Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Alan's Favorite American Cars Of All Time

Alan's Top 10 Picks For Favorite
 American Cars Of All Time

-Alan Arnell

10. 1968 Mustang Fastback

1968 Mustang Fastback

The 1968 model year Mustang was the second year of the first redesign of the original model. Even though the father of the Mustang Lee Iaccoca later complained about the Mustang's growth in over-all size, he did oversee the redesign for 1967. The major mechanical feature and thus the size growth to allow the installation of a big-block V8 engine. The new model sported concave taillights and chrome side ornamentation, square rear-view mirrors, and usual yearly wheel and gas cap changes. The high-performance 289 option was placed behind the newer 335 hp 390 cu in FE engine from the Ford Thunderbird, which was equipped with a four-barrel carburetor. A 390 GT engine, and a 4-speed manual transmission recorded quarter mile times of approximately 13 seconds and trap speeds of over 105 mph. During the mid-1968 model year, a drag racer for the street could be ordered with the optional 428 cu in Cobra Jet engine which was officially rated at 335 hp all of these Mustangs were issued R codes on their VIN#'s.

 9. 1955 Thunderbird

1955 Thunder Bird

The 1955 Ford Thunderbird was the first 2-seat Ford since 1938. The Thunderbird was developed in response to the 1953 showing of the the Chevrolet Corvette at Motorama in New York Auto Show. The Corvette in turn was developed in response to the popularity of European sports cars among Americans.

Ford created a completely new market segment around the Thunderbird, the personal luxury car. While a light weight car with a large V8 engine, the Thunderbird focused more on driver comfort than speed. The Thunderbird was not a direct rival to the European sports cars imported into the United States.

As standard, the 1955 Ford Thunderbird included a removable fiberglass top; a fabric convertible top was an option, although commonly specified. The engine was a 292 Y-block V8. The car had fender skirts. The exhaust pipes exited through twin bumper guards, which are bolted to the rear bumper.

The frame was basically a cut-down version of the standard Ford Body-on-frame design with a 102-inch wheelbase identical to that of the Corvette, and a pre-existing 292-cubic-inch OHV V8. 

The Thunderbird was produced with a Fordomatic automatic or manual overdrive transmissions, and featured four-way powered seats and push button interior door handles. Other unique features were a telescoping steering wheel and a tachometer.
Equipped with a V8 engine, the Thunderbird could hit 110-120 mph. It was a smaller two-seat "personal luxury car", compared to many other much larger cars that were on the road in the 1950s. It was designed to be a brisk luxury tourer, and not a sports car.

8. 1932 Ford Coupe V8 (Deuce Coupe)

1932 Ford Coupe V8 (Deuce Coupe)
What I really Like!!!

During the period after WWII, the '32 Deuce Coupe was an ideal hot rod. Rodders' would strip weight off the much available car and hop up the engine.  This continued into the 1960s on a large scale, as noted in the hit song and as the pivotal street racing car in the film "American Graffiti". Today, the roadster and coupe are the most sought after body styles, as these were popular for street rods and hotrods; unmodified examples have become rare. 

   The '32 came in two body styles, the more common 5-window and rarer suicide door 3-window. After World War II, the iconic stature of the 1932-vintage Ford in hot rodding inspired The Beach Boys to not only write a song entitled "Little Deuce Coupe" in 1963, but also had one of their albums named for the car, from the aforementioned song.

 7. 1951 Custom Mercury

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This '51 Merc was customized over 60 years ago by Sam Barris.  Sam artfully chopped the top of his nearly new 1949 Mercury, he initiated a restyling trend that shows no signs of stopping today. Almost overnight, as several more hammered coupes emerged, Barris’ radically chopped and lowered Mercury became the poster child for the burgeoning custom-car movement.

For 1951, Ford Motor Company stylists extended the rear fenders on the basic ’49 to ’50 Mercury body shell, endowing the newer model with a longer and more distinctive profile. Customizes immediately gravitated to this updated canvas.  Many 1951 Custom Mercurys combines the best elements of 1950s-era customizing.

Rodders have routinely made cool body modifications such as a top chopped by two inches in the front and three in the rear, plus an additional inch at the crown. Other mods were to angle the B-pillars and a circa-1950 rear window. Frenched headlights were the norm along with ’54 Merc rings, the molded-in grille often using a ’53 DeSoto teeth.  Customizers liked to round the front and rear hood corners and a reshaped ’53 DeSoto front bumper. Most cars had the doors smoothed, leaving beautiful and graceful fade-away fender lines. Other details could be rounded door corners, molded quarter-panels, and flush-fitting rear fender skirts.

 6. 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible

The 1959 Cadillac is remembered for its huge sharp tailfins with dual bullet tail lights, jewel-like grille patterns and matching deck lid beauty panels. All Eldorados were characterized by a three-deck, jeweled, rear grille insert. The Seville and Biarritz models had the Eldorado name spelled out behind the front wheel opening and featured broad, full-length body sill highlights that curved over the rear fender profile and back along the upper beltline region. Engine output was an even 345 hp from the 390 cu in engine. Standard equipment included power brakes, power steering, automatic transmission, back-up lamps, windshield wipers, two-speed wipers, wheel discs, outside rear-view mirror, vanity mirror, oil filter, power windows, six way power seats, heater, fog lamps, remote control deck lid, radio and antenna with rear speaker, power vent windows, air suspension, electric door locks and license frames. The Eldorado Brougham also came with Air conditioning, automatic headlight dimmer, a cruise control standard over the Seville and Biarritz trim lines.

 5. 1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Convertible Coupe

1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Convertible Coupe

Clark Gable's 1935 Duesenberg roadster.
The car above is the same car in 2016.

The Duesenberg Model J is a luxury automobile made by Duesenberg. Intended to compete with the most luxurious and powerful cars in the world, it was introduced in 1928, the year before the stock market crash that led to the Great Depression. The Model J, available with a supercharger after 1932, was sold until 1937.

Most Model Js were sold as a bare chassis to be fitted with an interior and body by a third party. Such artisans included coachbuilders LeBaron, Murphy and Derham with Rollston and LaGrande bodying later cars. Gordon M. Buehrig became the chief designer at Duesenberg and standardized the Duesenberg design language. His work included designing standard hoods, lights, radiators and bumpers. Duesenberg often ordered several bodies from a coachbuilder, and sold complete cars.

As the technical highlight of the Model J, the engine was one of Duesenberg’s, and America’s, best . When Fred Duesenberg started the Model J project, he used developments learnt with the successful Indianapolis cars including engine refinements such as four valves per cylinder and twin camshafts. Fred’s engine was far more powerful than any passenger car unit built in America, with little roads that could satisfy the cars 265 horse power. In fact, the closest rival engine to Duesenberg’s was the 115 horse power Pierce Arrow unit.

It should be noted that the power figure of the Model J was based off a factory experimental car which was timed to offer a decent amount of peak horsepower. Most of the chassis received a conservative timing favoring low end toque and engine reliability. For most applications the Model J was a 205 to 210 horsepower vehicle with an impressive torque output of 335 ft lbs (454nm) at low 500 rpm! More specifics on the output can be found in Robert Dearborn’s Technical Ramblings found in the 1953 May Road & Track.
Introduced in 1932, a supercharged variant of the Model J was offered called the SJ. This forced induction version raised power to 320 horses and increased the 116 mph top speed to 129 mph. The supercharger itself offered eight psi of boost @ 4000 rpm. Because the supercharger sat in the way of the exhaust manifold, all supercharged cars featured the well distinguished external exhaust system. This exhaust system featured chromium flex-pipe headers which could be ordered as an option on the standard Model J for $927 USD.

Both the chassis and suspension were quite conventional in design. Two deep pressed chassis side members, measuring eight inches tall, were sufficient to support any custom coachwork that would adorn it.

Special attention was paid to the handling and braking of the Model J. Specifically, the spring rates were equalized to provide a smooth ride and hydraulic assistance on the braking made stopping an ease. A knob on the dashboard could modify the level of assistance based on dry, rain, snow or ice conditions. For the period, these featured were remarkable technology.

 4. Dodge Viper (Any model year)

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Dodge Viper 

The first Viper prototype was tested in January 1989. It debuted in 1991 with two pre-production models as the pace car for the Indianapolis 500 when Dodge was forced to substitute it in place of the Japanese-built Dodge Stealth because of complaints from the United Auto Workers, and went on sale in January 1992 as the RT/10 Roadster.

The centerpiece of the car was its engine. The Lamborghini Company, then owned by Chrysler Corporation, designed the V10 for the Viper by recasting the block and heads in an aluminum alloy, and was based on the Chrysler LA V8 engine. A major contributor to the Viper since the beginning was Dick Winkles, the chief power engineer, who had spent time in Italy.

The engine weighs 711 lbs and produces 400 bhp at 4600 rpm and 465 lb·ft at 3600 rpm, and thanks to the long-gearing allowed by the engine, provides fuel economy at 12 mpg in the city and 20 mpg-highway.  The body is a tubular steel frame with resin transfer molding (RTM) fiberglass panels. It has a curb weight of 3,284 lb and lacks modern driver aids such as traction control and anti-lock brakes. It completes a quarter mile in 12.6 seconds and has a maximum speed of over 150 mph. Its large tires allow the car to average close to one lateral g in corners. However, the car proves tricky to drive at high speeds, particularly for the unskilled.

0-60 mph: 4.5 sec 
0-100 mph: 9.2 sec
quarter mile: 12.9 sec @ 113.8 mph
top speed: 165 mph (266 km/h) reference: http://www.vipercentral.com/specifications/
700 ft (210 m) slalom: over 66 mph 
skid-pad average g: 0.96

 3. 1967 Corvette-427

67 Corvette 427.jpg
1967 Corvette-427

The 1967 Corvette Sting Ray was the last Corvette of the second generation, and five years of refinements made it the best of the line. Although it was meant to be a redesign year, its intended successor the C3 was found to have some undesirable aerodynamic traits. Duntov demanded more time in the wind tunnel to devise fixes before it went into production.
Changes were again modest: Five smaller front fender vents replaced the three larger ones, and flat-finish rockers sans ribbing conferred a lower, less chunky appearance. New was a single backup light, mounted above the license plate. The previous models' wheel covers gave way to slotted six-inch Rally wheels with chrome beauty rings and lug nuts concealed behind chrome caps. Interior alterations were modest and included revised upholstery, and the handbrake moved from beneath the dash to between the seats. The convertible's optional hardtop was offered with a black vinyl cover, which was a fad among all cars at the time. The 427 was available with a Holley triple two-barrel carburetor arrangement, which the factory called Tri-Power. The ultimate Corvette engine for 1967 was coded L88, even wilder than the L89, and was as close to a pure racing engine as Chevy had ever offered in regular production. Besides the lightweight heads and bigger ports, it came with an even hotter camshaft, stratospheric 12.5:1 compression, an aluminum radiator, small-diameter flywheel, and a single huge Holley four-barrel carburetor. Although the factory advertised L88 rating was 430 bhp at 4600 rpm, the true rating was said to be about 560 bhp at 6400 rpm. The very high compression ratio required 103-octane racing fuel, which was available only at select service stations. Clearly this was not an engine for the casual motorist. When the L88 was ordered, Chevy made several individual options mandatory, including Positraction, the transistorized ignition, heavy-duty suspension, and power brakes, as well as RPO C48, which deleted the normal radio and heater to cut down on weight and discourage the car's use on the street. As costly as it was powerful - at an additional $1,500 over the base $4,240.75 price - the L88 engine and required options were sold to a mere 20 buyers that year. 

 2. 1935 Auburn 851 Speedster

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1935 Auburn 851 Speedster
Auburn gained notoriety by employing imaginative designers such as Alan Leamy — chief designer of the 1933 Auburn Speedster, and Gordon Buehrig, who modified leftover bodies to produce the 1935 851 Speedster and modified the four-door, Cord built cars such as the Duesenberg Model J (1928–37), the Auburn Speedster (1935-7), and the Cord 810/812 (1936-7) that became famous for their advanced engineering as well as their striking appearance. The Auburn Boattail Speedster was powered by a 4.6L straight eight that, with the popular supercharger option(150 hp), could top 100 mph making it a popular model in the Hollywood market.

The Depression, coupled with Cord's stock manipulations, spelled the end of the company and production ceased in 1937. The company's art deco headquarters in Auburn now houses the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum and became a National Historic Landmark in 2005. The Auburn Automobile Company also had a manufacturing plant in Connersville, Indiana, formerly owned by the Lexington Motor Company.

 1. 1957 Chevrolet

1957 Chevrolet
The 1957 Chevrolet is a car which was introduced by Chevrolet in September 1956 for the 1957 model year. It was available in three series models: the upscale Bel Air, the mid-range "two-ten", and the "one-fifty". A two-door station wagon, the Nomad was produced as a Bel Air model. An upscale trim option called the "Delray" was available for two-ten 2-door sedans. It is a popular and sought after classic car. These vehicles are often restored to their original condition and sometimes modified. The car's image has been frequently used in toys, graphics, music, movies and television. The '57 Chevy, as it is often known, is an auto icon.

For more about my first love, the 1957 Chevy, just click on the link below to read several previous Texas Classic Chevy Experience's Blog Posts that are placed together for you in a compilation.

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My winning Peel Out at the 2011 Lone Star Classic Convention in Dallas

Texas Classic Chevy Experience will post blogs about: Hot Rods, Chevy, Chevrolet, Drag Racing, Car Shows, Classic Cars, Custom Cars, Muscle Cars, How to Tech. posts, Dallas Area Classic Chevy Club, Texas Muscle Car Challenge, Tri-Five Nationals, Lone Star Chevy Convention, Classic Car lists, Classic car links, Spotters guides, Car Shows, Swap meets, Book reviews and More.

LINK to where it all began at post number 1, " Texas Classic Chevy Experience-The Beginning"

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