Photos by: the author, Grant Cox and various sources
It’s insane how things can quickly change in such a short amount of time. To someone like your author (who’s now in his mid-30s) realizing that time is the most valuable asset that humans endure only makes it more important.
However, with time comes progress, evolution, improved technology and new ideas. Time allows old wounds to heal, innovation to unfold and inspiration to take place. If you waste it, you’re at a huge loss. If you take advantage of it, you can accomplish more than you could ever imagine in the short lifetime that you’re allotted.
So what’s the point of the thought-provoking rambling you might ask? I’m not here to be prophetic, but to point out how much the classic musclecar hobby has changed in the last forty-plus years. Time, evolution, technology and innovation have truly reshaped the hobby so much that many enthusiasts have yet to realize it. Time pushes our hobby forward and reshapes it for a modern world.
“Time allows old wounds to heal, innovation to unfold and inspiration to take place.”
For example, if you were to look back when the these cars were new, it was all about making them faster in the quarter-mile and on the street than what they already were. It started with a set of headers and drag slicks and ended up somewhere between a mild street car to an all-out quarter-mile monster.
Sometime during the 1970s, however, Pro-Street became the next trend and was all about taking these cars as far as they could go while still being streetable. The trend was initiated by the flamboyance of the ’70s, evolved through the excess of the ’80s and ended with the cheesiness of the ’90s. Almost none of these cars were entirely streetable and the novelty would quickly wear off after a half hour or so of putting around town. Around the cusp of the new millennium, it ultimately died out altogether.
“[Concours restoration] was about taking the rusted, ruined relics from two decades prior and bringing them back to factory specs. The idea was noble, but the execution was over-the-top in some instances…”
As a sidebar, restoring musclecars to factory-correct original condition also had became a huge trend during the Reagan Administration. It was about taking the rusted, ruined relics from two decades prior and bringing them back to factory specs. The idea was noble, but the execution was over-the-top in some instances, or became so, once concours judging had set in. Taking a car back to showroom stock is great, but once you start getting points deducted for not having the proper grease pencil markings on the firewall or the tag telling about how FM functions operate on your radio knob dial, it’s taking things to a whole ‘nother level of scrutiny.
“Pro-touring has mostly taken over, and it’s about form over function; putting your car truly to the test, be it on a road course or an autocross circuit.”
Now here we are in the 21st century, and most of us have moved on from grease pencil markings, overdone street cars and horrific paint schemes. Today, you’re either one of the throwbacks still restoring to factory specs, throwing in a few bolt-ons like headers, aftermarket wheels and an EFI kit or you’re building a corner-carving classic. Drag cars certainly have their place and there are those few who prefer the monochromatic teal paint, over-the-top blowers poking through the hood and wheel tubs wider than most modern hatchbacks. But they’re definitely in the minority.
Pro-touring has mostly taken over, and it’s about form over function; putting your car truly to the test, be it on a road course or an autocross circuit. The idea is to take these cars to levels of performance never seen before, about making them function as well, of not better, than their contemporary counterparts while still rocking the old-school, classic look.
So get out in the garage, break out the wrenches and build your cherished project into something truly unique. And leave those outdated old car magazines, irrelevant ideas and mainstream conceptions of what a musclecar should be, and build your machine into something truly incredible You owe it to yourself – time is of the essence!
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of Timeless Muscle Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.