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28 Little-known muscle car facts

Want to impress your friends? Outsmart some loudmouth on Facebook? Just wanna get in the good graces of a certain tribe? Then take this here list to your local cruise and throw one at every faction under the Ambassador Bridge. Inspired by Steve Magnante’s 1001 Muscle Car Facts, this list is indispensable in being recognized as a know-it-all at the next man cave-a-thon. In no particular order:


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/09/04/28-little-known-muscle-car-facts

I live the muscle cars.i grew up in that era.when I was growing up they where all over.now they are part of history now.miss them days.i had a 70 nova growing up.350 rocket man would it run.gas was also under a dollar a gallon.miss them days life was a lot simpler then.woman and fast cars that’s what it was all about.

My understanding of the center light vehicle delivery was dependent on the DMV laws of a given state. I owned #13xx, and it had center lights. This was approx. 1/2 way through the production run.

That is some seriously mismatched paint on that '71 Olds convertible. At first I thought it could be the lighting, but the difference appears consistent all the way down to the bottom of the fender and no matter what curvature the fender takes. Yikes.

That is certainly germane to the Oldsmobile little known snippets.

Little known Dodge fact-the only way to get a 340 in the 71 Charger was the Superbee. Mid-year option.

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I am pretty sure Chevrolet never referred to the Z/28 stripes as “Band aid” stripes. They are called “stereo striping”. Might as well get the facts straight. Another good fact most guys don’t know, very little 69 Camaros actually left the factory with a cowl hood. After factoring in COPO, pace car and Z/10, that left less than 5k hoods for the Z/28 and SS car owners who opted for the hood.

In the sixties before every engine combination had to be federally certified you could order or special order just about anything.
Gto and 442 were packages that could be ordered on any mid size Pontiac or Olds.
You could even order lesser engines, like special order a low compression two barrel in a Super 88 0lds even though it came with the hotter engine.

Growing up in Detroit in the 60’s and 70’s I saw all of the muscle cars daily. I rarely saw a 442 with a rear spoiler but now you can’t hardly see one without one. Personally, I think the car looks a thousand times better without it. Similarly, every 1970 Cuda or Challenger R/T you see advertised today has a rear spoiler. Definitely not so back in the day. You’d see quite a few but not every one. Here’s another fact; The 68-69 Roadrunner had a two foot shifter with a ball on top that curved away from the dash at the top. Hitting third gear at speed required a certain level of dexterity to avoid smashing your hand into the dashboard. If you drove a Roadrunner, you know exactly what I’m talking about. In 1970 they replaced the ball with a pistol grip and that helped slightly.

On the Shelby Mustang. I have met Gale Halderman several times and have attended his talks also. He was the head engineer on the Mustang so he should know the real facts.
Gale told us that Shelby did zero on the design of the Shelby Mustang that he was just a car salesman and not very good. That is why Ford shut down the Shelby operations in California and moved in house. Shelby owned nothing Ford had 100%.
The other fact shared was that Ford had Holman & Moody send Shelby one of their racing Falcons so he could copy the modifications to the Mustang and he did.
Shelby pretty much failed at every project he had but somehow blinded everyone. Failed at the Mustang, Failed at the GT-40 which H&M also saved the bacon. He failed at the Eruopa Shelby, failed at the Mexican Shelby, failed with his endeavors with Chrysler. So just how did Shelby pull the wool over so many eyes? BTW he was not first to put Ford engine in the AC Bristol body a race shop in Europe did and he copied that. Just food for thought that is fact not made up you can contact Mr. Halderman and ask yourself.

Couldn’t agree with you more. I figured it out at age 15 in 1957. Life was all about pretty girls and beautiful cars. Its tough having figured it all out at an early age. Here I am at age 77 and still go on rally’s and show my car at local shows. Still enjoy beautiful girls, however, from their perspective, its not about me. Its all about the car now.

What style and power options !!! Great times until the government and insurance companies ruined the party.

Couldn’t agree more with bryanmclellan. I grew up in Detroit in the '60’s and '70’s and I too hardly ever saw the rear spoilers that are somehow now ubiquitous with muscle cars of that era…the exception being the duck tail spoilers on the Challenger T/A, "Cuda AAR and Z/28’s. Another pet peeve is the proliferation of Mopars (usually) shown with dog dish hub caps. My Dad worked for Chrysler in those days so we lived near one of the plants … almost NEVER saw the steelies and hubcaps on the street. It is not a good look IMO. Cragars, Keystone Klassics, factory rally wheels or Magnum style road wheels were the norm.

Edification? No.
Snark, yes.

Her is another Pontiac Judge factoid. The Judge was literally named for a joke from the TV show “Laugh In” There was a skit where they would chant “Here comes the Judge.” Pontiac picked up on it and created the “Judge” Option…

The local Mopar enthusiast are emphatic about anything optioned with a 426 Hemi being capable of low 8 sec. 1/4 miles and could approach the speed of sound given enough empty space. In truth, the cars exhibited more modest performance.

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You’re absolutely right Jtwink. No one had those hub caps or steelies. Yet I see these 100 thousand dollar restored Hemi Cuda’s crossing the block with green wheels and baby moons. No way in hell was that car ordered or driven like that. Also agree with the ducktail spoilers and also agree with your wheel selection. I miss those days in Detroit. We cruised Gratiot but occasionally went to Woodward. I met Jimmy Addison and saw the Silver Bullitt first hand. Sunoco station on Woodward if memory serves. I saw the whole thing unfold, from the early Goats to the end of the line so to speak with the 1973 Trans AM SD455’s.From CKLW to WABX. Cheers

Crome-reverse (or painted wheels) were popular in the 50’s and early 60’s. Alas, the resto-mod builders have mixed up their eras. And in those days, one could order almost any engine/transmission combo with any model. In my town, anyway, it was popular to order the cheapest car with the biggest, baddest engine. Two I remember: a 57 Chevy “One-Fifty” 2-dr. coupe with a Corvette engine, and a '58 Ford (base) Custom 2-dr with a 300 hp Interceptor engine.
That, my friends, was the real beginning of the muscle car era!

The Pontiac Judge story I got first-hand from my cousin that was head of experimental engineering at Pontiac is: “Laugh-In” TV show had been using the “Here comes da Judge” for a month. A TV tech flipped the wrong switch just as the Judge chant was starting and a Pontiac commercial came on the screens the live audience watched part of the show on. It wasn’t a GTO commercial but one for a Catalina 2+2. When Pontiac management heard what happened and the reaction from the audience they were giving it some serious use when it was brought up that the LeMans line could use it as a response to the Plymouth Road Runner and so it was developed for the GTO.

I agree on the steelies with dog dish hubcaps. The restorers use them because that was how the cars came through because they were orders that way. Salesman would wonder why you would load up a car and not get the full hub caps and lovely white walls. It was because the cragers, or keystones, or whatever were sitting home waiting. Someone would pick up their new muscle car and stop down at the local gas station and put the new wheels on that day, hence day 2 cars. I would wish restored would build day 2 cars. Much more authentic