This article was published in the September 1979 issue of Car and Driver. It’s pretty sad how little power they were able to make with a turbo small block but it’s still an interesting read, and hey, we wouldn’t be where we are today if the designers of the past hadn’t continued to trudge through the depressing mess that was the automotive industry of the 70s and early 80s. Also, check out that CompuCruise ad at the bottom of the last page. I want one! I’ve also inserted the text from this article beneath the scans in case you’d rather read it that way.
Let’s be honest. There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who specifically chose the car they drive and those who did not. I’m not talking about people buying their dream cars here. I just mean, you either bought your car because you liked it, or you have you car because it was given to you, traded to you, sold for a good deal, or you were tricked into buying it. It’s not hard to differentiate the two types of people. There are certain cars that when you see them driving, you just know the owner knows what he’s doing. Not just the obvious ones, like Corvettes or Mustangs, those are givens, I’m talking about the Omni GLH’s, Syclones, XR4Ti’s, Lightnings, Mustang SVOs, Spirit R/Ts, or pretty much any pre 2000’s import with a factory turbo. There are so many others, I can’t possibly list them all in this post. (I think I will make a post in the future listing them all though) But I smile every time I see one. You just know someone bought the car on purpose. And I like that. There are quite a few cars that are pretty cool but can definitely go either way though. Sometimes a person (usually an older person) will walk into a dealership knowing which car they want but unaware of the specific model they will end up with before showing up at the dealer. I like to imagine them quickly responding to which trim package they want by impatiently blurting out “the best one” which was interpreted by the salesman as “the most expensive one”. This probably accounts for most of the Taurus SHOs and Regal GS’s that are around today. So maybe the cars were not purchased by someone who had done a ton of research, and they might belong in sort of a grey area but I still include them with the “own their car on purpose” group.
That brings me to the other type of people. I mean seriously, what kind of young person would choose to drive a Saturn? Or a fucking Corolla? Or even a Civic, for that matter? I know there are people who don’t care at all about cars or what they drive and that’s fine. These types of vehicles are for them. But what about all the “car guys” driving all these shitbox cars? The cars were given to them by someone, right? Maybe it’s just my way of rationalizing something that I am unable to comprehend. I have to assume they had no choice in the matter because who in the FUCK would rather spend more to own a Scion than they would have spent on an LS2 GTO? Every week at the Pavilions, and probably every other type of automotive gathering across the country, you see countless people who genuinely seem to be proud to own something that sucks and is ugly. I know it sounds mean, but come on dude, do you really love that ugly four door Integra? Was that your dream car for years and now you can’t believe you own one and every day is exciting and you can’t wait to wake up in the morning so you can look out the window at your beautiful four door Integra in the driveway? If the answer is yes, let me offer you some advice. Start having better dreams. If the answer is no, then stop pretending you love your car, get a razor blade and some windex, lose the stupid fucking sticker, put the piece of shit on Craigslist, and get something you actually want. It’s the funniest thing, you never see “I heart” stickers on anything cool. Probably because the owners aren’t trying to convince anyone (or themselves) of anything.
A side note: when did all these Honda dorks start getting all elitist and only referring to their cars by their chassis designations? Especially the hatchback guys. I’m so sick of seeing EG and EK on everything from stickers to Craigslist ads, to Google search suggestions. Is it really that uncool these days to just say what year, make, and model the car is? How did we ever get by before we realized Honda was naming each generation of their cars something different? Holy shit, other companies are doing it too?! Wait till they realize they can decode their VINs. It’s going to blow their minds.
Anyways, I could ramble on for 738 MORE words if you’d like, but I think I could sum this whole thing up with Photoshop. And a bunch more words.
I hung out with my Dad the other day and decided to take pictures of his pride-and-joy 1978 International Loadstar 1600. The beautiful thing about International trucks is that they’re very simple and no-nonsense in their design. Down to the VIN. I remember getting the insurance policy going on this thing and arguing with the lady that I wasn’t short a few numbers on the VIN.
The truck was originally owned by the USAF and as a result is in surprisingly good condition. And yes, I laugh at my Dad’s “seat cushion” everytime I get in to drive it. Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
My department just hired someone to work alongside me part-time. His name is Regeno, and this this is his daily-driven 1966 Impala. It’s currently powered by a 250 cubic-inch L6 through a 3 speed, column-shifted manual. Or “three-on-the-tree” for those of you that are in the know. It’s a work-in-progress and I hope these pictures show how much potential this car has. Also included is a video of it driving away for those of you that were curious what a 250 L6 sounded like with a chambered muffler. Enjoy the gallery below!
Most car people know of Massachusetts-based Factory Five Racing as the pre-eminent maker of AC Cobra kit cars. However, Factory Five also offers a completely original kit of their own design called the GTM Supercar.
I was fortunate enough to come across a beautiful dark blue GTM at the Scottsdale Pavilions car show a few weeks ago.