While I was wandering around at Barrett-Jackson 2013, I happened upon this matte black beauty of a car. This 1969 Chevelle Malibu 454 is the ultimate street/strip machine: a fusion of metal and testosterone so manly that hair sprouted from my knuckles as I walked past.
Everything about this car awakens the senses, from the smooth black exterior to the deep rumble of the big-block V8 that you can feel in the soles of your shoes. This is a car that makes stock Corvettes and Mustangs slink back into the shadows. It makes junkyard dogs cower with fear and street thugs look the other way when they see it roll through their ‘hood. It rides on a set of Weld racing wheels and massive rear tires that don’t just grip the pavement, they pin it down and make it say ‘Uncle!’ This is one Chevelle you really don’t want to mess with.
Under the hood is a 454-cubic inch engine with a big cam that breathes as much air and fuel as four Volkswagen Jetta engines. Turn the key and this 7.4-liter beast rumbles the pavement like a passing freight train. Blip the throttle and it roars with all the subtlety of a Marine Corps drill instructor who forgot to take his Xanax. As if that weren’t enough, it’s also breathing nitrous oxide for an extra boost!
Getting into the driver’s seat must be a lot like going to work in a coal mine at midnight – a world of blackness in every direction. The dashboard full of AutoMeter gauges resembles an airplane cockpit, which is appropriate since this isn’t the kind of car that you drive so much as you pilot down the road and try to keep it in a straight line. It is the F-117A Nighthawk of the open road.
Inside the car, creature comforts are minimal. There are no airbags, no heater, and no air conditioner. The only radio you get is the mechanized cacophony of the engine and the volume control pedal (a.k.a. your right foot) has just two settings: very loud and deafening.
Perhaps the only safety consideration is the full roll cage whose cold, steel bars subtly remind the pink, fleshy passengers that with a mere slip of the pedal, this car has more than enough power to kill them quite easily. A case of unintended acceleration in your Prius can mean a rough morning commute. In this car, it can mean launching into the next county.
This car doesn’t just eat Civics for lunch, it grinds them up into a powder and sprinkles their riced out little carcasses over a smoked turkey leg which it then devours with all the fervor of a starving hyena. There just aren’t enough metaphors out there to adequately describe how badass this car is.
Rest assured that if I had an extra $49,500 laying around, I would have bid on this car – but alas! I did not, and someone else did and now it belongs to them. In any case, I would consider it money well spent.