In October of 2015, I was on a road trip to New Mexico that took me though the old Route 66 town of Holbrook, Arizona. Holbrook is famous as the home of the Wigwam Motel, which has been featured in numerous movies for its teepee-shaped rooms.
The Wigwam plays up to tourists with a bunch of old cars parked on the property, ranging from 1940s to 1970s vehicles. Skipping past the Studebaker and the Oldsmobile, I went right for the malaise-era 1970s Ford Galaxie.
The 1970s are remembered today as a decade of excess, and nothing embodies that mindset greater than the cars that people were driving. This was the era that gave us the Dukes of Hazzard, Smokey and the Bandit, and the original “Gone in 60 Seconds.”
There was another craze during the 1970s: custom vans. People would take full-size vans from Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge and trick them out with shag carpet, a stereo system, custom paint and wheels, custom interior, CB radio, and even accessories like mini fridges!
“Vanning” exploded in popularity and was featured in movies and songs of the era. Like vinyl records and most things from the 1970s, “street vans” fell out of fashion to fade into obscurity, only to see a small revival today.
This 1970s-era Dodge Ram van may be a relic of that era. It looks to have been converted to a camper/motorhome at one point, and is now languishing on a side street. The interesting thing about this van is its dual rear axle setup – something I have not seen before and can find very little about on the Internet. I suspect it may have been a custom modification.
You may be familiar with the expression “like a bat out of hell” to refer to something moving wildly and out of control. In this case, this 1970 Plymouth Cuda moves like a “fish out of hell!”
We spotted this 1970 Plymouth Cuda nicknamed “Hellfish” on display at SEMA 2014, mere steps away from its cousin, the 1968 Charger. Like the Charger, this car was also built by The Roadster Shop, who seem to be up to their ears in vintage Mopars lately.
When building a custom car, a number of things have to be considered. Will it need air conditioning? Will the suspension be set up for the street or for the drag strip? Where is the engine’s powerband? A lot of choices have to be made in order to dial a car in for its chosen application.
For most people, the luxury of owning a track-only car is not something they can afford. That means compromises need to be made so that the car can be streetable as well. This 1970 Camaro “Rampage” is a car that makes no compromises – it is a race car built for the track. Continue reading →
Building a custom car is an exciting project because it gives the owner a chance to personalize it with their own style. The choice of color, wheels, and any performance modifications will reflect the personality of the owner – and no two owners seem to share the same tastes. That’s why I found it odd that STA-BIL 360 had this custom 1971 Chevrolet Camaro as a grand prize in their booth at SEMA 2014.
The car was built by Jared Zimmerman and Lou Santiago from the TV show Car Fix on the Velocity Network. Working 12 hours a day for almost five months, these guys transformed a 1971 Camaro into a powerful custom street machine. The value of the car has been appraised at $98,000 dollars. Continue reading →
When it comes to muscle cars, swapping out the engine is a great way to get more power. But you won’t find a 350, 383, or even a 454 cubic inch engine under the hood of this 1970 Chevelle. That’s because it’s powered by a 6.6L (403 cid) Chevrolet Duramax engine. That’s right, a diesel-powered muscle car!
As if that weren’t wild enough, the car also sports a custom twin turbo setup with two Garrett T-38R turbos pushing 30lbs of boost into the motor. Altogether, this little Chevelle makes 950 HP and 1,800 lb-ft of torque!
In the United States, there are stereotypes associated with drivers of certain types of cars.
For example, if you drive an air-cooled Volkswagen, people may assume you are a hippie. If you drive a BMW, people will assume you are both affluent and inconsiderate – the type of driver who would change lanes without signaling. And finally, if you drive a Honda Civic or other “tuner” car, you might be associated with street racing punks.
I have recently learned that such car/driver stereotypes are not unique to the U.S. In fact, there’s a popular one in Germany about Opel Manta drivers: that they are dull, lower-class, macho guys who drive aggressively, love their cars, and have a blonde girlfriend who works as a hairdresser.