O nce upon a time, a car was expected to be more than a mode of transportation—it was an extension of the driver’s persona, a projec- tion of the inner psyche, a style statement, a declaration of strength. During the 1960s—and a little bit of the ’70s—the automobile manufacturers of Detroit took advantage of America’s lust for speed and style. They made cars that were designed not just to get their passengers from one place to another. They were designed to get them there fast and to look good doing it ! In those great days of American high performance, a new car owner could conceivably drive his car out of the showroom and directly onto the racetrack. (Most, however, preferred to tinker with their cars a bit before they raced them.) Back to the South Road Strip In my neck of the woods, south of Rochester, New York, getting a new car during the muscle car era meant two things: Cruising it through town until everyone had seen it at least five times, and taking it out to the South Road strip to “see what it’s got.” So let’s go back to the days when our hair was thicker and the night was longer; that blissful time, before the “energy crisis,” when cars had some serious get-up-and-go, and when gas was plentiful and cheap—who cared if the cruising machine was thirsty? Back in those days, street racing was a national sport rife with glory. But this lust for speed meant sad times too, as every town had its equivalent of “Dead Man’s Curve.” Those who survived look at the power potential of today’s domes- tic cars as pathetic, something “merely practical.” Compared to the muscle cars, most of the cars coming out of Detroit today look like toys. Muscle cars aren’t toys. Some men still think of them as women. They make them roar like thunder and drive them faster than greased lightning. Muscle Cars: Thunder and Greased Lightning is a tribute to those cars, a nostalgic look at the days when patches of rubber were burned onto pavement under every stoplight in the country. This book will examine the history of muscle cars and take a detailed look at a few of the best gas guzzlers in automotive history. Plus, readers will meet modern-day mechanics who have restored aging muscle cars to their original beauty and power. Then read about how these wonderful cars are coming back!
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