Mopar community by commissioning the build of a Dodge Pro Touring machine that any Mopar fans can appreciate.
One of the things we find interesting about this car and how Don brought it to life is the route to its eventual creation. It wasn’t a super specific pathway, but rather more of an open-ended journey that began with Don’s attendance of the Hot August Nights auto auction (Reno, NV) seven years ago. “I had signed on to be a bidder at this event,” Don began, “and having had very little experience at auctions, I was an open-book as to what car I might or might not bid on. This Dart GT ragtop came on the block and I thought it was pretty cool. It had a 360 crate motor, a 904 trans, and it seemed to be calling my name. I raised my hand, not knowing exactly how auctions worked and the next thing I knew, after a few bids here and there, the gavel dropped. It was then apparent I was the winning bidder. Surprised, but not upset, I was now the new owner of this sweet little A-Body droptop. Driving the car home from Reno to the San Francisco with my youngest son Joey—who really wanted the car to begin with—we had a good time, and more importantly, made it home with no big problems.”
From there, Don drove the car occasionally, but something else was also brewing that was a serendipitous turn of events. Don had been introduced to Dominator Street Rods (DSR) in Tracy, California. It was six degrees of separation. As Don told us: “I went to high school with a friend of Leonard Lopez who is the founder and owner of DSR. When I went to Leonard with the car and we put our heads together, we had a real meeting of the minds and the results are what you see here.”
Factor in the uniqueness of it being a vintage Dart droptop as a starting point, and you can see it was destined to be a one-of-a-kind-car, at the very least. It’s also a rolling business card for DSR that highlights the shop’s impressive fabrication skills and its ability to turn out perfect body and paint.
“Don’s project really appealed to us at the shop, because the Dart is something different,” said Leonard. But he added, “Sometimes one doesn’t always know the history of something, especially when it’s nearly 50 years old. There was a point during the course of that period where this car was crashed. That was part of the reason we decided to build a tube chassis for it that’s actually a full custom frame from the firewall back. With the sort of power it has, we thought a tube frame would be a good idea for the rigidity it provides. Tying that in with the roll bar made it easy to handle the 600 or so horsepower the car has. The six-point roll bar is an integral part of the car’s structure and does a great job of minimizing the fact that the car is a convertible,” Leonard relates.
Added in with the rear frame is also a custom-made DSR four-link with a Panhard bar. The four-link locates a Speedway Engineering Ford 9-inch that’s been narrowed six inches. QA1 coilover shocks and springs are also in place. DSR also built and installed its own custom fuel tank.
The front suspension is a Magnumforce Racing setup that uses its own tubular K-member, tubular upper and lower control arms, spindles, and QA1 coilovers. A Flaming River power rack-and-pinion steering system and Wilwood brakes round out the underpinnings. It all rolls on Boyd’s wheels and sticky Nitto NT05 tires.
As for the body, Leonard comments: “We narrowed the bumpers about one inch per side, which nicely tucks them in far enough where they actually start to look like part of the body. We also smoothed all the bolts, so no fasteners are showing. For the rear bumper we put eyebrows in place for the exhaust system ends to come through. This really gives the back of the car a clean look. The grille is also handmade.” DSR did all the body and paint work, stripping the body down to bare steel, and making all the necessary repairs. It was then refinished using PPG materials in a black and red color scheme.
The car has all the coolest body and suspension goodies you could ask for, but what puts it all in motion? No disappointments there as Don had Gotelli Speed Shop on the other side of the bay in South San Francisco build 512 cubic inches of all-Mopar motivation using a 1973-vintage B-series 400 block as the starting point. All the requisite machine work was done and the block was clearanced for the 4.250-inch forged-steel stroker crank. Other relevant pieces include Eagle H-beam 4340 steel connecting rods, JE pistons, and a Crane hydraulic roller cam. Topping it off are Edelbrock aluminum heads, an Edelbrock intake, a Holley 850, and a DSR custom-built air cleaner.
We think Don’s GT convertible is one of the most unique A-Bodies we’ve seen in quite a while. A round of applause certainly goes to Don for making the decision to think outside the box for a Pro Touring build and to Leonard Lopez and his crew at Dominator Street Rods for bringing it to fruition!
In addition to the photos, captions, and our “Fast Facts” data box with info on Don’s favorite weekend-escape machine, you’ll also want to check out the video on the car. You’ll hear more comments about the build from Don and Leonard, and see the car in action!
1967 Dodge Dart Convertible | Don Miller | Lafayette, CA
Type: 1973 Chrysler B-series 400 block, overhead-valve V8
Bore x stroke: 4.380 (bore) x 4.250 (stroke), 512 ci
Block: Chrysler cast-iron, clearanced for stroker crank
Rotating assembly: Ohio Crankshaft forged-steel crank, Eagle 4340 steel H-beam connecting
rods, JE forged-aluminum pistons
Cylinder heads: ported Edelbrock aluminum
Camshaft: Crane hydraulic-roller, .558-inch lift, 248-/256 degree duration
at .050-inch lift
Valvetrain: PRW shaft-mount rockers, Crane springs, Edelbrock valves, COMP Cams
Induction: Edelbrock intake
Fuel system: Holley 850cfm carburetor
Exhaust: custom DSR headers and complete custom DSR exhaust system
Cooling: custom DSR radiator
Fuel: 91-octane gasoline
Output: 550 hp at 5,300 rpm, 650 lb-ft at 3,700 rpm at the wheels
Engine built by: Gotelli Speed Shop, South San Francisco, CA
Transmission: Tremec TKO-600 five-speed manual overdrive
Driveshaft: steel, Kevin’s Prop Shop, Oakley, CA
Rearend: Speedway Engineering Ford 9-inch centersection with 3.73:1 gears
Front suspension: Magnumforce upper and lower tubular control arms, spindles, tubular K- member and antisway bar; QA1 coilover shocks and springs
Rear suspension: custom DSR four-link, Speedway Engineering narrowed Ford 9-inch
housing, QA1 coilover shocks and springs, antisway bar, Panhard bar
Steering: Flaming River power rack-and-pinion and tilt steering column
Front brakes: Wilwood, 14-inch rotors with 6-piston calipers
Rear brakes: Wilwood 13-inch rotors with 4-piston calipers
Chassis: 1967 Dart convertible unibody with custom DSR tube frame
WHEELS & TIRES
Wheels: Hot Rods By Boyd 18 x 8-inch (front) and 20 x 10-inch (rear)
Tires: Nitto NT05; 245/40ZR18 (front), 315/35ZR20 (rear)
Seats: custom Italian leather
Instruments: Classic Instruments
Stereo: ARC Audio
Steering wheel: Flaming River
Other: custom interior work by Tri-Valley Auto Glass and Upholstery (Pleasanton, CA), custom DSR SCCA-legal rollcage, rear seat removed, custom convertible top
A conversation between two muscle car guys can sound positively military, with all the acronyms, slang, codes, and jargon. Imagine how that sounds to others, especially younger types who may be weighing whether the muscle car hobby is the place for them. As they hear a steady stream of odd, head-scratching, and off-putting terms, perhaps too many decide to stick with collecting Star Wars action figures and Fruit Ninja video games.
In the interest of helping outsiders become insiders, of lubricating the transition from young, potential member of our hobby to actual newbie, we present the muscle car glossary: terms we kick around in the hobby, and their meanings in plain, easy-to-understand, laymen’s English.
Feel free to share this list with semi-interested teenagers, smartphone addicts, gamers, skateboarders, and others who may need a small assist in warming up to our vintage iron.
AAR. Acronym for All American Racers, Dan Gurney’s Plymouth-sponsored Trans-Am racing team. Plymouth created a 1970 model ’Cuda named AAR, powered by a 290hp 340, and styled after its Trans-Am racers. Related: Dodge’s similar Trans Am–inspired model was the Challenger T/A.
Acid dipped. Manufacturing process to lighten batch-built race cars by dipping steel body components into a pool of acidic liquid that removes some of the steel, reducing weight.
Air grabber. Mopar’s term for cold air induction systems.
Air shocks. Shock absorbers with built-in chambers for holding compressed air. Used to adjust a car’s ride height, often needed for clearance with oversized wheels and tires.
Antisway bar (or sway bar). A suspension component, usually on the front suspension but sometimes on both front and rear, connecting the chassis to the suspension to reduce body roll during cornering.
Big-block. Generally, V-8 engine families of larger size and displacement than small-blocks. Side note: Pontiac and AMC had no big-block/small-block designations; the same engine block architecture was used for all V-8 displacements.
Billboards. Large, optional graphic decals on the side of a 1971 ’Cuda.
Blackout. Black finish used on body panels—often the hood, grilles, spoilers, and trim—to create a racy look. Patterned after the matte-black hood panels used on race cars to cut down on glare reflecting into the driver’s eyes.
Body in white A bare-bones car, sometimes just a body shell, intended to be built into a race car. Often found with exotic features not available to the public.
Boss. Nickname given by designer Larry Shinoda to competition-oriented 1969 Mustangs, reportedly in tribute to his boss at Ford, Bunkie Knudsen. Small-block Boss 302 Mustang was developed for Trans-Am racing. Big-block Boss 429 engine was put in Mustangs to homologate them for use in NASCAR. Also slang for something good: “That car is boss.”
Build sheet. Document generated at the assembly plant showing workers what specific components to install on each car as it went down the assembly line. It is the most detailed record of what is original to the car. Build sheets were a byproduct of assembly, not intended for the public. They were often, but not always, hidden in the car as a way for workers to get rid of them.
C6. Ford code for its heavy-duty automatic transmission, taken from the company’s convention for identifying parts. C6 stands for 1966, the year the transmission was introduced. The lighter-duty C4 was introduced in, you guessed it, 1964. Related: Ford’s trade name for automatic transmissions was Cruise-O-Matic (three-speed) and Ford-O-Matic (two-speed)
Capscrew rods. Ford’s strongest forged connecting rods, taken from the type of bolts used to fasten the rod caps to the rods.
Chambered exhaust. Renowned optional, low-restriction exhaust system available on certain 1968 and 1969 Camaro and Chevelle models, featuring straight-through mufflers and noted for aggressive, louder-than-normal sound.
Clone. Car originally built by the factory as a basic or high-volume model, later modified to resemble a more valuable and desirable model. Example: a base 1969 Camaro built by the factory with a six-cylinder later rebuilt as an SS396.
Closed chamber. Type of combustion chamber with a quench area, a section of the flat part of the head extending over the cylinder. Closed chamber heads are usually used in higher compression engines and are thought to create greater turbulence during the compression cycle. Related: Open chamber heads have little or no quench area, therefore less compression, and make less power.
Close ratio. Specialized type of manual transmission with gear ratios spaced more closely than normal to keep highly-tuned engines in the peak of their powerband. Related: Wide ratio, which uses greater intervals between gear ratios.
Coil spring. Spiral-shaped steel spring widely used on Ford and GM front suspensions and on some GM rear suspensions. Related: Leaf springs, made from long, flat lengths of steel, were widely used by Ford; and Torsion Bars, made from round, straight steel rods (they twisted on one end but not the other), were used extensively by Chrysler on front suspensions and on other cars as trunk springs.
Concours. From the French term Concours d’Elegance (Competition of Elegance). In collector car circles, a concours is typically a show with the most knowledgeable and meticulous judges, where the cars that enter are typically restored to the highest levels of quality.
Console. Stylish structure covering the driveshaft tunnel in bucket-seat cars, often incorporating gauges and storage. Sometimes mispronounced like council.
COPO. Acronym for Chevrolet’s Central Office Production Order, a process of getting nonstandard vehicles built. Intended for building fleet vehicles, it was also used by clever dealers to spec out high-performance cars not otherwise offered by Chevrolet.
Cowl induction. Chevrolet’s term for various systems of ducting cool air into the engine from an inlet at the rear of the hood.
Cross ram. Manifold setup that mounts two four-barrel carburetors, each carb opposite the bank of cylinders it feeds.
Cross bolted. Ford’s method of adding two horizontal bolts through the skirt of the engine block to supplement the two primary bolts of the crankshaft’s main bearing caps. 1963 1/2 406 engines and 427s had cross-bolted mains.
Date code. Alphanumeric code that reveals when something was produced. Date codes were applied to most all parts and assemblies such as engine blocks, heads, alternators, carburetors, voltage regulators, and even tires. By comparing a component’s date codes to the car’s build date, date codes are useful in determining which parts are original. Date codes are carefully checked at more stringent levels of show judging and originality verification.
Day-two. Muscle car modified with speed equipment correct for the period (not contemporary speed equipment), as an owner might have done the day after purchase.
Dealer supercar. Ultrahigh-performance car modified by a dealer to include equipment, especially engines, not available through normal channels. Prominent superdealers included Nickey and Yenko Chevrolet, Mr. Norm’s Grand Spaulding Dodge, Royal Pontiac, and Tasca Ford.
Detroit Locker. Locking differential (as opposed to the more common limited-slip) that was optional on Fords with very steep axle ratios designed for drag racing.
Digger. Car set up for strong acceleration. A digger was geared for coming off the line hard. Racing from a standing stop was called “from a dig” or “digging out.” Related: A Top-ender is a car set up for high top speed as opposed to maximum acceleration.
Documentation. Generally refers to paperwork generated at a car’s assembly and sale, proving legitimacy. Documentation increases a car’s value and may include build sheets, window stickers, sales contracts, warranty cards, and reports by respected authorities.
Dog dish. Nickname for basic, standard hubcaps that cover just the center of the wheel. Also called Poverty caps.
DOHC, SOHC, OHC. Acronyms describing the placement of the cam relative to the cylinders. Double overhead cam (DOHC) has two camshafts, one for intake valves, one for exhaust valves in the head, directly over each bank of cylinders. The reference is per cylinder bank, so even though a V-8 would have four cams total, it’s still called a DOHC engine. Single overhead cam (SOHC) engines have a single cam per bank of cylinders operating both intake and exhaust valves. Overhead cam (OHC) effectively means the same as SOHC, even though the number of cams isn’t specified. Related: 427 SOHC (pronounced like sock) engine, aka Cammer, a competition version of the 427ci Ford FE big-block available from 1965 to 1968.
Drag Pack. Ford trade name for an optional package of equipment designed for drag racing.
Driver. Car not restored to high standards so it can be driven regularly without worry that the wear and tear will depreciate its value.
Dual-point. Distributor with two sets of points. Dual-point distributors let the coil develop greater voltage and were used on many higher-option engines before electronic ignition became common.
Dual-quad. Two four-barrel carburetors.
Eight-lug. Wheel design made by Kelsey-Hayes and offered for fullsize Pontiacs (not GTOs) from 1960 to 1968. The wheels used eight lugs to secure the changeable steel rims to the finned, aluminum centers.
Force Air. Oldsmobile’s trade name for cold air induction.
Four-bolt mains. Use of four bolts instead of the customary two to add strength in holding the crankshaft’s main bearing caps to the block. The extra strength resists engine failure at high rpm. Engine blocks with four-bolt mains are considered a premium for high performance.
Full tree. In drag racing, a full tree has the three amber lights on the starting line Christmas Tree light sequentially, top to bottom, prior to the green light that starts the race. A full tree is the traditional start for street classes that stock and near-stock muscle cars race in. Related: A Pro tree lights all three ambers at once and is used by more modified classes.
Gingerbread. Dress-up equipment that doesn’t add to performance.
Glasspack. Inexpensive, low-restriction muffler popular in the 1960s, named for the fiberglass packing that provided minimal noise reduction. Popular brands were Thrush and Cherry Bomb.
Gran Sport or GS. Buick’s popular designation for its high-performance models.
Group 19. American Motors’ line of over-the-counter, high-performance parts.
H-pipe. Exhaust pipes rear of the exhaust manifolds with a connecting, or balance, tube between the left and right sides to balance the pressure on each side. Related: X-Pipe serves a similar function in an X shape.
Heads-up. Drag racing term for nonhandicapped racing (where both cars start at the same time) as practiced among muscle car drivers in the 1960s.
Hemi Short for hemispherical, the name given to Chrysler’s roundish-shaped combustion chamber and, by extension, the engines fitted with heads containing those combustion chambers. The chamber’s center spark plug, spacious room for big valves tilted towards their port, and symmetrical, unobstructed shape make it ideal for combustion. Developed for aviation engines during WWII, Hemi engines grew in power through the 1950s, peaking with the production of the street Hemi in 1966 through 1971. Related: Shotgun, Crescent are terms Ford used to describe the hemispherical combustion chambers in its Boss 429 to carefully avoid any reference to Chrysler’s engines.
High-back. Seats with taller backs to function as headrests.
High-rise Manifold design with taller, more vertical ports, reducing the angle the airflow must turn before entering the combustion chamber. Holeshot. Getting ahead of the other guy at the starting line of a dragstrip.
Honeycombs. Pontiac’s optional cast-aluminum wheels introduced in 1971.
Horseshoe shifter. Chevrolet’s floor shifter for automatic transmissions, roughly resembling an upside down letter U. Used in 1968-1972 Chevelle and Camaro, 1968-1969 Impala, and 1970-1972 Monte Carlo. Another nickname is the Staple shifter.
Hydraulic lifter. Type of lifter using engine oil pressure to maintain proper valvetrain clearance. Hydraulic lifters do not require the periodic adjustments that solid lifters do. Related: Solid lifters need manual adjustments, but are associated with more powerful, higher-revving engines.
Junior supercar. Muscle car typically powered by a small-block engine, developed to offer muscle car styling and performance without triggering surcharges from insurance companies. Among them: Olds Rallye 350, Heavy Chevy (Chevelle), Yenko Deuce.
L engine codes. Chevrolet V-8 engines (and some from other GM divisions) are most commonly identified by an alphanumeric code, typically starting with the letter L. Among the most common in muscle car circles:
L34: 350hp 396 (360hp in 1966 Chevelle)
L35: 325hp 396
L71: 435hp 427 3×2 tri-carb
L72: 425hp 427 four-barrel
L78: 375hp 396 (425 hp in 1965 Corvette)
L79: 350hp 327 (325 hp in 1968 Chevelle)
L89: Aluminum head option for L78 396
LS5: 360hp 454
LS6: 450hp 454
LT-1: 360hp 350 (330 hp in 1971 Z28)
L88: 430hp 427 optional in 1967-1969 Corvette
ZL1: 430hp aluminum 427 optional in 1969 Camaro
Lightweight. High-powered yet lightweight muscle car with minimal content, made for racing. Normal basic equipment (heater, sealer, insulation) is left off, and the cars are built with special weight-saving body parts like fiberglass or aluminum fenders, hood, bumpers, and doors. Lightweights were made in small quantities, usually between 50 and 100 units, and sold to select teams for racing.
M transmission codes. Muncie (and some Saginaw) transmissions commonly found in muscle cars were coded starting with the letter M:
M20: Wide ratio four-speed manual
M21: Close ratio four-speed manual
M22: Heavy-duty close ratio four-speed manual, called rock crusher
Max Wedge. Family of 413/426ci Maximum Performance Wedge Mopar engines produced in 1962-1964. Named Super Stock in a Plymouth and Ramcharger in a Dodge, Max Wedges were rated at 410 or 420 hp in 1962, 415 or 425 hp in 1963-1964.
Magnum 500. Very popular five-spoke wheel manufactured by the now-defunct Motor Wheel corporation of Lansing, Michigan. All muscle car manufacturers offered at least one version in various sizes and offsets, with different wheel centers and rim finishes. They were also sold as aftermarket wheels under the Magnum 500 brand. Among Mopar hobbyists the wheels are often referred to as Magnum 500s even though Mopar called them Road Wheels; Ford was the only manufacturer that used the Magnum 500 name.
MSO. Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin, a document supplied with a new car when it left the factory that was exchanged for a title when the car was sold. A car “still on MSO” was never sold and/or titled.
N.O.S. New old stock, parts produced years ago that have never been used.
Numbers-matching. A car’s engine and other drivetrain components are original to the car, as proven by date codes and identification codes stamped into those components that match the car body’s VIN.
OEM (also OE). Original equipment manufacturer, referring to parts designed and built by the factory. For restoration, OE parts are usually preferred over aftermarket or reproduction.
Open element. Type of air filter common to high-performance cars that eliminates the housing around the filter element and exposes the element directly to air rather than ducting it through more restrictive housings and snorkels.
Original miles. Honest number of miles a car has traveled. If an odometer has been replaced, rolled back, or broken, a car’s original miles are no longer known. Over-the-counter. Parts sold through the manufacturer’s parts network but not necessarily installed as original equipment.
Ponycar Long-hood, short-deck sport coupes such as Mustang, Cougar, Camaro, Firebird, ’Cuda, Challenger, and Javelin. Name is derived from the Mustang, which created the category when it was introduced in April 1964.
Porcupine. Enthusiast slang specific to the big-bock Chevrolet for its arrangement of intake and exhaust valves operating on different angles, a departure from the Chevrolet small-block’s valves, which were all in the same plane. Other engines using a similar valve arrangement (e.g., early Mopar 318, Ford 351C, and 429) do not use the term porcupine.
Positraction. Chevrolet trade name for its limited-slip differential. Though technically Chevrolet-specific, the term is used generically to refer to limited-slip differentials of other manufacturers. Related: Limited slip differential names by brand:
Buick: Positive Traction
Ford/Mercury: Equa-Lock/Traction-Lok/Detroit Locker
Studebaker: Twin Traction
Power Pack. Chevrolet name for an optional package on 1955-1957 V-8–powered models that bumped horsepower a bit. The term has come to encompass similar upgrades from other manufacturers, incorporating mild packages like a four-barrel carb, dual exhaust, and perhaps a slightly higher compression ratio.
Ram air. Intake systems with ducting to draw air from outside the engine compartment.
Ram Rod 350. Oldsmobile’s top-option 350 engine, featuring an upgraded camshaft, larger valves, and 325 hp. After 1968 it was known as the W-31 350.
Recall Wheels. Nickname for option code W23 Cast Center Road Wheels manufactured for Chrysler by Kelsey Hayes for 1969-model cars. These wheels were recalled by Chrysler just days before the 1969 models went on sale due to the risk of the lug nuts loosening while the car was in operation. Despite the recall, some of these wheels did end up in public hands and are now highly collectible.
Redline. Threshold of rpm above which the manufacturer advises it is unsafe to operate the engine.
Repop. Enthusiast slang for reproduction parts. Similar terms include repro, repo.
Restamp. Altering the identifying codes stamped into an engine block to make it appear original to a car it didn’t originally come in.
Restification. Term coined by this magazine, which means upgrading with better OE parts from other years to keep a stock look while improving function. Examples: quick-ratio steering boxes, bigger brakes, lighter water pump/fan.
Restomod. Car combining elements of both restoration and modification. A restomod is typically based on a stock body but often has more modern running gear, larger wheels and tires, upgraded brakes, etc.
Royal Bobcat Pontiac that has either been supertuned by Royal Pontiac in Royal Oak, Michigan, or had a supertune kit from Royal Pontiac installed. A Royal Bobcat was often designated by the Royal Bobcat sticker derived from the 1962 Grand Prix logo, a badge of honor among Pontiac enthusiasts.
Service parts. Line of factory-original parts sold through a dealership’s parts counter that are fully correct for originality but may differ slightly from parts installed at the factory. Service parts may have a different finish, part number, date code, etc.
Shaker. Hoodscoop mounted to the engine that protrudes through an opening in the hood and moves, or shakes, with the engine independently from the rest of the car.
Slap Stick. Mopar trade name for its ratcheting floor-shifter for the TorqueFlite automatic transmission.
Sleeper. Plain-looking, unassuming car that, by its mild appearance, conceals the fact that it is very high powered. Also: Q-ship.
Stage 1. Buick term for its optional, more powerful engines.
Staged. When a car is positioned at the starting line of a dragstrip. Related: Prestaged is the light that means you are almost to the starting line.
Stereo stripes. Muscle car slang for the dual body stripes on 1968-1971 Chevelles.
Styled steel wheels. Upgraded, more stylish wheels made with stamped steel centers as opposed to cast alloy or machined from aluminum.
Speed shifting. Shifting a manual transmission while keeping the engine at full throttle, aka powershifting.
Supercar. Premium muscle cars with the biggest, most powerful engines.
Super Duty High-performance Pontiacs built by the factory for stock car and drag racing in 1960-1963. Also applied to high-performance versions of the 455ci 1973-1974 Firebird.
Super Sport Chevrolet’s primary term for high-performance models, beginning in 1961.
Super Stock. Multiple meanings: Drag racing class for cars closest to stock configuration; Plymouth trade name for its 413-426ci Max Wedge engines of 1962-1964; optional Oldsmobile wheels.
Survivor. Name, now trademarked, for an unrestored car that has remained in an uncommonly well-preserved condition.
T-handle. Type of handle for a shifter, designed to be easily and firmly gripped. Commonly manufactured by Hurst or other aftermarket company.
Three-angle. Way of grinding valve seats that adds a third machined surface to the traditional two. Three-angle valve seats have more smooth area for improved airflow.
TorqueFlite. Mopar’s trade name for automatic transmissions. A-904 was the lighter-duty model, A-727 heavy duty.
Traction bar. Aftermarket device for rear suspensions that limits how far the axlehousing can counter-rotate in response to heavy engine torque.
Trailer queen. Derisive term describing highly restored show cars that are not driven regularly (or at all) to preserve their pristine appearance.
Triple deuce. Generic term for three two-barrel carburetors. Related: tri-carb, three-twos, 3×2, Tri-Power (Pontiac), Six Pack (Dodge), Six Barrel (Plymouth).
Turbo 400/350. Shortened from Turbohydramatic, a GM term for its three-speed automatic transmissions. The Turbo 350 was a lighter-duty transmission, the Turbo 400 more heavy duty. Related: Powerglide was a GM two-speed automatic.
Valve float. Condition in which, at high rpm, the valves cannot fully close because of their rapid back-and-forth movement. Besides making compression impossible, a valve remaining partially open risks contacting the piston and triggering catastrophic engine failure. Greater valve spring pressure or mechanical (solid) valve lifters are the common remedy.
VIN. Vehicle Identification Number, a sequence of numbers and letters assigned to a car’s body that functions as the car’s serial number.
W machines. Oldsmobile’s term for premium high-performance models:
W-31 (1969-1970; Ram Rod 350 in 1968)
W-32 360hp 400 (1969-1970)
W-33 390hp 455 option for 1970 Delta 88
W-34 400hp 455 option for 1968-1970 Toronado
Z/28 (also Z-28, Z28). Originally Chevrolet’s RPO code for the equipment package to homologate the Camaro for Trans-Am racing. Has evolved to denote high-performance models in the Camaro lineup.